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date: 30 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter studies musical improvisation from the perspective of a performing musician and ethnomusicologist. Informed by personal experience and theory, the author explores improvisation in terms of two broadly conceived yet closely interconnected realms, musical artistry and cultural interpretation. Examples from different world contexts are presented with emphasis on the author’s area of expertise, especially the Arab World, Turkey, and Iran. Topics addressed include musical mode, emotion, ecstasy, and the cultural values and meanings attached to improvisatory practice. Cross-cultural musical fusions are closely studied. Through analysis of specific performance events, this research highlights the symbolic, social, political, and ideological meanings as well as the improvisatory artistry.

Keywords: improvisation, fusion, mode, theory, emotion, ecstasy, Arab music, Turkish music, Persian music

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