Top Improvisation Quotes

Browse top 81 famous quotes and sayings about Improvisation by most favorite authors.

Favorite Improvisation Quotes

1. "Negro music and culture are intrinsically improvisational, existential. Nothing is sacred. After a decade, a musical idea, no matter how innovative, is threatened."
Author: Archie Shepp
2. "The swing of his nature took him from extreme languor to devouring energy; and as I knew well, he was never so truly formidable as when, for days on end, he had been lounging in his armchair amid his improvisations and his black-letter editions. Then it was that the lust of the chase would suddenly come upon him, and that his brilliant reasoning power would rise to the level of intuition, until those who were unacquainted with his methods would look askance at him as on a man whose knowledge was not that of other mortals. When I saw him that afternoon so enwrapped in the music of St. James's Hall I felt that an evil time might be coming upon those whom he had set himself to hunt down."
Author: Arthur Conan Doyle
3. "Everything can happen, everything is possible and probable. Time and place do not exist; on a significant bases of reality, the imagination spins, weaving new patterns; a mixture of memories, experiences, free fancies, incongruities and improvisations."
Author: August Strindberg
4. "Craig Nelson who is an actor and is in a show called Coach in the United States. We began to do some improvisational stuff and we used to get laughs and things."
Author: Barry Levinson
5. "Jazz is all about improvisation and it's about the moment in time, doing it this way now, and you'll never do it this way twice. I've studied the masters. Why would I want to play ball after the guys who sit on a bench? I want to play like Michael Jordan."
Author: Brian McKnight
6. "There's nothing that makes you so aware of the improvisation of human existence as a song unfinished. Or an old address book."
Author: Carson McCullers
7. "I started improvisation at age nine, and I loved it so much I stuck with it. As a by-product, acting was just something I was lucky enough to fall into."
Author: Cassie Steele
8. "With improvisation, I just do it. It might be a total failure but then you just throw the dice again."
Author: Christian Marclay
9. "The real origin of the democratic spirit - and most likely, many democratic institutions - lies precisely in those spaces of improvisation just outside the control of governments and organized churches."
Author: David Graeber
10. "Give two cooks the same ingredients and the same recipe; it is fascinating to observe how, like handwriting, their results differ. After you cook a dish repeatedly, you begin to understand it. Then you can reinvent it a bit and make it yours. A written recipe can be useful, but sometimes the notes scribbled in the margin are the key to a superlative rendition. Each new version may inspire improvisation based on fresh understanding. It doesn't have to be as dramatic as all that, but such exciting minor epiphanies keep cooking lively."
Author: David Tanis
11. "In so far as I listen with interest to a record, it's usually to figure out how it was arrived at. The musical end product is where interest starts to flag. It's a bit like jigsaw puzzles. Emptied out of the box, there's a heap of pieces, all shapes, sizes and colours, in themselves attractive and could add up to anything--intriguing. Figuring out how to put them together can be interesting, but what you finish up with as often as not is a picture of unsurpassed banality. Music's like that."From "Derek Bailey and the Story of Free Improvisation" by Ben Watson, Verso, London, 2004, p. 440."
Author: Derek Bailey
12. "And more than anything, I like the improvisation of jazz. That's the same thing with DJ-ing. There's so much improvisation you can do with cuttin' and scratchin' that's reminiscent of jazz music, because it's all about how you feel. You're capturing a vibe and just going with it."
Author: DJ Jazzy Jeff
13. "It ain't about if he knocks a guy out. It's about how he knocks a guy out. It's the style, the improvisation."
Author: Don King
14. "All of the material for 'The Fine Line' was created via improvisation with my partner, but not in front of an audience. We'd continue to refine it in front of an audience based on their responses until it was set and scripted."
Author: Douglas Wood
15. "Come, come," the Baron said. "We don't have much time and pain is quick. Please don't bring it to this, my dear Duke." The Baron looked up at Piter who stood at Leto's shoulder. "Piter doesn't have all his tools here, but I'm sure he could improvise.""Improvisation is sometimes the best, Baron."
Author: Frank Herbert
16. "Perfect retention. I don't think I could do that-I've never disciplined myself to do it.I suppose a lot of it is a question of discipline. Which improvisation is not."
Author: George Shearing
17. "In short, we would discover, as we should already, that logic is in the eye of the logician. (For instance, here's an idea for theorists and logicians: if women are supposed to be less rational and more emotional at the beginning of our menstrual cycle when the female hormone is at its lowest level, then why isn't it logical to say that, in those few days, women behave the most like the way men behave all month long? I leave further improvisation up to you.)"
