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The Wayne State University improvisation chamber ensemble was organized in 1966 by Dr. Ruth Wylie. The group was originally conceived as a teaching aid but soon it was receiving enthusiastic reactions from concert audiences during the past year Dr. Wiley's Chamber Ensemble has performed in several states and an entirely new idiom of musical performance has been developed by the performances still maintain their experimental character. Now I'm here with tonight's programme of improvisation is Professor Ruth Wylie of Wayne State University. Thank you and good evening. We started out experimenting with various kinds of graphic notation. And originally we began with. Using words and abbreviations which signified such musical effects as baseline counterpoint melodic line themes subordinate theme at cetera ostinato different terms that have musical meaning of an obvious nature to those of us who are who are performing. But it turned out that in this kind of notation we had to have such a
large list of abbreviations that we were spending most of our time looking back at the key to the abbreviations and it took us quite a while before we could be natural and free in the improvising. From that point on we began to refine more and more. The kind of notation that we used and it became more and more graphic and more and more immediately visual and we used fewer and fewer words and sentences and phrases and so on. We make vertical lines which divide important sections. We use little vertical rectangles to indicate short chords on the piano or short chords with all of the grouped together and little open rectangles indicate a chord of a longer nature a longer duration. We do put dynamic markings in as you would in music normally and to some extent we indicate with wavy lines. When we want a melodic line and what part of the register we want the instrument to play and
using a horizontal line is a sort of middle ground of the instrumental range and as the contour of the wavy line gets higher or lower we loosely follow it. And it it does give us some control as composers it gives us some control over the contour of the melodic lines that we are playing. We have various other special effects too and one of our main difficulties in the notational plan of course is to give cues from one instrument to another as to when that player will will drop out. And when you come back in again and we have learned to use our chord indications pretty much for this kind of purpose but in some cases its necessary for one or more of the performers to give a nod and an actual physical cue that we all know to look for. Mostly though we do right in the queue. This is something particular that we listen for as for example a particular stroke on one of the bells or three drum beats this sort of thing. Otherwise. Sometimes we have thematic
material that we work with sometimes we do not. Well I'll be talking more later about the notation. And I thought perhaps this might be a little enlightening to you. As I say they're quite pretty to look at with these little vertical boxes and the horizontal lines in the wavy lines and little dots for the percussion and so on. And we are so used to them now that we can read off them pretty well but our first couple of rehearsals we are paying more attention to the notation and we can become increasingly free as we proceed and grow more familiar with the plant. Well we're going to do first one of these structured pieces and then if there's any time left over we will do a free improvisation for you. Before we finish out the program I would like again to remind you that we
have some of our structural design plans available which you may have upon request if you will mail a self-addressed stamped envelope to music w d e t 5 0 3 5 Woodward Detroit. 4 8 2 0 2. 0. Right.
Why. Rule.
1. Why.
Wow. Right.
Wrong wrong. Wrong. Wrong. To fill in the rest of the dime on this program we're going to do two short free improvisation for
you. And there will be a short pause between the two. So now we will do the first of these improvisations for you. Oh. Oh. That was Professor Ruth Wiley with the Wayne State University improvisation Chamber
Ensemble. If you wish information on this group and samples of the design plans for several of the improvisations send fifteen cents in stamps to music FM 5 0 3 5 Woodward Avenue Detroit 4 8 2 0 2. This program was produced for national educational radio by FM Wayne State University Detroit. The engineers Charles Nairn and David Pierce producer are on hood. This is the national educational radio network.
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Improvisation Chamber Ensemble
Episode Number
Producing Organization
Wayne State University
WDET (Radio station : Detroit, Mich.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program features live improvisational music, as well as a spoken introduction by Ruth Shaw Wylie.
Series Description
Series of performances by Wayne State U. Improvisation Chamber Ensemble, which was organized in 1966 by Dr. Ruth Shaw Wylie, as an experiment in teaching contemporary techniques to advanced composition students. Refer also to blue spiral book under 67-29.
Media type
Performing Group: Improvisation Chamber Ensemble
Producing Organization: Wayne State University
Producing Organization: WDET (Radio station : Detroit, Mich.)
Speaker: Wylie, Ruth Shaw
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-29-12 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:26:38
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Chicago: “Improvisation Chamber Ensemble; 12,” 1967-08-25, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 30, 2023,
MLA: “Improvisation Chamber Ensemble; 12.” 1967-08-25. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 30, 2023. <>.
APA: Improvisation Chamber Ensemble; 12. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from