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Jazzology: An Encyclopedia of Jazz Theory for all Musicians
Rawlins, Robert; Bahha, Nor Eddine

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Eugene Friesen: Improvisation for Classical Musicians

Improvisation for Classical Musicians. Friesen, Eugene

Improvisation for Classical Musicians


Eugene Friesen

Publisher Berklee Press
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Improvisation for Classical Musicians: Strategies for Creativity and Expression

Learn the creative mindset and technical tools necessary for improvisation. These concepts and exercises will help you to discover a deeper source of music making, a greater quality of authenticity, and a discernable change in sound, phrasing and commitment to your performances of written music. You will learn to play by ear, apply musical theory to your instrument, and engage creatively with the elements of music, giving you a long menu of musical options. The accompanying recording includes demonstration and play-along tracks.

You will learn:

  • tools to connect melodic imagination to your instrument, with an enhanced sense of physicality
  • how to use scales, chords, modes, progressions, and other structures in your improvisation
  • a broad rhythm vocabulary
  • improvisation techniques for standard progressions, such as blues and II V's to create richer lines by using approach notes, neighbor tones, and embellishments into an improvised melodic line

Eugene Friesen is active internationally as a cellist, composer, teacher, and recording artist. A graduate of the Yale School of Music, he has performed widely with the Delos String Quartet, the multiple Grammy-winning Paul Winter Consort, Trio Globo (Friesen, Howard Levy, and Glen Velez), and as a soloist and clinician. He is a professor at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

"So many of us classically trained musicians are intimidated—even terrified—at the idea of making music without a score. Eugene Friesen, master cellist, improviser, and pedagogue, demystifies the tools in a well-structured, empathetic guide that not only opens the doors to greater personal creativity and collaboration, making music in the moment, but also opens the ears to a deeper insight into the interpretation of a centuries-old tradition. Without losing the sense of wonder and transcendence that music can achieve, Eugene Friesen breaks down and simplifies the basic components of improvisation. This invaluable resource is an important contribution to the evolving curriculum of classical music education in the 21st century." —Matt Haimovitz, Grammy-nominated cellist, professor of cello at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University "One of the great joys of being an improvising violinist, beyond the obvious immediate gratification garnered onstage, is the chance to share your craft with the many string players who play so beautifully in the European classical tradition yet relish the chance to get off the page. Given how hard it is to put into words, much less the printed page, it is natural to yearn for materials that can be of use. In this regard I feel this book is destined to be a classic in the field, because it so elegantly pinpoints the essential elements necessary for undertaking such a challenging journey without being trapped in any one stylistic framework."

—David Balakrishnan, founding violinist with the Grammy-award winning Turtle Island String Quartet

"Gene brings all the traits that make him a great musician, composer, and teacher to this method of teaching the art of improvisation. It is precise, humane/humorous, organized, and diverse, opening the mind and laying out techniques for improvising in whatever style the player chooses to explore. I think this is an invaluable and timeless work that will inspire classical musicians for generations to come."

—Howard Levy, multiple Grammy-award winning composer, pianist, and harmonica player; member of the Flecktones and Trio Globo

"Many accomplished musicians can play effortlessly and beautifully, but few can articulate the thoughts and processes that bring their fine playing to life. Eugene Friesen has both the musical instincts and the affection for the musical process, combined with the ability to articulate it in a straightforward and compassionate manner. He writes in a way that brings him right into the room with me, offering encouragement, support, critical fundamentals, and practical exercises and playing tools. This book is a great resource and guide for aspiring improvisers of all ages. I highly recommend it to my fellow musicians, and I know I will revisit it many times myself."

—Jeremy Cohen, multiple Grammy-nominated violinist, composer, arranger (Quartet San Francisco and Violinjazz)

(ISBN 9780876391297)