Author: Gloria Steinem
18. "It was almost noon when the plane touched down at the Triad airport on the outskirts of Greensboro. There was a hire car waiting for me; I waved my notepad at the dashboard to transmit my profile, then waited as the seating and controls rearranged themselves slightly, piezoelectric actuators humming. As I started to reverse out of the parking bay, the stereo began a soothing improvisation, flashing up a deadpan title: Music for Leaving Airports 11 June 2008."
Author: Greg Egan
19. "One more nice thing about short stories is that you can create a story out of the smallest details -an idea that springs up in your mind, a word, an image, whatever. In most cases it's like jazz improvisation, with the story taking me where it wants to. And another good point is that with short stories you don't have to worry about failing. If the idea doesn't work out the way you hoped it would, you just shrug your shoulders and tell yourself that they can't all be winners. Even with masters of the genre like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Raymond Carver -even Anton Chekhov- not every short story is a masterpiece. I find this a great comfort. You can learn from your mistakes (in other words, those you can't call complete success) and use that in the next story you write."
Author: Haruki Murakami
20. "To create characters, one must build background. And one of the tools we use is improvisation."
Author: Harvey Keitel
21. "What all my years in improvisation taught is that - if you're going to grow as a performer - you have to try some new things. You've got to be willing to take a few risks."
Author: Jack McBrayer
22. "Still less, despite appearances, will it have been a collection of three "essays" whose itinerary it would be time, after the fact, to recognize; whose continuity and underlying laws could now be pointed out; indeed, whose overall concept or meaning could at last, with all the insistence required on such occasions, be squarely set forth. I will not feign, according to the code, either premeditation or improvisation. These texts are assembled otherwise; it is not my intention here to present them."
Author: Jacques Derrida
23. "The problem that I have is with the music business. For some reason it seems almost impossible to get anything, any music, released which includes improvisation or soloing."
Author: Jan Hammer
24. "Under the seeming disorder of the old city, wherever the old city is working successfully, is a marvelous order for maintaining the safety of the streets and the freedom of the city. It is a complex order. Its essence is intricacy of sidewalk use, bringing with it a constant succession of eyes. This order is all composed of movement and change, and although it is life, not art, we may fancifully call it the art form of the city and liken it to the dance — not to a simple-minded precision dance with everyone kicking up at the same time, twirling in unison and bowing off en masse, but to an intricate ballet in which the individual dancers and ensembles all have distinctive parts which miraculously reinforce each other and compose an orderly whole. The ballet of the good city sidewalk never repeats itself from place to place, and in any once place is always replete with new improvisations."
Author: Jane Jacobs
25. "As an actor I worked for seven years with a community theater company based in London. We used improvisation techniques to take stories to young people who wouldn't normally have access to them - in prisons, hospitals, young offender's units, youth clubs and housing estates."
Author: Jenny Downham
26. "When I first did 'Best in Show,' I had never done any improvisation."
Author: Jim Piddock
27. "I find Indian music very funky. I mean it's very soulful, with their own kind of blues. But it's the only other school on the planet that develops improvisation to the high degree that you find in jazz music. So we have a lot of common ground."
Author: John McLaughlin
28. "My paintings and comedy have a lot in common. They are both improvisations based on observation."
Author: Jonathan Winters
29. "Actors need bricks to play with, and in fact we rejected all the improvised fragments we had made without a plan. Improvisation without a plan is like tennis without tennis balls."
Author: Lars Von Trier
30. "Improvisation is terribly haphazard."
Author: Leo Ornstein
31. "In life, most of us are highly skilled at suppressing action. All the improvisation teacher has to do is to reverse this skill and he creates very ‘gifted' improvisers. Bad improvisers block action, often with a high degree of skill. Good improvisers develop action."
Author: Malcolm Gladwell
32. "Rarely is it possible to study all of the instructions to a game before beginning to play, or to memorize the manual before turning on the computer. The excitement of improvisation lies not only in the risk of being involved but in the new ideas, as heady as the adrenaline of performance, that seems to come from nowhere."
Author: Mary Catherine Bateson
33. "My gigs are built on improvisation: I go out there and I'm like the Energizer bunny."
Author: Meat Loaf
34. "I allow a lot of room for improvisation and funny stuff. I always feel planned."
Author: Michael Bay
35. "Acting is really scary, but it's also challenging, fun, hard work. There's always an element of improvisation with every actor, even when something is really scripted."
Author: Michael Pitt
36. "I tend to a lot of improvisational ranting, and that's fun. For me, stand-up has been, performance-wise, a really good outlet."
