— Early Music Concert Series —
|23–27 August 2017||Kunín château, Czech Republic|
|1–5 August 2016||Kunín château, Czech Republic|
|24–30 August 2015||Bučovice & Kunín châteaus, Czech Republic|
|28–31 August 2014||Kunín château, Czech Republic|
This course is intended for singers and melody instrumentalists with the aim to facilitate an untraumatic / easy approach to the subject.
The course aims to stimulate three aspects, each equally important: stylistic-historical, formal and structural-communicative, and psychological. These aspects contribute to build up an awareness on a proper good-taste and communicative intentions while performing.
The course will confront theoretical and practical aspects, like on where and when to improvise, the different consequences within communicative relationships, and on the influence of apparently external elements like theatre and dance to musical improvisation.
It is important that instrumentalists bring their own instruments (we will check which pitch is better, according to the participants to the course).
The table below outlines the curriculum for this class. The lessons consist of a mixture of lecture, demonstrations, community activities and group exercises. Each block could comprise most of a morning or afternoon block (cca. 3 hours), but the actual schedule will be adjusted according to the interests and qualifications of the participants.
|Introduction||Communication (theatre, Affects), Good Taste (instinct), mistakes and time necessary to educate instinct|
|Education of the ear||Exercises for repeating / answering in rhythm|
|Energy and ...||Improvisation based upon dance rhythms||Giga, gagliarda...|
|... a search for form||Talk about the form|
|Melody||The intervals to be filled in||Exercises upon different intervals||Cyclical, the whole scale|
|Historical examples (treatises, madrigals)|
|Regular / irregular divisions, the Affects|
|Harmony||Harmonic cycles / invented melodies||Identifying a bass line|
|Bassi ostinati||Arpeggios on a bass||Ciaccona, bergamasca, passacaglia, follia|
|Form, intervals, rhythm, harmony|
|Free Composition||Prelude / cadenza, capriccio|
|Composed Pieces||Pieces prepared by anyone||Free choice|
The Art of Improvising can be approached through Theory and Practice through three aspects: stylistic-historical, formal and structural-communicative, and psychological.
The same content can be expressed in different ways. For this reason people in different periods and in different regions/cultures have developed various solutions (through structure, through the characteristics of a musical phrase, technique, sound, ...) to describe similar scenarios. The first information regarding improvisation is descriptive remarks but no traces exist of the actual music played before the advent of written examples of diminutions at the beginning of the 16th century in Italy. The tradition of adding extra notes to madrigals leads to the institution of florid adagios of the late 17th century (Corelli) and to other improvisational forms (fugues, caprices, fantasies, variations on bassi ostinati, ...). By the 19th century the possibilities of spontaneous invention by the performer become more and more confined: adagios, preludes, cadences, themes and variations become written-out forms apart from virtuosistic improvisations by extraordinary composer-performers. Jazz, folk and pop music are modern examples which contain much improvisation. We will travel through the history of improvisation in a informative and practical way from the Renaissance to the present employing written music, Historical Informed Practice (HIP) and cultural attitudes, according to the specific characteristics of the instruments (melodic, harmonic, rhythmical); also instruments that use the same kind of language (for example wind and strings) are able to develop their own individual styles.
Form of the composition: Music has continually searched for better forms to express itself and improvisation sur-le-champ has been the way to experiment with different models and verify their communicative capacities. Nowadays many written forms of compositions remain, but they were born and developed as experiments. What we have today is only a small percentage of the production of fortunate musicians, who were financially able to print their compositions. We can analyse models of improvisation as variations on a melody, variations on a bass line, improvisation on a rhythmical line, and other “free” structures (prelude, toccata, fantasia, fugue, cadenza etc.), also considering the individual characteristics of different instruments (keyboard instruments: basso continuo, harmonic variations on a bass line, polyphonic counterpoint; for melody instruments: embellishments, flourishes, virtuosistic and cantabile variations).
Form of the language: Each language has its own rules and musical rhetoric consists of codes that are used to express a message. Improvisation requires the capacity to compose on the spot and for this reason it is necessary to understand the way in which a particular content can be expressed. The rhetoric of theatre and dance can help to find and understand the way to express ourselves in music.
One of the biggest problems in improvisation is the Horror Vacui, the fear of filling an empty space. It is important to confront this aspect to enter the core of the subject. An important step is to learn to have self-efficacy and confidence in order to make “good taste” choices and to use ones ears properly.
Copyright © 2013 Davide Monti