Jasna Jovicevic

Higher School for Educators and Faculty for Media and Communications, Serbia

Free Music Improvisation as a Collaborative Creative Event

Free music improvisation is a group performing art practice, which activates new possibilities of non-verbal communication among the participants, in a collaborative music event. Instead of being focused on the creation of music as a composed form, it is based on the fluid process of spontaneous interaction. The effect is caused by the egalitarian interdependent relationship, articulating the expression of musical experience through affective modality. From my personal point of view as an improviser, I will here explore the sociological characteristics of the inner dialogue and the interactive process of creating the event. Many of these elements are responsible for the transformative meaning of the musical content, as well as for the state of unpredictability during the process. A short chronological overview of the development of improvisation, from be-bop’s era to the practice of free improvised music, will show how the discourse of interaction changes, setting the performing event of improvisation into a different use.
Through the analysis of two different types of music improvisational discursive practices; idiomatic-jazz standards, and non-idiomatic-free music improvisation, I will present the differences in their process of creation and their interpretation. I will compare their role of the author and the concept of “musical piece”, analyzing through open work theory, the theory of instant creation, collaborative event, and the theory of affection according to Deleuze . The structured form of the jazz standard, works as a dispositive that has become a homogeneous network of discourses, with established parameters and procedural improvisation. In this way, the meaning of the given music content is determined and predictable, receptive and easy to follow. Joint creation demands a clear division of roles and tasks in the performance of the composition.
On the other side, free improvised music loses the roles such as composer, soloist or accompanying sections (rhythm section). Creation of a ritual and a structured form of conceptual music content are avoided. Spontaneous production, interactive sound marking of each gesture and affect, redirects the individual experience of participants, into collective flow of unpredictability and accidental, in its transformative projected time and space. In such an environment, the musical text does not have a specific meaning, but is flexible and changeable in relation to affective communication. For the last fifty years, since this practice has been used, several types of techniques of spontaneous composing, and extended instrumental techniques have been sparkled. “Ad Hoc” or already existing group, are two types of collaborative formations that indicate different models of interactive communication. I will shortly argue how diversity and the anti-aesthetics in artistic expression of free improvised music, made the reception of this practice remain marginalized.

Keywords: free music improvisation; collaborative arts; performing event.


Jasna Jovicevic graduated from “Franc Liszt” Music Academy in Budapest, Jazz saxophone performance and teaching, received MA in Music Composition from York University in Toronto. Currently, she is enrolled in Doctoral Transdisciplinary Studies in Contemporary Arts and Media in Belgrade, focusing on free improvised music. She studied and won the grants to many Artist in Residency programs in New York, San Francisco, Banff, Graz, Brazil and Spain, as well as competitions in Milan, Budapest and Ljubljana. Jasna performed her original work around Europe, USA and Canada on many national and international festivals. “Invented Reality”, “The Sound of Birds”, “Travellers”-Dharma, and “Flow Vertical” published with British label FMR Records, are her solo albums. She teaches music and music methodology on University level, leads NGO projects in non-formal education and female artists’ affirmation. She is a yoga teacher, inventor of multidisciplinary approach in improvised art practices.