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 JOHN WOODSWORTH
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Piano improvisations
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(page updated 6 December 2006)
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improvise ['impra,vaIz] v.tr.1  compose or peform (music, etc.) extempore

extempore [Ik'stemparI]adj. & adv.  1 without preparation  2 offhand
[Latin ex tempore on the spur of the moment]

NEW:MUSIC FILES NOW IN BOTH REALPLAYER & MP3 FORMAT

NEW:TWO NEW IMPROVISATION SAMPLES ADDED (MP3 only)
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A one-time creation 

PIANO IMPROVISATIONS, unlike written musical compositions, are a one-time creation, never to be repeated in exactly the same form.  it should be remembered that any recording of them is but an attempt to capture a unique moment in the musical life of the improviser -- the expression of his feelings of that moment translated directly into sound through the piano keyboard, which is all that stands between the performer and the music itself.

Piano improvisations may be either variations on existing musical pieces or new creations arising solely from the improviser's imagination.  The two sources may even be combined in a single piece.

Except for the originals on which improvised variations are based, there is nothing rehearsed or written down, either by the improviser or by anyone else.  The thoughts and feelings expressed may be conscious or (especially with pieces not based on existing works) unconscious. 

It should also be realised that most improvisations will contain what could be regarded as musical imperfections, and so need not be judged according to usual professional standards, but rather by what gives pleasure to the listener's ear.

As it has turned out, these improvisations seem to be especially appealing to children.  Several families have told JW that their children like listening to the tape over and over again.

For a combination of piano improvisation with poetry reading, please click here.
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EXAMPLES OF JW's PIANO IMPROVISATIONS
click on underlined titles to hear in RealPlayer
NEW:OR: in MP3 format
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Variations on existing themes

NEW:Canadian Centenary Hymn (1967)
(MP3  4:41 /5.3 megs)

Improvisation on 14th-century carol melody
(RealPlayer2:09/1.6 megs)

NEW:Improvisation on 14th-century carol melody
(MP3  2:09/2.4 megs)

Improvisation on Russian folk-tune Èkh-dorogi!
(Oh the roads!) (RealPlayer 5:18/3.9 megs)

NEW:Improvisation on Russian folk-tune Èkh-dorogi!
(Oh the roads!) (MP3 5:18/6 megs)

Improvisation on traditional folk tune
I will give my love an apple(RealPlayer 4:29/3.3 megs)

NEW:Improvisation on traditional folk tune
I will give my love an apple(MP3 4:29/5.1 megs)
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New creations

NEW:Russian country walk (MP3 3:21/3.8 megs)

Tulip festival meditation #1 (Real Player 2:23/1.7 megs)

NEW:Tulip festival meditation #1 (MP3 2:23/2.7 megs)

Thought crevices #2 (Real Player 2:01/1.5 megs)

NEW:Thought crevices #2 (MP3 2:01/2.3 megs)

Wildlife interludium in black #2 (Real Player 3:00/2.2 megs)

NEW:Wildlife interludium in black #2 (MP3 3:00/3.4 megs)

Dialogue of life #1 (Real Player 6:37/4.9 megs)

NEW:Dialogue of life #1 (MP3 6:37/7.5 megs)

Tracings of angels (Real Player 2:32/1.8 megs)

NEW:Tracings of angels (MP3 2:32/2.9 megs)
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Note: You can download RealPlayer (basic)
free of charge by clicking on the image immediately below.


 
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 Cassette albums produced to date
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(CDs to follow)

Enquiries from established producers/distributors welcome
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... .
'First steps' (1995) 

This 90-minute audio cassette contains 26 improvisations, comprising some 14 'new creations' as well as 12 variations on works ranging from church hymns to Russian, Canadian and other folk songs, recorded in the spring of 1995 on a Heintzman upright. 

New creations include triads (using only three notes of the piano in various octaves), which may be 'extended' beyond the triad during the piece.  Those with the word 'Black' in the title are played wholly or mostly on the black keys.  Also, some improvisations, while basically 'new', may incorporate echoes of familiar tunes.

For a complete listing of album contents click here.
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... .
'Christmas steps' (1996)

This second tape features recordings of spontaneous improvisations on twenty-three Christmas carols (including two medleys) and four original themes invented at the moment of their playing.  All pieces were played on a Heintzman upright, except for 'From a 14th-century carol melody', which was recorded on a Yamaha upright.

There is one special item on this tape (at the end of 'Side A') that is not an improvisation -- 'Classical Jingle bells' -- a look at how ten different classical composers might have written the popular holiday tune.  Devised by John Woodsworth in 1992, it has been well rehearsed, though never actually written down.  This has now been added in MP3 format, along with JW's own improvisation on the 'Jingle Bells' tune.  Click here.

For a complete listing of album contents click here.
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... .
Further recordings 

The two composite cassettes described above represent only a fraction of the recordings made by this improviser, which also include pieces inspired by the poetry of Miroslava Linda Sabbath, as published in her chapbook Detour to Paradise.  The resulting audiocassette features her poems read over the corresponding improvisations for which they served as a catalyst.  JW is currently working on combining piano improvisations with his own poetry and that of his wife Susan Keyes Woodsworth.  For audio samples of poetry-piano combinations, click here
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...
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"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you... 
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

-- John 14:27
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E-mail : <jw[at ]kanadacha.ca>
Please copy this address manually into your address bar, using the usual symbol in place of [at]
 
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