Musical Improvisation J.S. Bach, Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, and many other famous composers and musicians were known especially for their improvisational skills. Improvisation might have played an important role in the monophonic period.
Classical Music • Many classical forms contained sections for improvisation, such as the cadenza in concertos, or the preludes to some keyboard suites by Bach and Handel, which consist of elaborations of a progression of chords, which performers are to use as the basis for their improvisation. Handel, Scarlatti, and Bach all belonged to a tradition of solo keyboard improvisation.
World Context • In Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi classical music,Raga is the tonal framework for composition and improvisation. • ‘Why, as music teachers are we so afraid of this word when drama teachers thrive on it.’
Jazz and Rock • A common view of what a jazz soloist does could be expressed thus: as the harmonies go by, he selects notes from each chord, out of which he fashions a melody. He is free to embellish by means of passing and neighbour tones, and he may add extensions to the chords, but at all times a good improviser must follow the changes. ...
However • A jazz musician really has several options: he may reflect the chord progression exactly, he may "skim over" the progression and simply elaborate the background harmony, or he may fashion his own voice-leading which may clash at some points with the chords the rhythm section is playing.
Banksy’s Graffiti • The little girl, in a play dress, is watching her balloon get carried away by the wind with one arm outstretched. Similar to the situation in UP, her dream, the heart balloon, is flying away. An adult might read it as love lost. However, to the right of the stencil is a simple saying: THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE. Similar to labels attached to art in a museum, the text offers a “wider context for the object or images on display” (Rose, 2007). The balloon and the text are of the same height, both equally important. The connection between the stencil and the text can be made as one whole art piece.
‘A little girl walks across a field within a giant landscape. As she walks, a gush of wind plucks the red balloon from her hand and it rises slowly away from her. She is upset and chases it across the field. It slowly begins to descend onto the top of a hedge. She reaches up and is once again happy.’ • Features • Leitmotif (Girl) • Intervals of 4ths and 5ths/ Drone ( Space) • Chromatic Scale (Ascending and Descending) Melodic Sequence • Intervals of 7ths and 2nds (Clashing) • Intervals of 3rds and 6ths (Blended)
Task • Produce a one minute improvised composition using 5 players to recreate the story of the little girl. • Include all the 5 features discussed • Extension work may include the use of dynamics and tempo