Explorations In Improvisational Music
Explorations in Improvisational Music
Course Syllabus: NMCC-02, Semester Model
Instructor: True Rosaschi
Meeting time:  (3 hours per week)
Course Description    This course investigates the legacy of improvisational music from a variety of perspectives ranging from traditional forms, academic trends, experimental processes  and  music inspired by Non-Western influences. Students will also actively engage in a range of improvisational models by performing in class together.
Challenging the assumptions about the music will be paramount with a synthesis of listening, class discussions and improvising together for an experiential authentication of the material studied. All instruments or voice are welcome.
Learning Objectives:
            1. To gain a broader understanding of improvisational music and its contexts.
            2. To develop a language for articulating those perspectives.
            3. To validate this understanding by experiencing the improvisational models.
Learning Activities:
            Discussion and Applied/Experiential
            Weekly Reviews
            Final Critical Paper
Short reactionary papers: 1-2 page reviews on weekly topic and/or listening examples.
Final Critical Paper: An in-depth analysis of an improvisational artist reflecting new learning.
Required Readings:
Improvisation: Its Nature and Practice in Music- Derek Bailey, Da Capo Press, MIT Press, 1993
ISBN: 0306805286
Arcana: Musicians on Music - John Zorn, Granary Books, 2000
ISBN: 188712327X
Course Schedule:
Weeks            Activities/Readings
1            Introduction to material and seminar process.
              Topic and Listening: What is Improvisational Music? Attempting to define the range and idioms.                    
2            The contribution of Blues, Jazz and the birth of the recording industry.
              Explain the significance of improvisation in Rock music.
3            John Cage and Indeterminacy.
              How does Indeterminacy differ from improvisation?
4            DJ’s and Samplers.
              How do we validate and contextualize this new hybrid of form and style?
5            Bebop to Free Jazz.
              What are the dimensions of this release of structure?
6            Rock music and the Fusion hybrids.
              Describe the significance of improvisation in Rock music.
7            The Classical Diversion: Bach, Boulez and Beyond.
              How did these musicians integrate improvisation into their music?
8             Notation Styles. Breaking free from the pitch and time palette.
               Describe the limitation of standard notation and attempt to validate a
               specific form of non-traditional notation , its utilization and application.
9             Cornelius Cardew and Treatise.
               What is your reaction to his method of notation?
10           Fred Frith and Graphic Scores.
               Prepare your own graphic score with instructions.
11           The internal immediacy of expressing competence.
               What are the risks and compromises of freedom vs. control?
12            Spontaneity and human expressivity.
                How do you understand the internal origin of what manifests from the instrument?
                Final Papers due. Bring copies for all students or send group e-mail.
13            Non-Western Music - North Indian Raga.
                What are the cross-cultural dynamics of this form and how is
                it perceived in context of current Western improvisational trends?
14            Final experiments of student contributions and discussions on final papers.
15            Final experiments of student contributions and discussions on final papers.
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