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Free E-pub: The Field of Musical Improvisation

Prof.dr. Marcel Cobussen has published a free e-pub: The Field of Musical Improvisation.

The central aim of this e-pub is to present a new approach to “the field of musical improvisation” (FMI), a theory which understands improvisation as a nonlinear dynamic and complex system. The study argues that during an improvisation more actants are “at work” than musicians alone: space, acoustics, instruments, audience, technicians, musical and socio-cultural backgrounds, technology, and the like all play a significant role. However, not all of these actants determine every improvisation to the same extent; some are more prominent and active than others in certain situations (periods, styles, cultures, as well as more singular circumstances). Therefore, the FMI theory will prove to be more than a theory dealing with improvisation “in general.” Rather, FMI emphasizes singularity: each improvisation thus yields a different network of actants and interactions, a unique configuration or assembly.

It is startlingly original in so much as it brings a philosophical/social understanding to the field of musical improvisation. I’ve not really encountered a work that does this so imaginatively and thoroughly. Indeed – reading the work – I think the whole manuscript is one wonderful set of improvisations – and as such works very well.

Michael Bull Professor of Sound Studies at the University of Sussex

Thanks to Leiden University Press

More of Marcel Cobussen in October

On October 17 Marcel Cobussen will give a lecture at the Ghent University in the context of a C3Places project meeting.

On October 18 Marcel will give a lecture at the Symposium 'Geluid als Stadmaker', organized by Soundtrackcity in Amsterdam. The Symposium is held at the Reinwardt Academy in Amsterdam.

On October 22 Marcel will participate in a roundtable discussion about improvisation and complex systems at Stroom, The Hague: The Reading Room #21, IN THE THICK OF THINGS- Untangling the Spatial Processes of Improvisation.

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