Thoughts on my daily routine

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Starkly, Jun 13, 2014.

  1. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    I wouldn't define that is improv if all you are doing is tinkering with an existing line of music. I'd define that as embellishment. "Improv" in classical music would be in the form of cadenzas, where the line is not explicitly defined. Nowadays cadenzas are usually defined for us and written out, but it's well within the bounds of propriety to define and create our own, or alter the line to suit our own style. In the version of the F.J. Haydn concerto that I performed in HS, the written cadenza for the 1st movement had a line that I either didn't particularly like, or I didn't play it well because of how it layed, so I changed it. Done. Even that wasn't really improv though because I did it the same every time. True improvisation is just that - creating a melody on the fly that is built around the chord progression of the piece of music.

    That's my 2ยข on it anyway.
     
  2. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Another thought occurred to me where I'd define it as improv in classical music. A good friend of mine is a fully degreed member of the American Guild of Organists - AGO for short. For those who may not understand what that means, a "degree" in the AGO is part intellectual, and part performance, and there are multiple degrees that can be obtained along the way - I think that at any given time there are only about living 100 members of the AGO who have earned all of the degrees, and my friend is one of them. Anyway, one of the requirements my friend had along the way as a performance requirement for one of his degrees was that he was provided a piece of music that was a single line, or a very basic chart of sorts. While being judged by other members of the AGO, he had to sight read the line, filling in the chords based on theory and melody from how the cadences were structured, and then embellish upon it with counter-melodies, all while doing chord modulations and altering stop settings along the way. That's also improv in a classical setting.

    I once did an Easter gig where the organist (also an AGO degreed organist) was playing some "Bachish" things as part of the pre-music for the service when all of a sudden I noticed that woven into the contrapuntal thing he was playing was, "here comes Peter Cottontail....hoppin' down the bunny trail..." :D
     
  3. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

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    Hi trickg,
    You stated (in bold)
    I wouldn't define that is improv if all you are doing is tinkering with an existing line of music.
    ----
    But isn't that what we do when we improv in jazz? Tinker, alter, change, mess with, embellish, with/the exisiting line?
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    "Improv" in classical music would be in the form of cadenzas, where the line is not explicitly defined.
    -----
    Wow! That's just a wee part. A short story on classical improv. One time someone pissed off Beethoven by performing at the Emperor's palace in Vienna (Beethoven's regular gig). After the person finished, Beethoven sat down at the piano, took the music the other person just performed, turned it upside down and proceeded to improvise for God knows how long.
    Glen Gould would do different intrpretations of Brahms (which tended to piss off Bernstein).
    Gabriella Montero improvises on classical music and it's not just cadenzas.
    ----
    In the version of the F.J. Haydn concerto that I performed in HS, the written cadenza for the 1st movement had a line that I either didn't particularly like, or I didn't play it well because of how it layed, so I changed it. Done. Even that wasn't really improv though because I did it the same every time. True improvisation is just that - creating a melody on the fly that is built around the chord progression of the piece of music.
    ----
    True improvisation is an interpretation of a piece based on the melody (and to a lesser extent) the harmony line. The improv MUST respect and relate to the original line or it becomes a musical tumor instead of a tasteful invention.
    I've argued this with the Gman before that the improv should harken its association to the melody line.
    I state the melody line in an improv (did so in P-burgh with Gman) to establish an allegiance to the melody line and to give the audience a clue as to where they should be in the song.
    Hope this helps
    Dr.Mark
     
  4. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    We'll have to agree to disagree. In Jazz, the improvised line might not have anything at all to do with any line or existing line in the tune - it can be it's own thing altogether. Some musicians get their jollies by cramming their solo ride full of as many notes as they can squeeze in that all fit within the chord structure, and it may have nothing to do with the melody of the song.

    And while there can be improvisation in classical music, and even if it tends to follow an existing line or harmony, if it's being played during the normal line, it's an embellishment. Trills were not initially written - they were an embellishment. I suppose technically they were improvised on the fly, but they weren't creating a new composition within the existing structure - they were merely embellishing upon a predetermined line or theme.

    For me, I define the differences between embellishment and improvisation as thus: I'm good at the former, I suck at the latter, and that's all the definition I need.
     
  5. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    IMO a lot of embellishments originated from accidents and thereafter were repeated and/or copied by others. Too, they may have been the beginnings of improvisation.
     
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I think that when the definition of the thing becomes more serious than the thing, it is time to go practice the thing and get our priorities straight.

    There are no real limits to creativity and most of the time, labels only apply to a VERY small UseCase. The example of the AGO is a very good one and the practical side of that is experienced Sundays when those organists "improvise" a prelude or intro to a Hymn and then in spite of following the melody 100% squeeze in very creative accompaniment and embellishments. I think that the art of embellishment is different than the art of improvisation and the art of accompaniment although all three can be very creative. Things get extremely special when the player is a master of all three, then you don't know if you are coming or going. The only thing that really gets me angry is when some punk decides to embellish the last note with an improvised octave that is accompanied by a seventh. Every one loses........
     
  7. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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  8. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Major sevenths, yeah--super cheezy. "Teeeahheee." :bash:
     
  9. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    A great article about creativity.
    http://sites.wpcp.org/karafiolp/PCBC/hofstadter article.pdf
     
  10. Starkly

    Starkly New Friend

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    No, I haven't left. I will return time from time when I have a need for this forum. I won't voice my opinion on here anymore, because I see young people are supposed to respectfully learn and ask questions from their "elders."

    In the meantime, I'm not quite sure what you guys are talking about on this thread...
     

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