“When Can We Improvise?”

David W. Hughes

in Performing Ethnomusicology

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2004 | ISBN: 9780520238749
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520937178 | DOI:
“When Can We Improvise?”

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This chapter focuses on the place of creativity in the academic world of music performance. It discusses the music department at SOAS (the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London), various genres that they have introduced, and the improvisation that can be brought to enhance the artistic beauty of these genres. It later highlights the author's experience of wrestling with issues of creativity for improvisation, and provides some general comments on improvisational freedom. It also illustrates various examples of the teacher's approaches in specific music and raises certain questions on composition and creativity, highlighting the fact that during the 1990s, there was no precedent within SOAS to justify teaching or even examine composition. So whether at SOAS or elsewhere, there were no formal frameworks to allow our students to compose for academic credit and evaluation.

Keywords: SOAS; University of London; improvisation; composition; improvisational freedom; academic credit; world music performance

Chapter.  10330 words. 

Subjects: Ethnomusicology

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