What is the course about?
This course is about learning to create classical cadenzas and eingangs (lead-ins), mainly in Baroque and Classical period music. You will discover more about the way classical musicians used to improvise in the past, and how it is possible to do so today in a way that is stylistically appropriate. This is a practical course in which you will listen, play, improvise, develop material and ultimately create entirely unique single-line cadenzas. Tasks will be tailored to your individual experience and playing level, and everyone will be supported and given plenty of opportunity to develop.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
The history of classical improvisation
Basic harmonic principles used in cadenzas
Baroque and Classical stylistic elements including trills, articulation and rubato
Playfulness and experimentation in your musical practice
Virtuosic and expressive playing.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
Identify and experiment with the main themes of a piece of music
Transform small units of music in various ways, including transposing and altering rhythm, dynamics and articulation
Improvise passages based on scales and arpeggios
Build small units of music into longer 4, 8 and 16-bar phrases
Collect, notate and develop your improvised ideas
Improvise and compose passages that end with strong harmonic cadences
Combine the above principles to create your own unique cadenza or eingang.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
4 years of tuition is the minimum requirement, and you need to be comfortable playing scales and arpeggios in keys of up to three sharps or flats. Prior experience of improvising would be helpful but is not essential. You need to be able to read music and to write down music in some form.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
This class will be taught online, with tutor demonstration and explanation via video conferencing. We will listen to and study some music examples. You will have the chance to play along with the tutor as well as individually, and to share your notated music. There will be some presentation of history and music theory. You may be asked to practise and/or compose between the sessions/days.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You should have a movement of a Baroque or Classical piece prepared that includes at least one opportunity for an eingang or cadenza. It doesn’t need to be at performance standard, but you should have listened to the piece many times and be able to play through it. (Contact the tutor via the Music Dept if you need advice on this, and please email a PDF of your piece to the tutor in advance).
You should also have either (manuscript) paper and pencil or music notation software (such as MuseScore or Sibelius) to be able to write down your ideas. A device on which you can record your improvisations (such as a smartphone) would be helpful.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You may also be interested in improvising in classical instrumental music.
More opportunities to study improvisation may come along. This short course is a supplement to the general instrumental programme.
A follow-up course.