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Issue No. 32

A Word from the Editor

Marcel Cobussen – INTRODUCTION
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Core Issue

Marcel Cobussen – IMPROVISATION. AN ANNOTATED INVENTORY
Abstract: Using a concrete musical experience, the performance of a jazz concert, as inspiration, this essay considers several agents and factors at work in the process of musical improvisation. The main agents: the musicians, their instruments, the audience. Some factors connecting those agents: interaction, listening, freedom, corporeality, resistance, play, reflection-in-action, creativity, fear, courage, beginning, and ending. The essay consists of short meditations, aphorisms, on each of those (f)actors. Musical examples are taken primarily from the jazz world; the theoretical background builds upon poststructuralist philosophers such as Derrida and Deleuze as well as jazz scholars, such as Ingrid Monson, Daniel Fischlin, and Ajay Heble, emphasizing the social aspect of improvisation.
Keywords: interaction, listening, freedom, corporeality, resistance, play, reflection-in-action, creativity.
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Tijana Popović Mlađenović – IMPROVISATION AS A CALL FOR COMMUNICATION
Abstract: The discourse about improvising in music, or about musical acting without preparation – composing, singing, playing, dancing and reacting right away by one’s own mental and bodily ‘movements’ – is, as Shakespeare would put it, the discourse about the remaining live ‘cinders of the spirits’, about a ‘chance’ of the now occurrence of a moment, which has already passed, leaving only the ‘ashes’. This (meta)discourse, or at least its attempt, about what and why Valery’s ‘bird is singing’ or, better said, who or what is now singing ‘in it’, since it cannot resist singing, is the discourse about participation, reaction or response in a singular individual occurrence of music.
Keywords: improvisation, performativeness, non-semantic communication, invention, law, jouissance, self, other as an order-call, other as another man; fantasy principle of music.
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Daleen Kruger – ORGAN IMPROVISATION IN GERMAN FUNDAMENTA OF THE 15th CENTURY
Abstract: The earliest instructions for organ playing reveal a close relationship between organ playing and improvisation. Instruction books bearing the title Fundamentum seem to be almost exclusively a German phenomenon. From these books it is clear that improvisation on the keyboard was done according to certain rules for consonances and typical playing figures idiomatic to the instrument. This article investigates the relationship between organ playing and improvisation as is evident from the fundamenta, in particular the Munich Treatise, The Breslau-Fragment, The Fundamentum by Conrad Paumann and selected 15th century organ pieces.
Keywords: Organ improvisation, Fundamentum, Ars organisandi, Conrad Paumann, Buxhemier Orgelbuch.
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Hans Fidom – ORGAN IMPROVISATION – AN INTRODUCTION
Abstract: Whereas musicological attention to improvisation tended to neglect organ improvisation, new initiatives, both musical and musicological, indicate an imminent rehabilitation. Such rehabilitation is more than justified: organ improvisation is the only unbroken western improvisation tradition, connecting contemporary music to music of pre-medieval times. This essay is an introduction to this new field of research. It provides a brief history of organ improvisation by focusing on some ‘capita selecta’, as well as a critical overview of current developments.
Keywords: Organ, Improvisation, International Competition Haarlem, Contrappunto alla mente, Buxtehude, Bach, Dupré, Cochereau, Hage, Ferjencikova, Computer Aided Breathing, Wallenhorst, postmodernism.
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Wim van der Meer – IMPROVISATION VERSUS REPRODUCTION, INDIA AND THE WORLD
Abstract: India has been particularly resistant to the infiltration of Western culture. Conversion to Christianity has been quite ineffective, and many other Western ideas, values and institutions have only been appropriated to a limited extent. Music is no exception and over the past centuries a controversy has arisen about the superiority of Indian versus Western music. Indian musicians and musicologists have championed improvised music as part of a living oral tradition, whereas Western music has been derided as a dead tradition of replicating written scores. This discourse may be seen as a reaction to earlier attempts of ‘proving’ the superiority of Western music with its imposing symphonic orchestras. At the same time, Indian music (and jazz) may well have been instrumental in the ‘rediscovery’ of improvisation in Western classical music.
