Improvisation in Process

Bennett Hogg


The language we use to talk about things, as is self evident, affects what we are able to think and do. Western musical culture, as Small has eloquently argued, has a strong focus on the musical work, music as a thing rather than an activity. There are parallels with judicial process being focused on judgments, the outcomes of the process. However, bringing judicial process and musical improvisation into a dialogue resonates the extent to which terminologies may block understanding and possibilities for progress/alternative views. In this paper I argue that the concept of the musical work is inimical to an understanding of improvisation, and speculate on the extent to which this is paralleled by the notion of judgment as outcome rather than process.


Improvisation; Process; (Post)Structuralism; Work; Judgment; Law

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Critical Studies in Improvisation / Études critiques en improvisation is generously supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (through both its Major Collaborative Research Initiatives and Aid to Scholarly Journals programs) and by the University of Guelph Library.
ISSN: 1712-0624