Can improvisation bring audiences back to classical music?

classical music
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When classical musicians improvise, audiences' brainwaves reveal they are more engaged and rate the performances higher.

Improvising a classic piece of may seem "against the rules," but it was the norm in performances before the twentieth century. And as classical music audiences decline, new research shows it could be one way to engage audiences old and new.

A new study by Imperial College London and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama reveals improvisation changes how musicians, and their audiences, experience a performance.

When a piece is played with improvisatory elements, the team found a significant increase of brain signal complexity in both the musicians and their , which can be associated with higher levels of alertness and awareness.

These brain changes were measured by EEG (electroencephalogram), but audiences were also surveyed, and rated the improvised performances higher.

Professor Henrik Jeldtoft Jensen, Head of the Centre for Complexity Science at Imperial, said: "This is a very clear result that improvised music simply leads to a higher level of awareness."

Credit: Imperial College London

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More information: David Dolan et al. The Improvisational State of Mind: A Multidisciplinary Study of an Improvisatory Approach to Classical Music Repertoire Performance, Frontiers in Psychology (2018). DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01341
Journal information: Frontiers in Psychology

Citation: Can improvisation bring audiences back to classical music? (2019, June 25) retrieved 21 July 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-06-audiences-classical-music.html
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Jun 26, 2019
As a Jazz player this isn't surprising. Far more engaging to develop a creative inner voice than restrict yourself to playing other people's ideas. Frankly I don't understand why anyone does that except out of ignorance and fear. Same thing for pop cover bands.

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