F.I.M. Federazione Italiana Musicoterapeuti

Clinical improvisation at the piano

Every musical instrument has its merits and its faults. For this reason, the instruments are divided into categories (percussions, wind and string) and classes (woodwinds, strings, brass, membrane, etc). The different elements of music are called: Rhythm, Melody, and Harmony. The rhythm by itself is not music yet, the rhythm is the frame in which a melody is inserted; every melody has in itself the harmony or the possibility of a harmonic realisation; the harmony is the foundation on which music is based.
The advantage of keyboard instruments (piano, organ) is to allow, at the same time, rhythm, melody and harmony. However, we talk about acoustic instruments and not about instruments producing sound effects in an artificial way. Acoustic instruments produce vibrating waves through the amplification of the resonance box. The resonance boxes of the acoustic instruments are the copy of the Vibrating Body (the human being). Only the acoustic instruments are able to vibrate through the body resonance because they are the producers of sound waves and of resonators.
The baby-grand is both a string and a percussion musical instrument. The rage of sounds if wide (from Hz 27, 50 for the first key on the left to Hz 4184 for the last key on the right). A string in the grave register of a good piano can produce up to 120 harmonic sounds.
The sound box can involve in the resonance also the body of an adult.
In the training course, the music therapist understands the communicative role which he is playing. He finds in the keyboard in any moment those sounds, those pitches (tune), rhythms and melodies with which he “talks”, leads, supports, provokes, accompanies, approves, reacts etc, according to what “us” means in the therapeutic relationship. Empathy takes its shape and sound through the clinical improvisation at the piano.
Through the clinical improvisation at the piano the music therapist creates the Sound Dialogue in a varied and wide way. With the improvisation, he gives sense to a movement, to a gesture, to a particular way of walking, running, and vocalising. He answers to a cascabel, to an idiophone instrument, to the swinging of a ribbon, and even to silence, to the hope for a glance, creating an expressive dialogue which precedes and goes beyond words.
The improvisation at the piano responds to melodies, to the sonorities of a harp, of a string instrument (violin, viola, cello, double bass), of string instruments (trumpet, horn, flute, clarinet, etc), of percussion instruments (membranes, ethnical instruments, etc) of small idiophone instruments, creating musical experiences rich in charm and which change minute after minute.

Video 1 Harmony and musicality in body expression
The origins of the game.

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