Derek Bailey’s term “non-idiomatic improvisation” ... does encapsulate the general ideology of improvisation that I encountered while living in London, as it represents an ideal that improvisers seem to strive for. Specifically, the improvisers I interviewed tended to conceive of their work as: fundamentally different in approach and materials from other improvisatory musical traditions; experimental in the pursuit of new sounds and ensemble relationship; and an act of resistance against the repressive tendencies of capitalism, as they manifest through mainstream popular culture. This way of thinking about improvisation results in performances that feature few instances of recognizable rhythmic patterns, tonal centres, or repeated melodic phrases; when these do occur it is only briefly, as references or allusions rather than attempts to create within the boundaries of a defined idiomatic context. This distinct lack of the basic structures that constitute the majority of other Western musics distinguishes the improvisatory practices I researched from those that are more inclusive of references to other musics.

Johnston, Peter (2009): Fields of Production and Streams of Consciousness: Negotiating the Musical and Social Practices of Improvised Music. PhD, York University Toronto, Ontario, p.40-41. Downloaded 1.August 2020 from

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