Keywords: improvisation, composition, India, orchestra, tradition, colonialism, modernity.
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Kailan Rubinoff – (RE)CREATING THE PAST: BAROQUE IMPROVISATION IN THE EARLY MUSIC REVIVAL
Abstract: This article explores the contentious position of improvisation in the contemporary Baroque music revival. Paradoxically, historical performers aim to obey the composer’s intentions by paying careful attention to the written instructions of the musical score yet they also seek to recreate the performative conventions—and freedoms—of an earlier era. The performance practice literature, the recording industry, and the conservatory education of historical performers reinforce a text-centered approach to music that is antithetical to spontaneous creativity. While in-depth understanding of Baroque performing conventions and repertoire is important, greater rapprochement with living improvisatory traditions might result in more liberatory performances of early music.
Keywords: Early music, historical performance, Baroque music, 17th century, 18th century, improvisation.
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Jeff Warren – IMPROVISING MUSIC / IMPROVISING RELATIONSHIPS: MUSICAL IMPROVISATION AND INTER-RELATIONAL ETHICS
Abstract: Improvisation and ethics have often been linked together, resulting in questions about what kind of social work musical improvisation does. Drawing upon Alfred Schutz’s conception of ‘making music together’ and Hans-Georg Gadamer’s conception of festival, this article explores the social implications of improvised performance, both in the relationships of performers and listeners. If ethics is conceived of as emerging from relationships, many similarities can be found between musical improvisation and social relationships. The process of improvisation, as the negotiation of contingencies with our own historicity and responsibilities to others, is not just common to all music performance, but is also common to relationships. It is in providing a place to improvise relationships that ethics is found within improvised music.
Keywords: Improvisation, ethics, relationships, Gadamer, Schutz, festival, phenomenology, jazz, making music together.
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Henrik Frisk – IMPROVISATION, COMPUTERS, AND PRIMARY PROCESS: WHY IMPROVISE WITH COMPUTERS?
Abstract: In this essay I look at various aspects of the conscious/unconscious continuum in relation to freely improvised music and in relation to the computer-as-instrument and the computer-as-improviser. Drawing on the work of anthropologist Gregory Bateson I make use of the idea that the unconcious is structured in a manner distinct from the conscious. Furthermore I evaluate the assumption that art in general and improvisation specifically, communicate according to the logic of the unconscious. These two arguments are used to give an experimental account as to the validity of using the computer as an instrument in the context of freely improvised music.
Keywords: Improvisation, Computer science, Free improvised music, Jazz, Primary process, Interaction.
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David Toop – SEARCH AND REFLECT: THE CHANGING PRACTICE OF IMPROVISATION
Abstract: The first part of the essay paints an insider’s picture of the British improvisation scene (among its representatives are the AMM, the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, Derek Bailey, and John Stevens), mainly during the 1970s, based on the author’s own experiences as a musician within this scene. An improvisational attitude is placed opposite a culture that favours planning, control, and structured, goal-oriented strategies. The second part of the essay is a description of the author’s academic pedagogical work as conductor of a large improvising ensemble, the Laptop Orchestra, based at London College of Communication. Supported by his own experiences as an improviser, the author presents the Orchestra with exercises, qualities that are needed to create satisfying improvisations, and possible learning outcomes. Keywords in his approach are interaction, close listening, sensitivity, tolerance, and self-determination.
Keywords: The Laptop Orchestra, pedagogy, improvisation workshops, the British improvisation scene, John Stevens.
