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The Improvising MindCognition and Creativity in the Musical Moment$
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Aaron Berkowitz

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199590957

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199590957.001.0001

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Improvised performance: Performers’ perspectives

Improvised performance: Performers’ perspectives

(p.121) Chapter 6 Improvised performance: Performers’ perspectives
The Improvising Mind

Aaron L. Berkowitz

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the experience and psychology of improvised performance from performers' perspectives. It presents interviews about improvisation with classical pianists Robert Levin and Malcolm Bilson alongside accounts from a wide variety of musical cultures. The phenomenon of the ‘creator-witness’, an improvising performer who simultaneously generates music and responds to the music that is created, is described in a cross-cultural context. A neuropsychological basis for this phenomenon is sought through discussion of a case of a musician who developed severe amnesia, but has retained the ability to improvise.

Keywords:   improvisation, phenomenology of musical performance, amnesia, musical memory, Robert Levin, Malcolm Bilson, cross-cultural comparisons

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