In The Netherlands we are back into some type of Lockdown, but safe and of course still improvising :-).

Hopefully you are safe and sound where you are! Meanwhile election madness is racing through our minds. Watch our Trump fantasy for some comedic relief, where Robert takes a theme from Bach and improvises on a story suggested by the audience.
For more Bach and to get an insight into the idea of 'stealing' from the past, watch our video inspired by Austin Kleon's book "Steal like an artist" and Bach's solo Allemandes.

Of course we are still celebrating Beethoven with videos about improvisations in the Kreutzer sonata, Czerny's book Systematic Method for Fantasising, which paints a comprehensive picture of all the types of improvisation in Beethoven's time, improvising a caprice inspired by Hoffmeister and finally improvising preludes starting with only two notes.

We will be back quite soon with exciting news about new courses, webinars and of course lots of videos.

Stay safe and happy improvising,

Robert and James - The Scroll Ensemble


The audience suggested the following story for an improvised Fantasy: "Donald Trump walks in a forest and falls over a stone". 
Robert: "The most interesting thing was to see how Trump's jagged use of grammar could be translated to baroque music. Using surprising twists in the harmony, changes in meter and character, it was a challenge to keep the piece together. Luckily, using a theme from Bach's Invention number 7 helped a lot!"

A lot of what we do as The Scroll Ensemble, is based on the idea of learning, or maybe rather "stealing" from composers and improvisers from the past. Austin Kleon's book "Steal like an artist" has some great ideas for how to start doing this. Armed with these ideas and Bach's Flute Partita Robert tries to learn from Bach by stealing, stealing and stealing (and perhaps from Astor Piazzolla as well...)


You might know that the Kreutzer sonata wasn't originally premiered by Kreutzer, but by Bridgetower. At the premiere Bridgetower played a few more notes than Beethoven had written down, which Beethoven allegedly LOVED! James tries to figure out what Bridgetower might have added.
How did Beethoven improvise? We can find out by studying his student Carl Czerny's extensive writings. The Systematic Method for Fantasising is the most comprehensive of Czerny's sources, and talks about all the different forms of improvisation in Beethoven's time. 
F. A. Hoffmeister was Beethoven's friend and publisher. Hoffmeister composed some wonderful violin solo caprices. The caprice (see above) was a genre which was often improvised. James helps you on your way to learn from Hoffmeister how to get started improvising your own solo caprices.
Inspired by Czerny's book (above) you can start improvising a prelude with even only 2 notes.
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