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Tanya Kalimanovithc – CONTEMPORARY IMPROVISATION FOR CLASSICAL MUSICIANS
Abstract: Improvisation is a topic of increasing concern among scholars and performers from a variety of disciplines. This paper reports on an improvisation ensemble for classical performers and composers that the author directs at the New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts. An account of the author’s approach to the pedagogy of improvisation is situated within historical and theoretical contexts, as well as a narrative account of the author’s path from training in classical music to a career as an improvising violist.
Keywords: improvisation, pedagogy, jazz, classical music, collaboration, conservatory, crossover.
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Mirjana Veselinović-Hofman – SILENCE AS IMPROVISATION
Abstract: The author intends drawing a possible parallel between silence and improvisation, taking into account some of their common traits, according to which silence might be considered as improvisation. Therefore, the focus of this paper is the phenomenon of improvisational ‘performance’ that can neither be heard nor checked from the aspect of real sound. By that means this examination shifts its object from the field of the conscious and the concrete to that of the unconscious and the mental, aiming at pointing to those elements of the link between the phenomena of silence and improvisation, which then enable the existence of a rich specter of meaning and sense of their concrete, mutually depending, stimulating relationships.
Keywords: silence, interpersonal silence, inner hearing, echo of energy, postural echo, pantomime
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Sara Ramshaw – TIME OUT OF TIME: DERRIDA, CIXOUS, IMPROVISATION
Abstract: This article considers the paradox of improvisation as a gift out of time, which is completely in tune with time, subject to time. It does so through an alignment of Jacques Derrida’s philosophy and the poetic writings of Hélène Cixous. Ever mindful of the possible impossibility of improvisation in Derrida’s work, improvisation here is given over to Cixous, to the side of life, and is theorised as a type of ‘feminine writing’, as an inventive strategy that calls forth the unknown other and dreams of a gift in life that is out of time.
Keywords: improvisation, deconstruction, Jacques Derrida, Hélène Cixous, écriture féminine, gift, time, life, death.
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Geraldine Finn – ONE TIME ALONE. IMPROVISATION TAKES PLACE
Abstract: This paper explores the relationship between the place of improvisation and the improvisation of place through the practice of improvisation itself: here/hear on/off the page. Taking its point of departure from the opening sentence of Jacques Derrida’s essay ‘Shibboleth. For Paul Celan’ – “One time alone: circumcision takes place” – the paper builds on this as a jazz musician might build on a given theme or refrain – on its rhythm, tonality, syntax, idiom, context, content, form – to elaborate a coherent composition on improvisation and place which draws on a variety of sources, including the poetry of Paul Celan, the genocide in Rwanda, The Gardens of Sampson and Beasley (Pink Martini) and Ornette Coleman’s The Shape of Jazz to Come.
Keywords: one, time, alone, improvisation, takes, place, trace, u-topia, other
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Dragana Jeremić Molnar & Aleksandar Molnar – SURPASSING IMPROVISATION? STOCKHAUSEN’S CONCEPT OF INTUITIVE MUSIC
Abstract: In 1968 Karlheinz Stockhausen invented the concept of intuitive music, which was designed to free music from the obstacles of ‘preformed material’ (i.e., clichés rooted in some existing styles) and connect it to the vibrations of ‘universal consciousness’. However, Stockhausen's intuitive music never transcended the borders of improvisation. It could best be described as controlled improvisation (within the domain of serialist music), facing all the problems common to this species of improvisation. Stockahusen's persistent efforts to stress the superiority of his intuitive music to all kinds of improvisation (as well as connecting the identity of the contents of his consciousness with divine and ‘universal’ ones) were only ideologically motivated and never meant to be elaborated in precise musical terms.
Keywords: Stockhausen, improvisation, serialism, cliché, style, intuitive music.
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New Works

