My improv designs provide a structure for free-style improvisation. They usually have some musical material and an outline describing the progress of the improvisation. I offer them to you to play with and reinterpret however the ideas strike you.
Download these free improv designs. Then I invite you to sign up for my mailing list so you can hear about more music.
20 Improv Ideas e-course
Improvisation Designs to Download
The Hills Sing the Old Songs (2008) Download
A set of old American tunes, all in the same key, with instructions for various ways of combining and accompanying them. A leader could help shape the music, but attentive improvisers could still shape these tunes into an interesting collage.
The Heathen Horns performed The Hills Sing the Old Songs on July 12, 2008. Our stage was on the front porch of the library in the hill town of Heath in western Massachusetts, at an improv workshop for horn players offered by John Clark and Jeffrey Agrell.
Dialog Among Tree Frogs Variations (2010) Download
I love the idea of frog music. My travels to Costa Rica and south Florida inspire me to build nature sounds into my musical creations.
With melodic material taken from my Dialog Among Tree Frogs duet, the Variations are led a conductor who shapes the players' music-making. The musicians imitate frogs and create duets of the melodic material, with a different texture in each variation.
The PDF includes large-print instructions, the musical source material in several transpositions, as well as the original duet in several transpositions. Each musician needs 2 pages: instructions and an appropriately transposed page of musical material.
In performance, you could perform the duet before the Variations. The duet was originally for two horns, but could be played on any pair of instruments, with appropriate octave transpositions.
An ensemble of 10 musicians played Dialog Among Tree Frogs, duet and Variations, on January 31, 2010 at the Lexington Music Club annual public concert.
Mountain (2012) Download
Inspired by a trip to the Italian Dolomites. One or more soloists improvises over a texture of bells and shakers.
I performed Mountain as a horn improv with audience members playing bells and shakers at the Lexington Music Club in 2012.
Phrase by Phrase (2012) Download
Musically notated statements, comments, and punctuation are the musical material. Instructions indicate statement players, commenters and punctuators react to the material of the others.
I created Phrase by Phrase for Junk Kitchen concert #6 - "Really, Really New Music" on June 23, 2012. The series' producers are Ben Dicke and Esther Viola Kurtz.
Réactions en Masse (2015) Download
This colorful graphic score is a series of textured blue blocks indicating blocks of sound alternating between two groups.
I created Réactions en Masse for the Les Amis de l'Orgue de Montréal. Their chorus and organist, with a conductor, performed it in April 2015.
Friday Morning Fugue (2015) Download
A fugue theme and accompaniment figures, to be played by a small number of people in a fugal style, with lots of imitation.
Shaylor Lindsay, piano, Karl Henning, clarinet, and Pamela Marshall, horn, played Friday Morning Fugue, twice through, at the Lexington Music Club concert on October 12, 2015.