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Contingent Encounters: Improvisation in Music and Everyday Life

by Dan DiPiero

University of Michigan Press, 2022


Cloth: 978-0-472-13315-4

Paper: 978-0-472-03919-7

eISBN: 978-0-472-90311-5

About the Book
Contingent Encounters offers a sustained comparative study of improvisation as it appears between music and everyday life. Drawing on work in musicology, cultural studies, and critical improvisation studies, as well as his own performing experience, Dan DiPiero argues that comparing improvisation across domains calls into question how improvisation is typically recognized. By comparing the music of Eric Dolphy, Norwegian free improvisers, Mr. K, and the Ingrid Laubrock/Kris Davis duo with improvised activities in everyday life (such as walking, baking, working, and listening), DiPiero concludes that improvisation appears as a function of any encounter between subjects, objects, and environments. Bringing contingency into conversation with the utopian strain of critical improvisation studies, DiPiero shows how particular social investments cause improvisation to be associated with relative freedom, risk-taking, and unpredictability in both scholarship and public discourse. Taking seriously the claim that improvisation is the same thing as living, Contingent Encounters overturns long-standing assumptions about the aesthetic and political implications of this notoriously slippery term.
About the Author
Dan DiPiero is an Assistant Professor of Music Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
“Dan DiPiero molds a convincing narrative and provides the theoretical groundwork for future studies of improvisation. This is a bold undertaking that melds two worlds (the musical and the social) often segregated in scholarship.”
—David Arditi, University of Texas at Arlington
— David Arditi

Improvisation, Contingency (Philosophy), Improvisation in art, Music, Political aspects, History & Criticism, Performing Arts, Philosophy
Open Access Information

License: CC BY-NC-ND