Review: Coursera Introduction to Improvisation

The concluding week of Gary Burton’s Introduction to Improvisation course dealt primarily with thematic development. Throughout the course, Burton emphasized the role of the improviser as a storyteller, considering the solo as a logical narrative. To assist in realizing this conception, he also presents a method of analysis that focuses on determining the mood, demeanor, and intent of the tune. As an improviser, it is the player’s role to interpret the tune, highlighting the unique and creative aspects embedded by the composer.

To demonstrate these concepts, Week 5 consisted of two improvisations, one on a standard Blues, and the other an interpretation of Carla Bley’s “Olhos de Gato.”

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