Pedagogical Styles for Melodic Improvisation - Comparing the Effects of Music-Theoretical and Dramaturgic Instruction
The pedagogical literature on improvisation in jazz and related genres is chiefly concerned with scales, chords, and other music-theoretically defined elements. On the other hand, the literature on freer forms of improvisation emphasizes a “dramaturgical” approach, with focuses on expression and personal commitment. The present research aims at assessing the relative merits of these approaches. In the study, 36 students of professional music pedagogy, most of them with little or no improvisation experience, took part in a week-long improvisation course during which part of them were given music-theoretical and part of them dramaturgically oriented instruction. The students’ melodic improvisations over a chordal accompaniment from the beginning and the end of the course were subjected to evaluation according to ten descriptive scales by a panel of expert judges. Irrespective of the instruction given, most of the scales showed a highly significant change in the participants’ improvisatory styles during the course. However, the theoretical instructions lead to a more significant change towards improvisation judged as “dissonant” and “independent of the chord changes”, whereas dramaturgical instructions lead to a more significant change towards “rhythmically varied” playing. ...
ConferenceESCOM 2009 : 7th Triennial Conference of European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music
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- ESCOM 2009