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Fantasies of Improvisation – Free Playing in Nineteenth-Century Music - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Fantasies of Improvisation: Free Playing in Nineteenth-Century Music

Dana Gooley


This book is the first history of keyboard improvisation in European music in the postclassical and romantic periods (c. 1815–1870). Grounded in primary sources, it documents practices of improvisation on the piano and the organ, with a particular emphasis on free fantasies and other forms of free playing. Case studies of performers such as Abbé Vogler, J. N. Hummel, Ignaz Moscheles, Robert Schumann, Carl Loewe, and Franz Liszt describe in detail the motives, intentions, and musical styles of the nineteenth century’s leading improvisers. The book further discusses the reception and valuation o ... More

Keywords: improvisation, free fantasy, romanticism, postclassical, keyboard, piano, organ

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780190633585
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190633585.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Dana Gooley, author
Associate Professor of Music, Brown University