Dominick ArgentoPhoto by Tom Foley, courtesy Boosey & Hawkes When I think of opera, characters such as Figaro, Iago, Octavian and Mimi come to mind. When I think of musical comedy, songs such as “Old Man River,” Some Enchanted Evening,” “Tonight,” and “Send In The Clowns” come to mind. This is because operatic music is […]
Mark AdamoPhoto by Christian Steiner, courtesy G. Schirmer, Inc. Even if we limit discussion to contemporary American work, we first need to define terms. The musical play, as defined by Rodgers and Hammerstein, extends from Oklahoma through Fiddler on theRoof to Ragtime. The songbook-style musical comedy, covers most of the Rodgers & Hart, Gershwin, Berlin, […]
Diane Wondisford The differences that exist between opera and music theatre, have to do with form, dramatic structure, scale, style, and tone. In opera, the story is conveyed through aria and recitative, very rarely unaccompanied spoken word, and sometimes the dance. In the creation of a music-theatre piece, artists borrow from many forms and structures. […]
Grethe Barrett HolbyPhoto by Arthur Elgort In Music-Theater, the music is in the theater; in Opera, the music is the theater. It is not only that generally opera is through-composed and that most often all the lines are sung. It is that the composition and performance of the music not only embodies, but expands, lays […]
David KrakauerPhoto by Bogdan Krezel, courtesy Aleba Gartner Improvising in Klezmer Music falls basically into two categories. One is the ornamenting of set (traditional or original) melodies. The other is improvising in an open, rhapsodic form—most often the "doina" (a kind of cross between a Rumanian shepherd’s song and cantorial singing). In both instances there […]
Tony TrischkaPhoto by Don Fisher, courtesy Rounder Records My improvisations take a number of forms. If I’m soloing on a traditional bluegrass tune, I’ll try to stick to the melody as closely as possible. Sometimes I’ll do something that John Hartford (great banjoist and fiddler and composer of “Gentle on my Mind”) suggested to me: […]
David S. WarePhoto by David Katenstein, courtesy AUM Fidelity My solos are just about completely spontaneous, but I may have a pure conception in mind for a particular solo. It may or may not be based around a key center. Usually, what I’m trying to do is overcome something. There’s something inherent in every moment, […]
Just what is improvisation?
What exactly is a jazz composer and what constitutes a jazz composition?
Howard MandelPhoto by Melissa Richard Improvisation and composition are two sides of one coin alloyed in the medium of form. At least it’s how it is in jazz — though maybe a coin is too static an image for anything so dynamic as music or so fluid as the relationship of improvisation and composition. Not […]