(Free) Improvised Music in Musicology?

Challenges and Possibilities of an Enlightened Human Science

Nina Polaschegg
Improvisation is a neglected offspring of musicology. At best in Jazz studies or in the context of early music will its importance be acknowledged, without losing its marginal status. Contemporary improvised music outside Jazz can also be found in studies of music pedagogy, therapy or psychology. Yet as an aesthetic object of research it is almost absent. One can easily understand why: the current categories of analysis, on the side of composed music, would be questioned, just as the score-based definition of Art music. It is then symptomatic that attempts to develop criteria for the analysis of (free) improvised music remain almost unnoticed. The pursuit of this work however seems to be unavoidable today, since improvisation has acquired a great importance even for composers, and that it is increasingly represented in new music festivals.

by moxi