Improvisational mistakes

British Journal of Aesthetics (forthcoming)
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Abstract

This paper discusses mistakes that occur in improvised musical performance. I first develop a couple of distinctions that are useful to understand the varied nature of such mistakes. Particularly, I think that it is important to distinguish mistakes that depend upon formal features of the music, and mistakes that are such in virtue of a failure of the performer’s intentions. Within this latter category, I argue that it is useful to distinguish between two different layers of performance intentions. Subsequently, I discuss the idea that, in improvised performance, mistakes are not merely tolerated but are, in some sense, valuable, showing how the distinction I develop can shed some light on these issues.

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Matteo Ravasio
Peking University

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References found in this work

On musical improvisation.Philip Alperson - 1984 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 43 (1):17-29.
The art of improvisation and the aesthetics of imperfection.A. Hamilton - 2000 - British Journal of Aesthetics 40 (1):168-185.

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