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Please Tell Me: Whatever Happened to Improvisation in Classical Music?

  1. 6 String Veteran profile image87
    6 String Veteranposted 5 years ago

    Bach did it. So did Beethoven and Mozart, and undoubtably scores of other Classical musicians. They knew it was a natural outpouring of all the hours spent painstakingly honing their craft...of striving to, and becoming, the best. Without it--without improvisation--somehow the life of a musician just wasn't complete.

    At least that's how it used to be. But then the end of spontaneity came.

    When did it happen? And why? If you know, please comment, being sure to share your critical thoughts, whether in favor or not in favor of improvisation in Western Classical music.

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      Baileybearposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      the improvisation tends to be more in jazz.  Those in classical just try to imitate the works of someone else - it's all hard work and no creativity.

      1. 6 String Veteran profile image87
        6 String Veteranposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Well, Baroque music has written bass parts--ostinato--with blanks spots in them. Those were to be filled on the fly--improvised--by the musician playing that part.

        Also, Mozart's piano concertos are famous for their cadenzas. When he wrote them they were intended to be improvised by the performer.

        I say improvisation should be reinstated in music conservatories.

    2. maudiojazz profile image73
      maudiojazzposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Bach and the others you mentioned were improvising over what was at the time, current popular music. As the ages shift, so does the dominant popular music. The walls between academic fine art and popular culture music need to come tumbling down.

  2. Shadesbreath profile image88
    Shadesbreathposted 5 years ago

    What came was the lack of discipline that favors "samples" and "mix" over actually being able to create music. The age of "self esteem" over work and accomplishment has emptied us of anything approaching greatness. Japan and China will continue to produce great artists because of the discipline their societies embrace. Meanwhile, Americans will snarl and blame teachers for being racist or some other crap while students put in no effort and parents take no responsibility.

    Frankly, we should all start learning Chinese, and we can thank the hippies of the sixties for making us a world of Utopian ideals that required no effort beyond dreams and bong hits. "It takes a village" absolves a couple.

    Worse, we won't fix it, because the only group active against this stupid crap is the ridiculous Bible thumpers still trying to sell 2500 year old myths and pretending science never happened.

    So, my advice is learn to speak Chinese and Iranian, and, well, you'll be covered in the end.

    1. 6 String Veteran profile image87
      6 String Veteranposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      While I don't wholly agree, a brilliant and witty post nonetheless.