Author: Michael Showalter
37. "They were looking for actors - real actors - who could play instruments. There was a lot of improvisation and scene work involved in addition to the music. The auditions went on for a long time."
Author: Micky Dolenz
38. "In discussing the process with the actors, I made it clear to them that they could improvise but that the sum total of their improvisation needed to impart certain plot points, and schematic material."
Author: Mike Figgis
39. "I love improvisation."
Author: Nora Dunn
40. "What of miniature boats constructed of birch bark and fallen leaves, launched onto cold water clear as air? How many fleets were pushed out toward the middles of ponds or sent down autumn brooks, holding treasures of acorns, or black feathers, or a puzzled mantis? Let those grassy crafts be listed alongside the iron hulls that cleave the sea, for they are all improvisations built from the daydreams of men, and all will perish, whether from the ocean siege or October breeze."
Author: P. Harding
41. "We did very little improvisation on camera, and once in a while we did."
Author: Peter Tork
42. "She longed for porch friendship, for the sticky, hot sensation of familiar female legs thrown over hers in companionship. She pined for the girliness of it all, the unplanned, improvisational laziness. She wanted to soak the words 'time management' out of her lexicon. She wanted to hand over, to yield, to let herself float down the unchartered beautiful fertile musky swamp of life, where creativity and eroticism and deep intelligence dwell."
Author: Rebecca Wells
43. "You could pay Arthur Janov to teach you to scream about history, or you could learn prayer or a mantra, or you could write your life down and hope to make peace with it, write it down, or paint it, or turn it into improvisational theater, but that was the best you could probably do. You were stuck."
Author: Rick Moody
44. "To write a book about improvisation is partly a contradiction in terms. Improvisation is spontaneous. It's in the moment."
Author: Sally Schneider
45. "As you know from reading many of these Negro writers, we don't deal too much with the discussion of democracy and what it means and how improvisation fits in all that."
Author: Stanley Crouch
46. "They are approaching now a lengthy brick improvisation, a Victorian paraphrase of what once, long ago, resulted in Gothic cathedrals—but which, in its own time, arose not from any need to climb through the fashioning of suitable confusions toward any apical God, but more in a derangement of aim, a doubt as to the God's actual locus (or, in some, as to its very existence), out of a cruel network of sensuous moments that could not be transcended and so bent the intentions of the builders not on any zenith, but back to fright, to simple escape, in whatever direction, from what the industrial smoke, street excrement, windowless warrens, shrugging leather forests of drive belts, flowing and patient shadow states of the rats and flies, were saying about the chances for mercy that year."
Author: Thomas Pynchon
47. "The second rule of improvisation is not only to say yes, but YES, AND. You are supposed to agree and then _add something of your own._ If I start a scene with 'I can't believe it's so hot in here,' and you just say, 'Yeah...' we're kind of at a stand-still. But if I say, 'I can't believe it's so hot in here,' and you say, 'What did you expect? We're in hell.' Or if I say, 'I can't believe it's so hot in here,' and you say, 'Yes, this can't be good for the wax figures.' Or if I say, 'I can't believe it's so hot in here,' and you say, 'I told you we shouldn't have crawled into this dog's mouth,' now we're getting somewhere."
Author: Tina Fey
48. "Can you tell me in one sentence what is meant by logotherapy?" he asked. "At least, what is the difference between psychoanalysis and logotherapy?" "Yes," I said, "but in the first place, can you tell me in one sentence what you think the essence of psychoanalysis is?" This was his answer: "During psychoanalysis, the patient must lie down on a couch and tell you things which sometimes are very disagreeable to tell." Whereupon I immediately retorted with the following improvisation: "Now, in logotherapy the patient may remain sitting erect but he must hear things which sometimes are very disagreeable to hear."
Author: Viktor E. Frankl
49. "I allow an area for improvisation because the chemical things actors bring to stories make it not work."
Author: Vincente Minnelli
50. "Her TriumphI did the dragon's will until you cameBecause I had fancied love a casualImprovisation, or a settled gameThat followed if I let the kerchief fall:Those deeds were best that gave the minute wingsAnd heavenly music if they gave it wit;And then you stood among the dragon-rings.I mocked, being crazy, but you mastered itAnd broke the chain and set my ankles free,Saint George or else a pagan Perseus;And now we stare astonished at the sea,And a miraculous strange bird shrieks at us."
Author: W.B. Yeats

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You're not the only one who's made mistakes, but they're the only things that you can truly call your own."
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