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Improvisation and Canon in Western Music

Susan McClary is Professor of Musicology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Best known for her book, Feminine Endings: Music, Gender, and Sexuality (U. Minnesota Press, 1991), she is a specialist in the cultural criticism and critical theory of music, especially in the European and Western popular canons. She has written widely on subjects like feminism, narrativity and gender issues as expressed in the European music tradition, and is an avid pianist and harpsichordist.

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Susan McClary, Professor of Musicology at the University of California, Los Angeles, discusses the history of improvisation in Western music and the shift of composed music from essentially a head chart in the 17th and 18th centuries, to a more static, score-based system in the Classical era, and ties this shift to the rise of a Western music ("Classical") canon based on older works rather than contemporary works.

Shoot Date:
November 2007
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