Jelena Janković – ‘LET ME TELL THE STORY FROM THE BEGINNING’ About the stage cantata Atlas by Anja Đorđević
Abstract: Using the book Weight: the Myth of Atlas and Heracles by Jeanette Winterson, the composer Anja Djordjević composed the stage cantata Atlas for voice, narrator and chamber orchestra, which had its opening night on 28th June 2008 at the Yugoslav Drama Theatre. Atlas, the universal symbol of suffering, isolation, craving to overcome one’s own fate, becomes the alter-ego of the writer Winterson, but of Anja Djordjević too, who ‘tells the story from the beginning’ by her own expressive means – by writing music, but appearing on the stage as a performer as well.
Keywords: Atlas, weight, story-telling, self-reflection, melody.
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Analysis

Ivana Medić – THE DRAMATURGICAL FUNCTION OF THE IMPROVISATORY SEGMENTS OF FORM IN ALFRED SCHNITTKE'S FIRST SYMPHONY
Abstract: Alfred Schnittke's controversial First Symphony (1969-1972) represented a sound panorama of the world of Socialist Realist kitsch in which Schnittke was forced to live and work. All the various musical materials, styles and techniques that Schnittke used in this symphony have a dramaturgical/narrative function. Among other things, Schnittke included a variety of improvisational segments, ranging from aleatoric sections for the entire orchestra to cadenzas for various soloists. The improvisatory segments are incorporated in this symphony either to depict the chaos of everyday life, or as an expression of the composer’s frustration and resignation at the devaluation of contemporary art music. Furthermore, in the Soviet totalitarian society, Schnittke’s inclusion of segments which unleash the musicians into the genre of the ‘great’ symphony represent the composer’s act of resistance and an expression of his urge for artistic and personal freedom.
Keywords: Alfred Schnittke, Soviet Union, symphony, improvisation, aleatorics, cadenza, chaos, polystilism.
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Students' Papers

Milan Milojković – FANTASIA QUASI UNA SONATA. IMPROVISATION ON SONATA PLATFORM AS A FORM-SHAPING PRINCIPLE IN THE FANTASIES OF CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH
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Festivals and Symposia

Marija Nikolić – TRADITION AS THE INSPIRATION FOR THE INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC CONFERENCE HELD DURING THE NINTH MANIFESTATION OF THE VLADO S. MILOŠEVIĆ’S DAYS. Banja Luka, April 9–11, 2008
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Selena Rakočević – MUSIC AND DANCE OF SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPE. First symposium of the International Council for Traditional Music Study Group. Struga, FYR Macedonia, 4–8 September 2008
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Reviews

Ana Kotevska – GIACINTO SCELSI TODAY. (Prepared by Pierre-Albert Castanet). CDMC, Paris, 2008, p.389
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Anica Sabo – PROCEEDINGS OF MUSIC THEORY DEPARTMENT. MUSIC THEORY AND ANALYSIS 4. Music Theory and Analysis 4 (ed. Mirjana Živković et al.). Belgrade, Fakultet muzičke umetnosti, 2007, 265 pages, COBISS.SR-ID 145522956
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Ksenija Stevanović – REVIEW OF IVANA ILIĆ’S BOOK THE FATAL WOMAN. Belgrade, Fakultet muzičke umetnosti, 2007, 168 pages
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Tijana Popović Mlađenović – CLOSENESS OF VIEW. MIRJANA VESELINOVIĆ-HOFMAN: PRED MUZIČKIM DELOM (FACING A MUSICAL WORK). Belgrade, Zavod za udžbenike, 2007, 302 pages. Cataloguing in Publication National Library of Serbia, Belgrade – ISBN: 978-86-17-14521-5; COBISS.SR.-ID 144106508
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CD Reviews

Tijana Popović Mlađenović – ALEKSANDAR PAVLOVIĆ: ANTHOLOGY OF THE SERBIAN MUSIC OF THE 20TH CENTURY FOR STRINGS
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New Sound CD No. 32

1. Sound example with the study Organ Improvisation – An Introduction by Hans Fidom: Organ improvisation on Miserere (Psalm 51), for organ with voice
2. Sound example with the study Improvisation, Computers, and Primary Process: Why Improvise With Computers? by Henrik Frisk: Pantokrator, for tenor saxophone and computer programming
3-4. Sound example with the study Search and Reflect: the Changing Practice of Improvisation by David Toop: Whole group; Laptops only
5. Sound example with the study Contemporary Improvisation for Classical Musicians by Tanya Kalmanovitch: Raised by Deer, for violin and clarinet
6. Sound example with the study One Time Alone. Improvisation Takes Place by Geraldine Finn: One Time Alone. Improvisation Takes Place, for voice