‘Hear me talkin”: art worlds, improvisation and the language of jazz

Peter J. Martin

in Music and the Sociological Gaze

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9780719072161
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701492 | DOI:
‘Hear me talkin”: art worlds, improvisation and the language of jazz

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This chapter develops the idea that musical improvisation within stylistic contexts can be understood as a kind of natural language — but as such must be seen in social, rather than in individual, terms. Thus approaches which decontextualise individuals and concentrate on their assumed innate capacities, or on their cognitive processing abilities, can get at only a part of the story. Performances are instances of collaborative social practices, not the output of isolated brains. However, much of the ideology and mythology of jazz revolves around the image of the heroic individual struggling to express personal truths within, but against, an environment of uncomprehending conformity.

Keywords: musical improvisation; language; collaborative social practices; performances; jazz

Chapter.  9535 words. 

Subjects: Media Studies

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