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#1156909 - 03/04/09 12:38 AM Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisation
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
I just read an interview with Keith Jarrett:

As Jarrett sees it, moving from the interpretation based world of classical music to the improvisational one of jazz requires a radical shift that shakes the foundations of self. When he performed a lot of Mozart in the 80's, he says "I wasn't playing anything other than Mozart. I had to become another person." And, he adds, "to teach a classical musician to improvise is almost more impossible than to teach an accountant or plumber to improvise."

"I once had a conversation with Vladimir Ashkenazy. We were on a cruise with the English Chamber Orchestra and I gave him a tape with some recent improvisations. When he had listened to it he said, 'How do you play all the right notes?' I said, "No, you see they just become the right notes by virtue of their environment.' Then he said 'I'd love to be able to improvise but I know I'd need so much time to get into the right headspace to do that.' Of course he didn't use the word 'headspace.' But he knew he'd have to shut everything down. From where they are you can't get to the improvisation and have it be you, because you've been trained outside of yourself."

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#1156911 - 03/04/09 12:52 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisation [Re: Jazz+]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
Excellent post. But it's not necessarily hard to get started in improvisation. But you're right about attitude. You really have to let go and allow for mistakes. Something many adults are reluctant to do.
_________________________
Play New Age Piano
http://www.quiescencemusic.com

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#1157175 - 03/04/09 01:15 PM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisation [Re: eweiss]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21432
Loc: Oakland
Too many accountants improvise!
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1157311 - 03/04/09 05:14 PM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisation [Re: BDB]
Ted Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 1503
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
It is an intriguing question which has puzzled me all my life, why personal improvisation appears to be so difficult and inaccessible for so many people. On the face of it, it has a mechanism which is simple to the point of being trite. It does not require enormous talent, and certainly not genius. It doesn't even need more than a very modest helping of the conventional musical abilities. I have tried, many times, with many players much more talented than I am, usually at their request, to impart whatever it is that I do. Aside from one very brilliant exception, I have to admit I have completely failed. Why is such a magnificently rewarding and transporting activity, what amounts to a life yoga of one's musical being, apparently so difficult to acquire ?

Inhibition and pathological attachment to "rights", "wrongs", "shoulds" and "ought tos", as eweiss suggests, certainly form a cornerstone of this blockage. But I have come to the conclusion that there must be more to it. After all, people don't seem to care about flouting rules in life, do they, often with damaging consequences. Yet in art and music, where the results of iconoclasm are completely harmless and trivial, everyone seems hell bent on restricting themselves, on worrying about what somebody else might think and so on.

I think in order to improvise, one must, to some extent, be able to take an immediate delight in one's own abstract sounds, without conscious analysis and judgement. This delight is unconditional, like looking at roses. The sounds are not transporting by virtue of this or that property, but just because they "are" in a very intense sense - what Aldous Huxley called "suchness".

The other possible obstacle is that the learning process for improvisation appears to necessitate working from freedom towards order, whereas almost all our educational methods emphasise order first and freedom later. For highly trained and educated people, this back to front position may seem totally unworkable; for children probably much less so.

But there is certainly something of a mystery why someone of Ashkenazy's order of talent would not desire to improvise all the time. Is the creative faculty really so isolated ?

I remember wondering about this when I read that book of Jarrett's years ago and I'm still none the wiser really.
_________________________
"It is inadvisable to decline a dinner invitation from a plump woman." - Fred Hollows

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#1157430 - 03/04/09 09:46 PM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisation [Re: Ted]
BJones Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 1043
Loc: Queens, NY
Originally Posted By: Ted
The other possible obstacle is that the learning process for improvisation appears to necessitate working from freedom towards order, whereas almost all our educational methods emphasise order first and freedom later.


Order and discipline are as extremely important for the beginning improvising student as any educational method. That order is based on definite parameters, rules, and the same gravitational forces that shape any genre of music and if a beginner is to have a firm foothold on a progressive improvisational methodogy, order of substance must be present, along with rules and structure.
The additive methodogy of learning to improvise is similar to the methodogy of learning to reproduce the printed page of pre-existing music, with a clear cut understanding of either one or both.
The only difference with improvisation is that the methods are geared toward producing the music of your psyche rather than producing the music of someone else's. Its goal orientation is based on liberating from within, the order, rules, and structures geare toward that end.

