Improvisation in the political economy of music

Durant, Alan ORCID logoORCID: (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. [Book Section]


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
Item ID: 8193
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Devika Mohan
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2011 07:07
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2019 19:07

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Activity Overview
6 month trend
6 month trend

Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.