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improvisation

[im-prov-uh-zey-shuh n, im-pruh-vuh-] /ɪmˌprɒv əˈzeɪ ʃən, ˌɪm prə və-/
noun
1.
the art or act of improvising, or of composing, uttering, executing, or arranging anything without previous preparation:
Musical improvisation involves imagination and creativity.
2.
something improvised:
The actor's improvisation in Act II was both unexpected and amazing.
Origin of improvisation
1780-1790
1780-90; improvise + -ation
Related forms
improvisational, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for improvisation
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The King requested the improvisation of a fugue in six parts, which the master did to the astonishment of all present.

    How the Piano Came to Be Ellye Howell Glover
  • I was amazed, and made an improvisation on her skill, which I gave her in writing.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
  • Indeed, what melody, unless it be a reminiscence, is not an improvisation?

    The Life of Rossini Henry Sutherland Edwards
  • His knack of improvisation he at all times exercised freely.

    Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay George Otto Trevelyan
  • His second stream of improvisation had a still more powerful effect, and the audience again tumultuously recalled him.

British Dictionary definitions for improvisation

improvisation

/ˌɪmprəvaɪˈzeɪʃən/
noun
1.
the act or an instance of improvising
2.
a product of improvising; something improvised
Derived Forms
improvisational, improvisatory (ˌɪmprəˈvaɪzətərɪ; -ˈvɪz-; ˌɪmprəvaɪˈzeɪtərɪ; -trɪ) adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for improvisation
n.

mid-15c., "unforeseen happening;" 1786 as "act of improvising musically," from French improvisation, from improviser "compose or say extemporaneously," from Italian improvvisare, from improvviso "unforeseen, unprepared," from Latin improvisus "not foreseen, unforeseen, unexpected," from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + provisus "foreseen," also "provided," past participle of providere "foresee, provide" (see provide).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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