I studied with the best. he studied with the best. I consider myself a succesful improvisor. How can success be measured? Because I can reproduce sonically what it is I hear internally, ad in doing so, I am not a carbon copy of any other pianist. I hear uniquely to myself, not because I've heard it before. If you listen to any of my sig. sound files, whether you like the music or not, you will note that it really doesn't sound like any other pianist. There are no cliches of Chick, Keith, McCoy, etc., and although I was heavily Tristano-school influenced, but my lines and counterpoint are different.
There's influences of Lennie, Oscar, Tatum, Bird, Jaco, etc., but they form a symbiotic amalgam that unites to blend into a unique style unlike other pianists. For that reason alone, I consider myself successful as an improvisor.


Edited by BJones (03/04/09 09:53 PM)
_________________________
Some recent improvisations:

Cool School Chopin:

http://www.mediafire.com/?d1yc1mmitew

Improvisations:

http://www.box.net/shared/bjv6yc34oo

http://www.box.net/shared/8lmc3hzikl


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#1158917 - 03/07/09 06:48 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisation [Re: BJones]
Oscarsidebo Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/06/09
Posts: 11
Improvisation can't be wrong and that's why it can't be hard either. But thats just the theory. If you want your improvisations to sound like Keith Jarret it gets a little harder. Great thread!
_________________________
Piano lessons

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#1158936 - 03/07/09 08:31 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisation [Re: Oscarsidebo]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
I think Ted makes some great points, and I think its very similar to what Kenny Werner talks about in his effortless mastery. If you let a very young child play the piano he/she will be hitting the notes randomly, & chances are that it's not going to sound like anything. We might disregard that as random noise but they might be totally immersed in their music making. They are enjoying whatever sound the could get out of that instrument.

Like Ted says, I think the problem is that we are often taught right/wrong, sometimes we do that to the point where we start losing in touch with our natural ability and curiosity. I read a study about how children are able to hear complex rhythm but loses that ability because at one point they 'decided' that those information are not that important to them.

It would be interesting if the same child i mentioned above was encouraged to keep on doing that. who knows the music that child make may be radically different than the music as we know it. I can't say that music education in general is completely wrong, but it does favor being right more than being spontaneous. In improv class its about learning the rules so that that you can do more spontaneously but often times we focus too much on the means and not on the goal.

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#1158938 - 03/07/09 08:38 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisation [Re: etcetra]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
This also reminds me.. I've read couple of articles on jazz education and a lot of teachers notice a big difference in how jazz is taught now vs how they learned.. I mentioned this in arguments against Abersold thread, but some people like George Duke are worried that jazz education is starting to become more like European-classical tradition and he is worried that the African roots of the music is disappearing. I think Walt Weiskopf even says that improvisation nowdays is more like classical performance rather than a spontaneous improvisation, because you have to work out so much material before you can improvise them.

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#1158955 - 03/07/09 09:33 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisation [Re: etcetra]
BSP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 209
Loc: Hudson Valley, NY
I hear what you're saying, etcetera. The early jazz legends perfected their sound on the bandstand. In school, the training becomes somewhat formulaic. I believe that the formalized education of jazz is producing players with fantastic technique, at the expense of a unique, personal sound. I find myself overwhelmed when I listen to some of the younger players out there. Blistering technique.. sheets of sound, but sometimes.. just too many "notes". And, then, when I compare my own amateur playing to who's out there now, I think.. I'm doomed! LOL

For example, Eldar.. I know he's very young. I'm not sure where he studied.. probably not in college. His parents are classical musicians, trained in the Russian school. I use him as an example because he's an amazing player.. clean technique, great tone, everything. I found an article about him in some magazine (don't remember which one) where he said that he practiced 10 hours a day in preparation for recording his CD. I then listened to his take on "Canteloupe Island", which he titled, "Watermelon Island". It's great playing, but I found myself wondering, "how many hours did he spend perfecting this one solo? Is it really improvised, if he practiced it for hours"? Of course, you want to perfect a tune before you record it and attempt to market it to people, but again, there's just something about that tune that leaves me a bit cold.. no matter how technically perfect it is. It doesn't sound improvised...he never takes a breath!

