Composition and improvisation in cross-cultural perspective
Composition and improvisation in cross-cultural perspective

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Composition and improvisation in cross-cultural perspective

1.6 Summary

You may find it useful to go over the main points of the first section again.

  1. We in the West generally recognise two different concepts of musical creation, namely composition and improvisation. Composition is widely characterised as a relatively lengthy process involving the use of notation; improvisation involves the spontaneous generation of music without notation. The distinction can be useful when applied to our own art music tradition.

  2. Looking at music from a global perspective, however, this dichotomy appears very simplistic and is rarely of use. Insofar as the concepts are useful at all, they can be regarded as two complementary aspects of the same phenomenon: the creation (or, indeed, composition) of music.

  3. There are, however, various points of difference between different types of musical creation. These include the use of notation, the time scale and degree of conscious planning involved.

  4. Most kinds of musical creation involve the interaction of models (comprising certain fixed elements) with variable elements. Composers and performers alike must learn the models as well as the rules or procedures involved in controlling variable elements.

  5. When we study musical creation, whether we call it composition or improvisation, we can consider both the nature of the models used and the ways in which they are turned into actual performances.

AA302_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has nearly 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus