Improvising Compositions, Composing Improvisations

with Christos Barbas

  • General Modal
  • All Instruments
  • English

Description

Improvising and composing are often seen as two distinct processes in music-making. Usually improvisation is related to orality, freedom and spontaneity, while composition to writing, structure, systematization as well as disposing of time to go back and revise the created piece(s). The possibility of recording sound in the 20th century, as well as the increasing awareness of the importance of improvisation in most of the musics around the world, has questioned their separateness and led to a redefinition of their relation: we now tend to think about them as parts of a continuum, instead of as contrasting concepts. Modal musical systems and modality in itself is an interesting case as it can help us expand further the way we see composition and improvisation as well as the relationship between them: Here we are not dealing with a continuum, nor with structure vs freedom, but with a set of pre-composed building blocks of possibilities, that everyone, the composer, the improviser, the interpreter, the student - and even the listener, some would argue - use with a varying degree of freedom, in order to (re)create and communicate meaning through music. With these things in mind, in the course we will study and try to understand modality through this prism in order to unlock it’s potential for enhancing creativity: employing the flux and the live dimension that improvisation provides us with in the process of composition, and at the same time, animating and possibly structuring our improvisations with ideas coming from the area of composition. We will do so through the study and analysis of compositions, listening sessions and transcriptions of recorded improvisations, as well as an in-depth practice of both composition and improvisation in the span of two weeks. This course wishes to highlight the importance of composition and improvisation in all aspects of music-making, so even though composers and improvisers from other styles of music are very welcome, we also welcome interpreters and musicians that wish to deepen their understanding and enrich their performances in the instrument or modal traditions they are studying.

This course includes

  • 15 Hours of Instruction
  • Lifetime Access to Video Recordings
  • Certificate of Completion

Student requirements

  • Instrumental technique: intermediate
  • Western theory: basic
  • Modal music theory: basic
  • Sight reading: intermediate
  • Transposition: intermediate
  • Learning by ear: any level
  • Composition: basic
  • Improvisation: basic

Day Date Start Finish
Monday January 4, 2020 07:00 pm 09:00 pm
Monday January 4, 2020 07:00 pm 09:00 pm
Monday January 4, 2020 07:00 pm 09:00 pm
Monday January 4, 2020 07:00 pm 09:00 pm
Monday January 4, 2020 07:00 pm 09:00 pm

In case a class is cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances, one or more additional make-up classes will take place at the same time on the same weekdays following the last week of classes.


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