How Jazz Musicians Improvise

  • Norgaard M
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Abstract

This article defends the view that theories of creativity should be com- putable and that only three sorts of algorithm can be creative. It pro- poses a central principle of algorithmic demands for jazz improvisation: a division of labor in terms of computational power occurs between the creation of chord sequences for improvisation and the creation of me- lodic improvisations in real time. An algorithm for producing chord se- quences must be computationally powerful, that is, it calls for a working memory or a notation of intermediate results. Improvisation depends on the ability to extemporize new melodies that fit the chord sequence. The corresponding algorithm must operate rapidly in real time, and so it mini- mizes the computational load on working memory. The principle of al- gorithmic demands is supported by analysis and a computer model. M

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Authors

  • Martin Norgaard

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