Also, I had a teacher on the faculty of a community college who encouraged me to use voicings and scales that sound "modern". He really encouraged me to use diminished scales & upper structures in my playing, which to me, blurs the African roots of the music. I mean, I want to sound modern and not dated, but at the time, I barely understood what a ii-V was.

I studied with him for a couple of years, but I found myself missing something because I couldn't play the blues very well.
I was too concerned about finding something cool to play over the D7#9 chord in the F jazz blues, rather than making a coherent contextual solo. He was giving me all the shortcuts to sounding good, but I needed to know more of the basics first. So, I started doing more Wynton Kelly transcriptions, much to his dismay. Right now, I'd rather try to play a solo that swings, rather than a bunch of cool sounding notes so that I don't sound too "dated".

That may explain why I don't gig much. LOL

BSP

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#1158962 - 03/07/09 09:47 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisation [Re: BSP]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
BSP

what you say does make sense, I practice anywhere between 3-5 hrs, (i can't do more because of injury), I spent most of that time doing more complicated stuff, and sometimes I feel like I get so caught up in that and i forget to make music so to speak. The goal is to make those thing part of music just as much as the simple stuff. I do have the same thoughts about Eldar, he is incredible, but as Denny Zeitlin said once, he sounds like he is doing everything he can on a tune because he can. I am very interested in how eldar matures as a musician in that respect.

It's a strange thing I get pulled in two different direction.. stuff that people like Aaron Parks or Brad Mehldau does really blows me away and its what I work on but at the same time, I can listen to chet baker, or stan getz or louis armstrong play and its so musical.. i guess we all need to find answers for ourselves somehow between those extremes.

But you are right though, maybe the school should give more emphasis on how to play blues with , how to groove...etc, I feel like those things are what's missing when most of us are taught music along with our ability to improvise.. you look some of the children in african tribes, they can play very complex rhythm and improvise on percussion instrument, because they grew up playing, listening and imitation, it was part of their lives, like how tv is part of our lives. that's how most people learned music before. In the modern age we're not taught that way, and something is terribly missing from our education.

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#1162205 - 03/13/09 07:05 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: Jazz+]
Cudo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 135
Loc: Heidelberg, Germany
Originally Posted By: Jazz+

As Jarrett sees it, moving from the interpretation based world of classical music to the improvisational one of jazz requires a radical shift that shakes the foundations of self.


And if you do something in between? I mean, Bach wrote his Inventions for his students to learn improvising. First he was showing them small moduls which they had to handle with. Later, for not so good inspired students,finally he wrote these Inventions as a complete guideline for further improvisations.
That is what I read on an essay. It sounds logic for me.
I am a Pianoplayer who does improvisation on Blues/Rhythm-Changes and Standard-tune forms.
Now, I though, let's take Bach's Invention as a guideline and improvise on it.
In the first place it wasn't easy at all. Later I became familiar with the harmonic and melodic concept of Bach and I was playing the Inventions over and over and started slightly variying these.
No I can played pretty freely on each of them and I have really a lot of fun doing it. As I do, right now, I take allways one of the two voices as a cantus firmus. This is the guideline.

For me playing Bach in this manner is maybe the original idea Bach had with these small pieces.
A classician who would say "you can't change Bach" is for me a hypokrit.
We should try to see music more open minded and not dividing it in categories.

Many Jazzmusicians I spoke with say, you have to play Bach, this will be good for your contrapunctual thinking. Well, I sad, I'll do it, but in my way.

Here are the Links to the Inventions. You can change the numbers from 1 to 15. Number 11 and 13 is not yet done.

http://www.cisum.info/inventio1.mp3
http://www.cisum.info/inventio2.mp3
http://www.cisum.info/inventio3.mp3 and so on...


Edited by Cudo (03/13/09 07:08 AM)

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#1162220 - 03/13/09 08:42 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: Cudo]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Are you sure Bach used the invention as a tool to teach improvisation? I read that it was used to teach composition. There are plenty of crossover/classical improv, like Uri caine and Ira Stein, but most of these people are associated more with jazz than classical. There are improvised classical music too, its just hard to find them unless you really follow that music.

