Improvisation & Performer Creativity

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This lesson is part of the Style & Compositional Techniques category.


  • Students will be familiar with improvisation in historical contexts, including baroque ornamentation, basso continuo, and cadenza.
  • Students will be familiar with various types of aleatoric music.
  • Students will be familiar with jazz improvisation and jams.



Class Activities[edit]

  • Discussion and exploration of different elements of classical ornamentation, and discussion of improvisational performance practice in Baroque and Classical music
  • Discussion of figured bass and basso continuo
  • Discussion of improvisational performance practice in jazz and popular music
  • Discussion of twentieth-century aleatoric music
  • Guided in-class improvisation in one of more above styles


  • Identification and analysis of different types of Baroque and Classical ornamentation in written and recorded music
  • Written realization of figured bass
  • Improvisation over a rhythm section playing changes
  • Transcription and analysis of a short improvised solo
  • Composition of a short piece which uses an aspect of indeterminacy