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.


This site is designed to provide a centralized repository for historical improvisation research, including articles, theses, and media files. Its aim is to facilitate further research on this topic. If you would like to collaborate, please let me know.

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