I think it comes down to the fact that improv is not that important for (most)classical pianists. I knew a teacher who spent 10 hrs a day for couple of month preparing for their next performance. She was performing the Rachmninoff 3rd piano concerto. I am sure improv is something that would be nice to learn but for most classical pianists, getting a piece just right is a monumental effort on its own.

In my opinion Classical musicians hear and experience music very differently than jazz musicians, they are very refined in what they look for in music, but that scope can be very limited. Apparently not many classical pianists don't like Keith or Chick Corea's interpretation of classical music.. for them the performance is just not up to standard. I think that's why some classical musicians just see other music like jazz as inferior... of course that's an exception, but I am guessing that a lot of classical musicians don't understand improv but appreciate it for "what it is"

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#1162314 - 03/13/09 12:59 PM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: etcetra]
Cudo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 135
Loc: Heidelberg, Germany
Originally Posted By: etcetra
Are you sure Bach used the invention as a tool to teach improvisation? I read that it was used to teach composition.

I also heard that he used it for composition purpose, but also I find this artikel:

„Auch im Klavierunterricht von Johann Sebastian Bach hatte das Sätzchenspiel eine herausragende Stellung. Wie eben beschrieben, mussten die Schüler vorgegebene Sätzchen üben und nach verschiedenen Varianten suchen. Wenn er aber merkte, dass die Ausführung keine Entwicklung findet, so schrieb er zusammenhängende Stücke, in denen diese Übungen vorkamen.“ Dietrich Bartsch

„Von dieser Art sind 6 kleine Präludien für Anfänger, und noch mehr die 15 zweystimmigen Inventionen. Beyde schrieb er in den Stunden des Unterrichts selbst nieder, und nahm dabey bloß auf das gegenwärtige Bedürfnis des Schülers Rücksicht. In der Folge hat er sie in schöne, ausdrucksvolle kleine Kunstwerke umgeschaffen.“Johann Nikolaus Forkel: Ueber Johann Sebastian Bachs Leben, Kunst und Kunstwerk. Leipzig 1802, Reprint. Kassel 1925, S. 93


Just in case you are not speaking german ;-)
it says that Bach was training with his students the so called "Sätzchenspiel". I think this means he gave the students small motives and the students had to evolve figurations out of it. Great!
So further on it says, when he noticed that it had no developement, he sit down and wrote something for this particular student. In this manner he wrote down "6 kleine Präludien" and "15 zweystimmigen Inventionen".

etcetra, I thank you for responding my post and for giving the names of Uri caine and Ira Stein. Unfortunately I could not find any classical improvisation from them.


Originally Posted By: etcetra
I think it comes down to the fact that improv is not that important for (most)classical pianists.

Now a day you might be right. In earlier times however every classical piano player was able to improvise.
Chopin, Bach, Liszt and all the others were great improvisors. Classical pianoplayers from today don`t like to talk about this fact.

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#1162490 - 03/13/09 08:52 PM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: Cudo]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Ira Stein's Bach Improvisation

http://www.biske.com/irastein.html

Uri Caine's made numerous albums.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uri_Caine

actual classical improv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KycMwdw4C6M

I've heard some people classical musicians say that they don't like jazz piano because jazz pianists don't pay enough attention to the sounds they are making. some feel that the kinds of tones jazz pianists create is very limited. Classical piano playing is so specialized in some ways, I can kind of understand why improv is not given much priority.. after all if you are a college student doing 4hrs+ of practice for repritore, how much time do you have for improv?

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#1162530 - 03/13/09 11:18 PM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: etcetra]
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
For a classical pianist, not having a score to work from is like an actor not having a script. All of their training gears them to become the part, not inventing something of their own on the spot. Understandably, most actors hate doing improv theater much like classical pianist do not like to improvise.


Edited by Jazz+ (03/13/09 11:20 PM)

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#1167034 - 03/22/09 10:38 PM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: Jazz+]
Oetzi Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/22/09
Posts: 2
Hi there, I'm just arrived, here.

