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Sara Wilen

Sara Wilén

Teaching staff

Sara Wilen

A kaleidoscope of interactions. : Researching and presenting processes of opera improvisation.


  • Sara Wilén

Summary, in English

The artistic doctoral project Singing in action – processes of vocal improvisation is an investigation of vocal improvised performance from my point of view as a classically trained singer and vocal improviser. It focuses on an artistic tradition which has its roots in medieval Provence and Italy (Wilén, 2013a) and which is an expanding classical vocal genre of today: opera and art song improvisation as extemporization, or instant composition, performed by classical singers in dialogue with the listeners.
As a forum for classical singers’ and musicians’ experimental work, it is still fairly uncommon in the field of classical music making today. The aim of the project is to problematize aspects of the role of classical singers in performance. At its centre is my work as a classical vocal improviser in various contexts, such as the Swedish ensembles Impromans and Operaimprovisatörerna.
My working research questions are:
- How can I investigate and analyze the creative interaction in emergent improvisations?
- How can I create methods for exploring, documenting and communicating collaborative improvisational processes?

In this text I will describe and discuss how I have investigated these two questions in my work within the ensemble Operaimprovisatörerna. The aim is to find ways of communica-ting insights and knowledge of the improvisational processes, based on the various perspectives of the ensemble members. This led me to conducting interviews with my fellow improvisers. A part is included below, where the interview processes are described and discussed. The interview results in turn led to my development of the the interplay analysis model (IAM), which I argue could be developed into a theoretical tool, with which improvisational processes can be both researched and communicated. I conclude by presenting a session, as an example of how a combination of preliminary interview results and IAM can be used in order to communicate important aspects of the interplay in Operaimprovisatörerna.


  • Teachers (Malmö Academy of Music)

Publishing year





L'Esmuc digital Revista de L'escola Superior de Musica de Catalunya



Document type

Journal article


  • Music




  • ISSN: 2014-3427