Improvisation in the political economy of music

Durant, Alan (1989) Improvisation in the political economy of music. In: Music and the politics of culture. Norris, Christopher, ed. Lawrence & Wishart, pp. 252-282. ISBN 0853157006

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This chapter examines the role of improvisation in a range of musical styles: classical, jazz, folk, pop. It analyses the concept of ‘improvisation’, and argues that improvised performance calls into question a number of commonly attributed characteristics of music-making, by testing - occasionally to destruction - the decision-making processes involved in musical development and the variable relation between adherence to convention and flights of individual creativity. Moving beyond musical structure, the chapter explores (in its discussion of Jacques Attali’s Noise: the Political Economy of Music) how improvisation fits at best awkwardly with dominant notions of the production and distribution of music in commodified formats. It queries how relationships involved in improvisation can be represented economically, legally and aesthetically, and concludes that improvisation raises important questions for any wider formation of music, in that it is as much practical considerations of musical performance, as conventions of composition, that determine what ‘music’ is.

Item Type:Book Section
Research Areas:A. > School of Law > Law and Politics
ID Code:8193
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Deposited On:17 Oct 2011 07:07
Last Modified:11 Mar 2015 17:37

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