1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy and Improvisation in the Arts

Edited By Alessandro Bertinetto, Marcello Ruta Copyright 2021
    756 Pages 44 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    756 Pages 44 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Over the last few decades, the notion of improvisation has enriched and dynamized research on traditional philosophies of music, theatre, dance, poetry, and even visual art. This Handbook offers readers an authoritative collection of accessible articles on the philosophy of improvisation, synthesizing and explaining various subjects and issues from the growing wave of journal articles and monographs in the field.  Its 48 chapters, written specifically for this volume by an international team of scholars, are accessible for students and researchers alike. 

    The volume is organized into four main sections:
    I Art and Improvisation: Theoretical Perspectives
    II Art and Improvisation: Aesthetical, Ethical, and Political Perspectives
    III Improvisation in Musical Practices
    IV Improvisation in the Visual, Narrative, Dramatic, and Interactive Arts

    Key Features:

    • Treats improvisation not only as a stylistic feature, but also as an aesthetic property of artworks and performances as well as a core element of artistic creativity.
    • Spells out multiple aspects of the concept of improvisation, emphasizing its relevance in understanding the nature of art.
    • Covers improvisation in a wide spectrum of artistic domains, including unexpected ones such as literature, visual arts, games, and cooking.
    • Addresses key questions, such as:
      - How can improvisation be defined and what is its role in different art forms?
      - Can improvisation be perceived as such, and how can it be aesthetically evaluated?
      - What is the relationship between improvisation and notions such as action, composition, expressivity, and authenticity?
      - What is the ethical and political significance of improvisation?

    Alessandro Bertinetto and Marcello Ruta

    Part I: Art and Improvisation: Theoretical Perspectives

    1. Improvisation as Normative Practice
    Georg W. Bertram

    2. Improvisation as Resonance
    Giovanni Matteucci

    3. Improvisation as Creative Performance
    Caterina Moruzzi

    4. Material and Improvisation in the Formative Process
    Robert T. Valgenti

    5. Ontology of Improvisation and Jazz
    Daniel Martin Feige

    6. Improvisation and Orientation
    Marcello Ruta

    7. Improvisation and Action Theory
    Claus Beisbart

    8. Improvisation, Actions, and Processes
    Pierre Saint-Germier and Clément Canonne

    9. Rethinking the Realtimeness in Improvisation
    Sara Ramshaw

    Part II: Art and Improvisation: Aesthetical, Ethical, and Political Perspectives

    10. Appreciating Improvisations as Art
    David Davies

    11. Transformative Aesthetics: When the Unforeseen Emerges
    Erika Fischer-Lichte

    12. Improvisation as Spontaneous Creation versus "Making Do"
    Andy Hamilton

    13. Improvisation as Aesthetic Appearance
    Christoph Haffter

    14. The Expressivity of Musical Improvisation
    Philip Alperson

    15. Jazz Improvisation, Authenticity, and Self-Expression
    Garry L. Hagberg

    16. Manyness in Music Improvisation
    Franziska Schroeder

    17. Forms of Improvisation and Experimentalism
    Daniele Goldoni

    18. Improvisational Phronesis
    Bruce Ellis Benson

    19. Improvisation’s Ethical and Epistemological Challenge
    Randy Fertel

    20. Street Art and the Politics of Improvisation
    Andrea Lorenzo Baldini

    21. Improvisation and Political Emancipation
    Matthieu Saladin

    Part III: Improvisation in Musical Practices

    22. Competing Ontologies of Musical Improvisation: A Medieval Perspective
    Uri Smilansky and Marc Lewon

    23. Improvisation and Essential Ornamentation in Vocal Music (1600–1900)
    Livio Marcaletti

    24. Freedom and Form in Piano Improvisation in the Early 19th Century
    Katrin Eggers and Michael Lehner

    25. Improvisation and Authenticity in Early 20th Century Western Music
    Andrew Wilson

    26. Improvisation and Composition: A Schoenbergian View
    Sabine Feisst

    27. Repeatability versus Unrepeatability in Free Improvisation
    Thomas Gartmann

    28. The Risk of Improvised Music: An Ethnographic Approach
    Tom Arthurs

    29. Empathy in Improvisation
    Deniz Peters

    30. Improvisation in Pop-Rock Music
    Stefano Marino

    31. "Improvisation" in Play: A View Through South Indian Music Practices
    Lara Pearson

    32. Improvisation in Arab Musical Practices
    Ali Jihad Racy

    Part IV: Improvisation in the Visual, Narrative, Dramatic, and Interactive Arts

    33. Dance Improvisation as Experimental Inquiry
    Eric C. Mullis

    34. The Springs of Action in Butō Improvisation
    Carla Bagnoli

    35. Stage Improvisation in the Commedia dell’Arte
    Domenico Pietropaolo

    36. Performance Art and Improvisation
    Dieter Mersch

    37. Improvisation, Stand-up, and Comedy
    Clément Canonne

    38. Improvisation, Machines, Cinema
    Gilles Mouëllic

    39. Improvisation and Poetry
    Rob Wallace

    40. Improvisation in Painting
    Alessandro Bertinetto and Marcello Ruta

    41. Improvisation in Sculpture
    Alice Iacobone

    42. Improvisation and Artistic Photography
    Alessandro Bertinetto

    43. Improvisation and Installation Art
    Elisa Caldarola

    44. Installed Improvisation: The Case of Erwin Redl
    Edgar Landgraf

    45. Improvisation in Design Processes
    Annika Frye

    46. Urban Improvisations
    Paola Berenstein Jacques

    47. Improvisation in Cooking and Tasting
    Nicola Perullo

    48.Creativity and Improvisation in Games
    C. Thi Nguyen


    Alessandro Bertinetto is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Turin in Italy and coordinator of ART–Aesthetics Research Turin (Philosophical Seminar). He has been an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow and a member of the Executive Committee of the European Society for Aesthetics. His most recent books are Eseguire l’inatteso. Ontologia della musica e improvvisazione (2016) and Estetica dell’improvvisazione (2021).

    Marcello Ruta studied music (classical piano) in Milan and Trieste and obtained his PhD in philosophy in 2010 at the University of Strasbourg and his Habilitation in 2017 at the University of Bern. He is the author of Schopenhauer et Schelling, philosophes du temps et de l’éternité (2014) and co-editor (with Alessandro Arbo) of Ontologie musicale: perspectives et débats (2014).

    "Practically everyone who has lately thought theoretically about improvisation has contributed to this volume, and just about everything one ever wanted to know about improvisation but dared not hope to see answered is here addressed. Suffice it to say that the editors have here done an incalculable service to this burgeoning field of research."
    Jerrold Levinson, University of Maryland