Fantasies of Improvisation : Free Playing in Nineteenth-Century Music, Hardback Book

Fantasies of Improvisation : Free Playing in Nineteenth-Century Music Hardback


The first history of keyboard improvisation in European music in the postclassical and romantic periods, Free Play: Fantasies of Improvisation in Nineteenth-Century Music documents practices of improvisation on the piano and the organ, with a particular emphasis on free fantasies and other forms of free playing.

Case studies of performers such as Abbe Vogler, J. N. Hummel, Ignaz Moscheles, Robert Schumann, Carl Loewe, and Franz Liszt describe in detailthe motives, intentions, and musical styles of the nineteenth century's leading improvisers.

Grounded in primary sources, the book further discusses the reception and valuation of improvisational performances by colleagues, audiences, and critics, which prompted many keyboardists to stop improvising.

Author DanaGooley argues that amidst the decline of improvisational practices in the first half of the nineteenth century there emerged a strong and influential "idea" of improvisation as an ideal or perfect performance.

This idea, spawned and nourished by romanticism, preserved the aesthetic, social, and ethical values associated with improvisation, calling into question the supposed triumph of the "work."


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 312 pages, 20 line, 4 halftones
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Theory of music & musicology
  • ISBN: 9780190633585



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