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COMPOSITION VERSUS IMPROVISATION?

COMPOSITION VERSUS IMPROVISATION? Journal of Music Theory, 49:2 DOI 10.1215/00222909-008 © 2008 by Yale University in a time-consuming process that involves rational reflection and intellectual calculation to create complex, sophisticated relationships. neous process that involves emotional invention and intuitive impulse to create simple, direct expressions. I suspect that many musicians may also hold this traditional view (and it is easy to see, given such a view, one reason that compositions are analyzed more often than are improvisations). And I have read books and articles—some of them by very distinguished writers—that articulate the distinction this way. I also suspect that most music theorists would say that, although there is an element of truth in this distinction, all musical creation really lies on a continuum between these poles. Yet in this article, I will go further and claim that, in important ways, the traditional distinction has it backward. My evidence is drawn from two selections from Conversations with Myself: “ ’Round Midnight” and “Stella by Starlight.” “ ’Round Midnight” The first cut on Conversations with Myself is Thelonious Monk’s composition “ ’Round Midnight.” Its theme is in the standard thirty-two–bar AABA song form. Example 1 shows features common to Evans’s settings of the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Music Theory Duke University Press

COMPOSITION VERSUS IMPROVISATION?

Journal of Music Theory , Volume 49 (2) – Jan 1, 2005

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2005 by Yale University
ISSN
0022-2909
eISSN
1941-7497
DOI
10.1215/00222909-008
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Journal of Music Theory, 49:2 DOI 10.1215/00222909-008 © 2008 by Yale University in a time-consuming process that involves rational reflection and intellectual calculation to create complex, sophisticated relationships. neous process that involves emotional invention and intuitive impulse to create simple, direct expressions. I suspect that many musicians may also hold this traditional view (and it is easy to see, given such a view, one reason that compositions are analyzed more often than are improvisations). And I have read books and articles—some of them by very distinguished writers—that articulate the distinction this way. I also suspect that most music theorists would say that, although there is an element of truth in this distinction, all musical creation really lies on a continuum between these poles. Yet in this article, I will go further and claim that, in important ways, the traditional distinction has it backward. My evidence is drawn from two selections from Conversations with Myself: “ ’Round Midnight” and “Stella by Starlight.” “ ’Round Midnight” The first cut on Conversations with Myself is Thelonious Monk’s composition “ ’Round Midnight.” Its theme is in the standard thirty-two–bar AABA song form. Example 1 shows features common to Evans’s settings of the

Journal

Journal of Music TheoryDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2005

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