Please discuss the similarities and differences between Jazz improvisation and improvisation in the Baroque period.
The main similarity between the improvised music of jazz and that of the Baroque era is that both use the harmonic structure of a musical composition as the basis for their improvisation. The main difference between the two is the importance of the soloist in the jazz idiom, a role which has no exact counterpart in Baroque music.
Although now most familiar as the central feature of jazz, improvisation played a significant role in the western classical tradition until well into the nineteenth century, especially during the Baroque period.
The basic similarity between the two is that both use the underlying harmonies of a given musical piece as a basis for an improvised performance. In the age of the Baroque, improvising musicians would be given what is known as a "figured bass" score, which would supply the bass line and the numerals designating the required inversion of the harmonies.
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