Improvisation was a basic skill practiced by every choirboy during the Renaissance. [...] Improvised polyphony was everywhere in the Renaissance. [...] Canguilhem (2011, 99) estimates that “the vast majority” of the polyphony heard in Philip II’s chapel in sixteenth-century Spain was improvised. In earlier centuries the amount might have been even higher. The composed polyphony that comes down to us was a small fraction of the musical landscape. This realization transforms our sense of the past.”

—Julie E. Cumming, Renaissance Improvisation and Musicology.


My aim with this site is to further facilitate research on this topic by collecting here, for easy reference, any relevant information about historical improvisation: articles, theses, and media files. Please let me know if you’d like to collaborate.

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