Improvised performance: Performers’ perspectives

Aaron L. Berkowitz

in The Improvising Mind

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199590957
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191594595 | DOI:
Improvised performance: Performers’ perspectives

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This chapter explores the experience and psychology of improvised performance from performers' perspectives. It presents interviews about improvisation with classical pianists Robert Levin and Malcolm Bilson alongside accounts from a wide variety of musical cultures. The phenomenon of the ‘creator-witness’, an improvising performer who simultaneously generates music and responds to the music that is created, is described in a cross-cultural context. A neuropsychological basis for this phenomenon is sought through discussion of a case of a musician who developed severe amnesia, but has retained the ability to improvise.

Keywords: improvisation; phenomenology of musical performance; amnesia; musical memory; Robert Levin; Malcolm Bilson; cross-cultural comparisons

Chapter.  4572 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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