Once upon a time, in the days of Bach and Mozart, most pianists improvised. They added embellishments to written melodies, created their own accompaniments from figured bass, and learned to improvise preludes, fugues, and variations on folk songs and operatic arias.
Gradually, though, improvisation died out in the classical music world, and became associated with specific styles such as jazz, blues, and rock.
Nowadays, the situation is changing as pianists all over the world are integrating improvisation into their musical lives in a way that crosses musical genre. Classical pianists are adding synth tracks to Bach 2-Part Inventions, jazz musicians are improvising on Beatles songs, and rock bands are jamming with jazz harmonies and scales.
Yes, it’s an exciting time to be an improviser, as piano improvisation is becoming mainstream again!
Here’s a short video where you can hear me read a section of my book The Inner Game of Piano Improvisation, which celebrates the current Renaissance in piano improv.
The Current Renaissance in Piano Improvisation
Enjoy the journey, and “let the music flow!”
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