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<p>Printed from Grove Music Online. Grove is a registered trademark. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use&#160;(for details see Privacy Policy).</p><p>date: 26 May 2019</p>


  • Bruno Nettl,
  • Rob C. Wegman,
  • Imogene Horsley,
  • Michael Collins,
  • Stewart A. Carter,
  • Greer Garden,
  • Robert E. Seletsky,
  • Robert D. Levin,
  • Will Crutchfield,
  • John Rink,
  • Paul Griffiths
  •  and Barry Kernfeld


The creation of a musical work, or the final form of a musical work, as it is being performed. It may involve the work’s immediate composition by its performers, or the elaboration or adjustment of an existing framework, or anything in between. To some extent every performance involves elements of improvisation, although its degree varies according to period and place, and to some extent every improvisation rests on a series of conventions or implicit rules. The term ‘extemporization’ is used more or less interchangeably with ‘improvisation’. By its very nature – in that improvisation is essentially evanescent – it is one of the subjects least amenable to historical research....

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Musicological Studies and Documents
Journal of the American Musicological Society
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R.M.A. [Royal Musical Association] Research Chronicle
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O. Strunk: Source Readings in Music History (New York, 1950/R)
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Dresden, Sächsische Landesbibliothek - Staats- und Universitäts-Bibliothek, Musikabteilung
C. Burney: A General History of Music from the Earliest Ages to the Present Period (London, 1776-89); ed. F. Mercer (London, 1935/R) [p. nos. refer to this edn]
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Journal of the Royal Musical Association
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Monthly Musical Record
Miscellanea musicologica [Australia]
Mozart-Jahrbuch [Salzburg, 1950-]
Musica disciplina
Yearbook for Traditional Music
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J. Hawkins: A General History of the Science and Practice of Music (London, 1776)
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