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The Philosophy of Improvisation Paperback – May 1, 2009

4 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Gary Peters draws on many sources to construct a model of improvisation that is true to the experience as attested by artists and yet escapes the criticisms that various theorists have leveled against the idea of improvisation. Laced with bits of humor, satire, and irony, this is a work of considerable imagination."-John Sallis, Boston College

"The Philosophy of Improvisation is like Lewis Hyde's The Gift; it is a book that academics and general readers will find both stimulating and enjoyable. It is a prodigious rethinking of the philosophical problem of improvisation, which brings together an impressive range of thinkers-Adorno, Deleuze, Derrida, Heidegger and Levinas, among others-but does so with a light touch. It is a terrific book."-Ian Buchanan, Cardiff University

About the Author

Gary Peters is chair of critical and cultural theory at York St. John University and the author of Irony and Singularity: Aesthetic Education from Kant to Levinas.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (December 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226662799
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226662794
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,223,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"The Philosophy of Improvisation" articulately explores the nature of improvisation through a detailed, meticulous, and contemporary observation by Gary Peters who draws on modernist perspectives from Heidegger, Hegel, and other fastidious accounts from various philosophers to formulate an original ensemble of food for thought. This arduous work offers the reader a strenuous and rather puzzling experience working to dissect the analogies, metaphors, and parallels only to arrive at a humble and complacent sense of accomplishment and attainment, realizing that the struggle endured during the reading is the very nature and essence of improvisation in which Gary Peters culminates his position. He wittingly has the reader "working" at finding meaning within his carefully structured piece, only to find that the very meaning and essence of improvisation is the working embedded within - the experience that one has endured in reading this piece is the necessary component Peters purposefully has us cope with to arrive at a state of humbled satisfaction. A bit dry at times with a heavy emphasis on certain philosophical ideas (do your research!), I think this book is definitely something to get the clocks ticking upstairs and get that electricity working if you're concerned with improvisation. I read this book in 2 weeks for a course entitled Philosophy and Creativity, and I'm looking forward to delving deeper into it a second time to see what I've missed the first time.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I did not like this book at first glance. It seemed that it was a bit difficult and wordy. I have changed my tune dramatically because as I read along I found that the author has successfully guided my thoughts into thinking more creatively.

Improvisation is all about creativity and this book gets the mind going in the right direction. By the end of the book your mind is ready to explode...in a good way.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Found this a little disappointing at first. If you are looking for another "Improvisation, its nature and practice in Music" by Derek Bailey, "Perpetual Frontier" by Joe Morris, "Free Play" by Stephen Nachmanovitch, "Effortless Mastery" by Kenny Werner, "No sound is innocent" by Edwin Prevost, or "Time Will Tell: Conversations With Paul Bley", by Norman Meehan, this will not be the book for you. I do not know why, because I believe that like all the aforementioned authors, Gary Peters, is himself a musician, but this book does not function like those other books at all. It is not just the academic level of the writing in the Peters' work either. In fact, the Edwin Prevost masterpiece, "No Sound is Innocent," is a very curious academic work indeed, that somehow fits in the company of Werners's "Effortless Mastery", which is a deeply personal, self-help book in many ways.

Why is this? I think it is because these quoted improvisation "classics" are all books of extreme musical inspiration and the Gary Peters' book is not designed like this at all. It is the product of a professor first I suspect, musician second, and is much more austere in nature . However, it is still a very worthwhile read and I suspect that it may be a book that will improve with further reading. Perhaps the reality is that I need to improve my philosophy base more to compete with Peters.

To conclude; this is a book firstly for philosophers who may or may not be musicians, while the other books I have mentioned are for improvising musicians, who by definition are almost always philosophers.
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