Hidden principles of improvisation

Jacques Coursil


On the basis of the principle of non-premeditation of speech, we argue that the synchronicity of hearing shared by everybody present is incompatible with a division of time between a sender and a receiver of a message. The act of speech brings the participants together in a single moment of perception called a synchronous point. Both the act of speech and music do not appear through time; rather, speech and music create time. The present time of our casual experience always contains a part of radical novelty, probable a posteriori, yet never predicted. Despite our capacity to predict many things and repeat procedures, in the advent of a given moment, the present will always show its uniqueness. Thus, improvisation is based on two principles of uncertainty: the non-premeditated occurrence of speech and the non-predicted part of present time.


creativity; musical semiotics; non-premeditation of speech; semiotics of novelty; specious present; synchronous point

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12697/SSS.2015.43.2-3.05

SIGN SYSTEMS STUDIES. ISSN 1406-4243 (print), 1736-7409 (online). E-mail: sss@ut.ee. Postal address: Sign Systems Studies, Dept. of Semiotics, University of Tartu, Jakobi St. 2, 51014 Tartu, Estonia