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This chapter explores the experience of improvisation as a process of listening that is first accessed by the nonverbal body and later understood by the verbal brain. A comparison is drawn between the time delay between evoked potentials and cognition (Libet) and the time delay between the record head and playback head of analog tape recorders and later computer-generated delays. An improvised performance by Pauline Oliveros and Barre Philips is analyzed to demonstrate a compositional result informed by focal and global listening. The chapter opens with a history of Oliveros’s development as an improviser, describing specific musical examples created over...

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