Finally it is there, my e-pub on improvisation and complex systems. And … thanks to Leiden University Press and the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts, it is for free as well.

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The central aim of this e-pub is to present a new approach to “the field of musical improvisation” (FMI), a theory which understands improvisation as a nonlinear dynamic and complex system. The study provocatively argues that during an improvisation more actants are “at work” than musicians alone: space, acoustics, instruments, audience, technicians, musical and socio-cultural backgrounds, technology, and the like all play a significant role. However, not all of these actants determine every improvisation to the same extent; some are more prominent and active than others in certain situations (periods, styles, cultures, as well as more singular circumstances). Therefore, the FMI theory will prove to be more than a theory dealing with improvisation “in general.” Rather, FMI emphasizes singularity: each improvisation thus yields a different network of actants and interactions, a unique configuration or assembly.


It is startlingly original in so much as it brings a philosophical/social understanding to the field of musical improvisation. I’ve not really encountered a work that does this so imaginatively and thoroughly. Indeed – reading the work – I think the whole manuscript is one wonderful set of improvisations – and as such works very well. Michael Bull Professor of Sound Studies at the University of Sussex

Marcel Cobussen offers a concise and compelling account of musical improvisation that spans – and at times transgresses – conventional notions of musical genre and academic discipline. A wonderful approach that leverages the multimodal aspects of improvisation and of learning in general. Bravo! David Borgo Professor of Music at UC San Diego