I'm a 38-year old classical pianist living in Rome, Italy.
I play classical piano since I was 6, I teach classical piano since I was 18.

I think there's a misunderstanding about what a classical pianist really does. Improvisation IS a big part, if not the essence of a classical pianist. But the kind of improvisation involved in his playing is quite different from jazz pianists', and in a certain way is the same: it aims to express a pianist's own, temporary mood, which is different each time the pianist plays the role of interpreter of a score. I know that the differences between different interpretations may be considered very subtle, too much subtle. But this attains only to the personal musical knowledge and perception of the classical music culture. I'm talking about an extremely variable combination of tempo, dynamics and - most important - TOCCO (touch), which is normally much more developed in classical pianists than in jazz pianists. The use of pedal, as well, is subject to a live, ever changing control and improvisation.

I NEVER heard two identical, not-improvised Goldberg Variations, for example. The differences are often so extreme, not only if played by different pianists, but also by the same pianist in different concerts, that one cannot really tell he/she isn't improvising following his own mood and his audience.

Classical pianists improvise all the time, and that's the pure joy of making music. The only problem is that, to jazzed ears, it's as hard to recognize it as improvisation as for an elephant to detect an ant. They are two completely different dimensions: parallel universes.

For a classical pianist, most of what he/she hears of jazz is lots of scales and arpeggios, often extremely fast and redundant in a virtuoso-way which is not always perceived as musical richness.

Moreover, please don't forget that improvisation is part of the classical music common practice, even in a sense much more similar to jazz improvisation: every piano concerto, for example (by Mozart, Beethoven etc.) and every other concerto in which harpsichord or other keyboard instrument has a main role (e.g. Bach's Brandenburg Concertos) REQUIRES an improvisation to take place at the end of the first movement: the Kadenz. There, the classical pianist can express himself in a pure sense of improvisation.

Finally, some of the contemporary "classical" compositions by Schoenberg, Nono, Berio etc. require the pianists use lots of their improvising skills.

So: is jazz improvisation so hard to achieve for a classical pianist? Maybe yes. But maybe it's just because we are talking of two very different musical languages. And it's not so useful if an Italian guy says that his British friend can't "improvise" in Italian! For the same reason, I don't know any jazz pianists who can play classical music without a lack of the typical classical improvisations skills.

Can we break these common barriers? I think yes, and we can do it as soon as we can with our children. For an adult, it's impossible to become mothertongue, isn't it?


Best wishes! I'M LEARNING JAZZ (AND ENGLISH) AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE! ;-)


"Oetzi"
Rome, Italy


Edited by Oetzi (03/22/09 10:40 PM)

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#1167039 - 03/22/09 10:47 PM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: Oetzi]
Oetzi Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/22/09
Posts: 2
Organ music is one more example of improvisation skills.
In every church or cathedral, organists improvise all the time before the Sunday mass.

Here is an example, taken at Notre Dame cathedral. That's a pure improvisation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

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#1167047 - 03/22/09 11:02 PM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: Cudo]
BJones Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 1043
Loc: Queens, NY
Originally Posted By: Cudo
Originally Posted By: etcetra
Are you sure Bach used the invention as a tool to teach improvisation? I read that it was used to teach composition.

I also heard that he used it for composition purpose, but also I find this artikel:

„Auch im Klavierunterricht von Johann Sebastian Bach hatte das Sätzchenspiel eine herausragende Stellung. Wie eben beschrieben, mussten die Schüler vorgegebene Sätzchen üben und nach verschiedenen Varianten suchen. Wenn er aber merkte, dass die Ausführung keine Entwicklung findet, so schrieb er zusammenhängende Stücke, in denen diese Übungen vorkamen.“ Dietrich Bartsch

„Von dieser Art sind 6 kleine Präludien für Anfänger, und noch mehr die 15 zweystimmigen Inventionen. Beyde schrieb er in den Stunden des Unterrichts selbst nieder, und nahm dabey bloß auf das gegenwärtige Bedürfnis des Schülers Rücksicht. In der Folge hat er sie in schöne, ausdrucksvolle kleine Kunstwerke umgeschaffen.“Johann Nikolaus Forkel: Ueber Johann Sebastian Bachs Leben, Kunst und Kunstwerk. Leipzig 1802, Reprint. Kassel 1925, S. 93


