Improvisation as Explosive Device


"If you know what you want why not just write it?"

I am writing a chamber concerto for improvising trio and 14 players and just returned from a rehearsal session with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. Why mix up a classical piece with improvisation? These kinds of tricks are frequently written off as treasonous or trifling.

When you write for classical players you write precisely. You're supposed to define everything. These players have no expertise in improvising and in any case you don't know them so you don't know what they'd do with the freedom. Rhetorical question: Why don't we ever hear the question put the other way -- Why write any music for a jazz player when all they do is improvise?

You do hear it argued that a jazz musician should stick to the basics and play in the generally defined style known as the mainstream. Writing pieces that bring classical players into an improvised context just isn't cricket.

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Enter Sandman


I used to live over Farrell's Bar in Park Slope and I thought if I ever had to hear Stairway to Heaven in the middle of the night again I would go insane. Nothing against the Zep. But this story here is horrible and tragic. It's a story about music that speaks volumes about what's going on around the world. Here's to a better 2006.

Disco Inferno

Convenience trumps fear in digital music


In this article, Arstechnica talks about a new study that suggests convenience, not the threat of legal action, is why consumers use music services like iTunes instead of downloading songs from p2p file sharing networks.

Consumer choice and convenience are regal pair motivating people to plunk down their hard earned cash. Almost half of those polled who purchased music said that they liked to use commercial services because they often only want to purchase one song instead of an entire album. An additional one-third cited the convenience of getting music online, while a paltry two percent said that they were "concerned about legal issues with downloading music." How many more customers would the entertainment industry have if they stopped treating everyone like a terrorist?

This stands in stark contrast to the current policies of the major record labels, e.g., suing college students and threatening consumers' computers with digital rights management software.


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