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Improvisation, Technology, and Representation

Karl Coulthard

Published: 2010-05-18

TEXT: A mis-recorded live performance by Duke Ellington at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1956 is used as an entryway into a discussion of how technology mediates and creates representations of music. Detailed suggestions for further reading are also included at the end of the article. AUDIO: Two versions of the recording demonstrate the effects of technological mediation in sound recording.

Available Files

  • improvisation_technology_representation.pdf

    148 KB | application/pdf

  • 01_Festival_Junction_-_Studio_Version.m4a

    1 MB | audio/mp4

  • 02_Festival_Junction_-_Live_Version.m4a

    1 MB | audio/mp4


Improvisation is, simply put, being and living this very moment. No one can hide in music, and improvising in music is to be truly in this very moment and being completely yourself, with all your qualities and faults. It is probably the most honest state for a human being to be in.

– John McLaughlin in an interview with Daniel Fischlin.