From imagination to improvisation to realization: a study of pieces by four composers

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Adam Micah Ward (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
William Carroll

Abstract: The purpose of this research was to examine a representative portion of organ repertoire that was initially improvised and later written or transcribed for organists to study and perform. The pieces examined were Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Fantasia and Fugue in G minor” (BWV 542), Louis Vierne’s Trois Improvisations pour Grand Orgue, Gerre Hancock’s “Fantasy on ‘St. Denio’” and Charles Tournemire’s Improvisation sur le “Te Deum” from his Cinq Improvisations. Each piece was examined for its value as having been improvised before it was published. In the case of the Bach and the Hancock, the pieces were improvised and later written by the composer. In the case of Tournemire and Vierne, the pieces were “reconstituted” by Maurice Duruflé from recordings made by the organists themselves. Representative information about each composer or improvisateur was collected and studied with reference to their philosophies regarding improvisation and this was used to analyze the pieces themselves. The final outcome of this research was a lecture recital of each of the pieces using the research as a way of informing the performance. The recital included information about the way each improvisateur constructed their improvisations and about how each improvisation came to be put in print.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2009
Improvisation, Lecture, Recital
Improvisation (Music)
Improvisation (Music) $x Instruction and study.
Organ (Musical instrument)
Organ music, Arranged.

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