Just in case you are not speaking german ;-)
it says that Bach was training with his students the so called "Sätzchenspiel". I think this means he gave the students small motives and the students had to evolve figurations out of it. Great!
So further on it says, when he noticed that it had no developement, he sit down and wrote something for this particular student. In this manner he wrote down "6 kleine Präludien" and "15 zweystimmigen Inventionen".

etcetra, I thank you for responding my post and for giving the names of Uri caine and Ira Stein. Unfortunately I could not find any classical improvisation from them.


Originally Posted By: etcetra
I think it comes down to the fact that improv is not that important for (most)classical pianists.

Now a day you might be right. In earlier times however every classical piano player was able to improvise.
Chopin, Bach, Liszt and all the others were great improvisors. Classical pianoplayers from today don`t like to talk about this fact.



That's not what the translation is at all. It has nothing to do with music! It's a cookbook! It's Mrs. Bach's original recipe for Sauerbraten, and another recipe for JS' favorite desert, "4 and 20 blackbird pie". sick
_________________________
Some recent improvisations:

Cool School Chopin:

http://www.mediafire.com/?d1yc1mmitew

Improvisations:

http://www.box.net/shared/bjv6yc34oo

http://www.box.net/shared/8lmc3hzikl


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#1167188 - 03/23/09 09:11 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: BJones]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Oetzi,

I agree that classical and jazz are very different language, and jazz musicians may not quite understand the nuances in classical performance like a classical pianists do. It's the same reason that jazz improv may sound like "lots of scales and arpeggios, often extremely fast and redundant" to a classical pianist. It will take hours to explain the harmonic/rhythmic complexity of the ideas jazz musicians improvise. I think the only thing that you can do is understand and have respect for each others' craft and their difference.

In my experience, when I was in college, very few classical pianists improvised, or even composed.. they were completely at a loss as to how to do any of that, even the teachers. I agree that there are many classical pianists who can improvise, but nothing in the education system requires them to learn improv.

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#1167514 - 03/23/09 07:22 PM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: etcetra]
Ken. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/08
Posts: 286
Classical - expressing your soul through the composer's written notes
Jazz - expressing your soul through improvisation

Differences in mindset can be illustrated by the different processes for learning the music.

Classical - technnique, then learning pieces per composers directions, then within that context expressing your soul.

Jazz - technique, then learning elements of the jazz language via patterns, transcriptions, learning the standards and their chord progressions, then working out a framework for your improvisations over them.

I think the biggest difference in mindset between the two is that with classical a mistake is bad. In jazz, mistakes come with the territory and is part of your playing. In fact, if it's perfect, it's not jazz.

[Edit] I hear you etcetra, BSP about Jazz yesterday vs today.


Edited by Ken. (03/23/09 07:39 PM)
_________________________
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#1167647 - 03/23/09 11:44 PM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: Ken.]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21432
Loc: Oakland
Classical music is jazz after it has ossified.
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#1167675 - 03/24/09 01:02 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: Ken.]
etcetra Offline
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Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
I think oetzi made a really great point.. in classical music, the improvisation is not so much on the notes but how you play them.. and they are able to bring a lot more depth into the music because they don't have to think about what notes they are playing. For jazz musician the creative focus is on what to play.. they are totally different in that respect.. I guess jazz musician is more like a composer whereas the classical musician is more like a conductor.

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#1167724 - 03/24/09 04:24 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: Ken.]
BJones Offline
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Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 1043
Loc: Queens, NY
Originally Posted By: Ken.
Classical - expressing your soul through the composer's written notes
Jazz - expressing your soul through improvisation



Improvisation is common to both jazz and classical pianism/musicianship. What's not common is inflection, the difference in dialect. The notes can be exactly the same in a "jazz" work as in a clasical one.

Here's a perfect example, my improvisation on a chopin etude:

http://www.mediafire.com/?d1yc1mmitew

Aside from the intro, based on the chords of the etude, the playing of the original melody i note for note, but takes on the dialect of "jazz" in that:

1)Chopin's 12/8 melody at quarter = 224 is now phrased in 4/4 at quarter = 340, approx the same nps rate of speed.

