Category Archives: Daily Improv

Return of the Daily Improvisation

For a year starting in 2006, I recorded an improvisation every day and posted it on this blog. But I since moved from my own server to WordPress.com, and had nowhere to put my recordings, and I stopped.

I remember how much I enjoyed that and how much it helped to improve my improvisational skills, since it was more than sitting down and letting my fingers move. It encouraged me to develop a theme, and to give a song a beginning, middle, and end. So I have decided to start them up again, posting on YouTube where they will hopefully have more permanence. People who are interested can subscribe to my YouTube channel, and the Planet Haskell RSS feed can remain lean and on-topic.

I really enjoy playing these. I hope you enjoy listening to them.

My Daily Improvisation YouTube Channel

Free Improvisation

The Anygma office had a MIDI keyboard lying around. Today I was hanging around at the office, and in my boredom I decided to look for the parts necessary to hook it up. A half hour later, I had a piano set up!

I haven’t played for two weeks, so this is a little rusty, but it’s okay. A 25 minute free improvisation. I also extracted the middle section which I thought was the strongest in case 25 minutes is too much. I’m actually quite fond of the latter.

Oh yeah, this was an interesting exercise, too, since this keyboard doesn’t have a sustain pedal.

Orson Scott Card Improvs

Last week I picked up a book of short stories by Orson Scott Card. Two of them (so far) have inspired improvisations:

  • The Maker (from “Unaccompanied Sonata”)
  • Songbird (from “Mikal’s Songbird”)

The Maker is an uptempo and very dissonant, built on augmented chords and a random alternating bassline.

Songbird is one of the most complex pieces I have improvised so far. It is harmonious (it stays diatonically in one scale almost the whole time), but there are at least three voices that I can identify. While improvising this one, I kept thinking to myself that I should end it soon before I mess up, because I can’t keep up the complexity… but I didn’t. I just kept going until the song wanted to end. In my opinion, this is one of my best improvs to date.

Oh, I should say something about “Mikal’s Songbird”. This is a jewel of Orson Scott Card’s work: great story, beautifully written, captivating to read. I highly recommend it.