Abstract painting

Kandinsky Improvistion 35

Mission statement

The SMT Improvisation Interest Group seeks to establish a space within the music-theory community for the study of improvisation, in any musical style and across disciplinary boundaries. To that end:

  • We promote music-theoretical research on improvisation in concert music, jazz, multimedia performance, popular music, sacred music, traditional music, and music from any culture or nation.
  • We encourage music theorists to develop new approaches for the study of real-time music-making, and to consider what the practice of improvisation can teach us about the practice of musical analysis.
  • We facilitate dialogue and collaboration with improvisation researchers working in ethnomusicology, historical musicology, and allied fields such as critical improvisation studies.


The interest group meets at SMT each year.

Online presence and discussion

The group maintains a web site that features announcements, notices about upcoming conferences, information about and minutes from past events, and other items of interest. To participate in SMT Improvisation’s activities, sign up for our discussion group.

How to join

There are no requirements for membership; simply attend our meetings at annual SMT meetings to participate.

Leadership and Contact Info
Role Name Email
Chair Sean Smither sean.r.smither@gmail.com
Vice-chair Andrew Malilay White andrewwhite@uchicago.edu