When I say I play or teach music improvisation to most people they often ask me if I do jazz. That’s because improvisation is known to many in jazz music, but it has been used in Classical music, is utilized in a large extent in Indian Classical music, in types of Middle Eastern music to name a few genres or cultures. Simply put it is music made in the moment. However, it can range from music that is freely formed, to highly formed, following sometimes strict rules and sometimes less strict rules, in a tight framework or more open one. It can be simple to very complex, made with instruments or the voice or assembled in a myriad and possibly infinite amount of ways. It can be very close to composing except composition is usually written down and edited and improvisations are “as is” as they turned out when created. Improvisation is as varied as music is.

Petar Ralchev

Bulgarian accordionist Petar Ralchev

The Music genres section explores different types of music improvisation in different cultures and sub-cultures.

The Resources section includes links to sites, publications, books and other material on improvisation, my recommendations and some reviews as well.

The Your improvisations section explores ways you can improvise in a way that is natural for you, explores resources and ways to realize your own music improvisation potential.


Overview — 13 Comments

  1. absolutely adore your site here David! I have played music in bands most of my life, both written and improv – and you have some really interesting content here. Keep up the good work. best, Steve 🙂

  2. Great intro into a site with much promise. I was aware improvisations were used in many genres of music, but never did I fathom such for classical. Then again when you think about it, weren’t these pieces (classic and modern) improvised before written? It would be exciting to watch say a 3 or 4 piece set improvise a classical piece. OMG! That would be thrilling. Thank you for the post. My mind is in a tailspin now lol.


    • Thanks for your wonderful feedback. Yes, cadenzas used to be improvised, the written cadenza appeared later. And the rhythm in Baroque music was filled in from figured bass so it there was more space for spontanaiety. I’ve read some of the greatest composers were also great improvisors, unfortunately their improvs were not recorded. I’ll be looking to post more on improv in concert music. So glad you enjoyed my posts.

  3. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you design this website yourself or did you hire someone to do
    it for you? Plz answer back as I’m looking to design my own blog and would like to find out where u got
    this from. thank you

  4. Hi Benjamin,

    I am very excited to have found your site! As a musician, I always have read well and never developed improvisational skills. Maybe it’s not to late!


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