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Blog posts March 2017

The beginnings of learning to improvise

How do I begin to build a theory of learning to improvise? There are so many elements, so many sides to it, so many different types of experience..!

One thing I notice, even as I write, is that there are distinct stages to the experience. This is confusing and even exasperating in one sense, beca…

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Feeling harmony ... how? what?

Am taking a trip back in history, today, away from Reger - to Franz Schubert. This is partly because I'm hoping to programme some movements from the Deutsche Messe in a concert soon. The harmony of Schubert is so different to Reger (in whose harmonic language I've been kind of saturated during the …

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Back to Reger..

I guess the organ music of Max Reger is a bit of a puzzle for me..

Here I am again with a spot of analysis, this time of the pices Op.59, though I've only just started on the opening bars of the first piece. The fact is, the sound of these pieces is 'something else'.. exotic, bewildering, de…

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Are rules necessary?

A student said to me recently that he felt he "needed to know harmony" in order to improvise.

My first reaction was one of alarm, as my own harmonic knowledge feels somewhat piecemeal, the result of O and A-level work and a few classes at the RAM some years ago. Last year I became the proud owner…

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Composition vs. Improvisation

This is an age-old debate, under which improvisation usually has some explaining to do.. at least a bit of defensive ground to make up.

The fact seems to be that improvisers often feel at a disadvantage when it comes to the output of their art. After all, how can an improvised piece of music matc…

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5 blog posts