Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Music Honours


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)


Faculty of Education and Arts

First Advisor

Linda Barcan


The art of improvisation flourished in both instrumental and vocal music during the late seventeenth and throughout the eighteenth centuries. The violin techniques of improvisation taught in the eighteenth century (such as ornamentation of melody, decoration of fermatas, extemporization of cadenzas and creation of preludes) formed an integral part of instrumental pedagogy and performance practice at the time, which then declined significantly from the early nineteenth century onwards. It seems that this practice of improvisation has been neglected and its principles almost forgotten in the world of classical Western music today. This paper makes an argument for the re-introduction of classical improvisation techniques into contemporary violin pedagogy. In order to do this, it firstly identifies what these techniques were, how they were taught, and how they were used at their peak, in the eighteenth century. Subsequently it accounts for the decline of improvisation at the turn of the nineteenth century, and justifies the importance and benefits of once again reviving this art-form.