In the Course of Performance: Studies in the World of Musical Improvisation

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Bruno Nettl, Melinda Russell
University of Chicago Press, Dec 15, 1998 - Music - 413 pages
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In the Course of Performance is the first book in decades to illustrate and explain the practices and processes of musical improvisation. Improvisation, by its very nature, seems to resist interpretation or elucidation. This difficulty may account for the very few attempts scholars have made to provide a general guide to this elusive subject. With contributions by seventeen scholars and improvisers, In the Course of Performance offers a history of research on improvisation and an overview of the different approaches to the topic that can be used, ranging from cognitive study to detailed musical analysis. Such diverse genres as Italian lyrical singing, modal jazz, Indian classical music, Javanese gamelan, and African-American girls' singing games are examined. The most comprehensive guide to the understanding of musical improvisation available, In the Course of Performance will be indispensable to anyone attracted to this fascinating art.

Contributors are Stephen Blum, Sau Y. Chan, Jody Cormack, Valerie Woodring Goertzen, Lawrence Gushee, Eve Harwood, Tullia Magrini, Peter Manuel, Ingrid Monson, Bruno Nettl, Jeff Pressing, Ali Jihad Racy, Ronald Riddle, Stephen Slawek, Chris Smith, R. Anderson Sutton, and T. Viswanathan.

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An Art Neglected in Scholarship
Recognizing Improvisation
Psychological Constraints on Improvisational Expertise and Communication
Do Javanese Gamelan Musicians Really Improvise?
Improvisation Ecstasy and Performance Dynamics in Arabic Music
Go On Girl Improvisation in AfricanAmerican Girls Singing Games
Improvisation in Latin Dance Music History and Style
Oh Freedom George Russell John Coltrane and Modal Jazz
Melodic Improvisation in Karnatak Music The Manifestations of Raga
Setting the Stage Clara Schumanns Preludes
A Sense of the Possible Miles Davis and the Semiotics of Improvised Performance
The Improvisation of Louis Armstrong
Keeping It Going Terms Practices and Processes of Improvisation in Hindustani Instrumental Music
Taqsim Nahawand Revisited The Musicianship of Jihad Racy

Improvisation and Group Interaction in Italian Lyrical Singing
Exploding the Belly Improvisation in Cantonese Opera

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About the author (1998)

Bruno Nettl is professor of music and anthropology at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. He is the author or editor of nineteen books, including Folk and Traditional Music of the Western Continents and The Study of Ethnomusicology. Melinda Russell is instructor of music at Carleton College.

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