2) each beat of two eighth notes are not articulate as 1/8ths but as shuffled eighths, which acutally would be correctly notated as 1/8th note trips, with the first two 1/8ths tied! Playing the line with that much dynamic and rhythmic control at that tempo requires a completely different technical ability far advanced beyond most clasical pianists, who are used to playing rapid note rates without much internote rhythmic, dynamic, durational diversity. I could have played this alot more rapidly, but sacrificed most of the internote diversity in doing so.

3) Along with the shuffled trips, the internote dynamics are widely varied, imparting a tremendous spin which further augments the propulsion of the shuffled eighths.

4) A quarter note bas line with contimually shifting metric implications through varied note to note dynamics (rhythmic phrasing), further increases the propulsion.

5) The bass line establishes a highly chromatic harmonically diverse underpinning, yet reliant on the C# diminsihed tonal center (C7 b9/#9 #11) for its gravitational center (toward F min.)

The notes of the melody are a pure classical contrivance, but the manner in which it's executed is pure "jazz".


Edited by BJones (03/24/09 04:31 AM)
_________________________
Some recent improvisations:

Cool School Chopin:

http://www.mediafire.com/?d1yc1mmitew

Improvisations:

http://www.box.net/shared/bjv6yc34oo

http://www.box.net/shared/8lmc3hzikl


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#1167761 - 03/24/09 07:32 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: BJones]
knotty Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2993
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
This is a great example, and a great explanation of Jazz Vs Classical.

I will re-use that at a dinner table!

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#1167763 - 03/24/09 07:40 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: knotty]
BJones Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 1043
Loc: Queens, NY
Originally Posted By: knotty
This is a great example, and a great explanation of Jazz Vs Classical.

I will re-use that at a dinner table!


Don't forget the hot sauce! grin
_________________________
Some recent improvisations:

Cool School Chopin:

http://www.mediafire.com/?d1yc1mmitew

Improvisations:

http://www.box.net/shared/bjv6yc34oo

http://www.box.net/shared/8lmc3hzikl


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#1167816 - 03/24/09 09:46 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: BJones]
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
Wow, that's marvelous.

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#1168029 - 03/24/09 03:36 PM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: etcetra]
Ken. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/08
Posts: 286
Originally Posted By: etcetra
I think oetzi made a really great point.. in classical music, the improvisation is not so much on the notes but how you play them.. and they are able to bring a lot more depth into the music because they don't have to think about what notes they are playing. For jazz musician the creative focus is on what to play.. they are totally different in that respect.. I guess jazz musician is more like a composer whereas the classical musician is more like a conductor.

I agree, however in Jazz it's not just the notes, it's how you play them as well. I realized this when I was transcribing a solo. It was not just the notes, it was how he was playing them that made the difference. Also I remember hearing Ken Peplowski demonstrating improvisation in a masterclass by playing simple arpeggios over a medium tempo standard with a rhythm section. It sounded great and musical because of the way he played it.
_________________________
Monk - Think of One
Bach - Two Part Invention No.12

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#1168075 - 03/24/09 04:41 PM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisation [Re: Ted]
RobKeymar Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/09
Posts: 47
Loc: Frederick Maryland
One essential tool in the improvisors bag of tricks is the ability to see as well as hear intervals. Some of us, unfortunately, can hear the golden thread but cannot find it anywhere on the instrument even if we can read and play pretty much anything written.

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#1168259 - 03/24/09 10:04 PM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisation [Re: RobKeymar]
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
I don't think individual expression in classical playing is improvisation. And can someone link me to any improvisations by Horowitz, Rubinstein, Arrau, Gould, Richter, Michelangeli, etc?

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#1168269 - 03/24/09 10:25 PM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: Ken.]
Wilson Frazão Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/06/09
Posts: 24
Loc: Portugal
May Jesus be with you too... i love jesus too and the pope of course... but why don't play what you like to play and be afraid to play jazz or classical or experimental music, just enjoy...
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"Music is the most physically inspiring of all the arts." - Frank Zappa

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