improvise on

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improvise on something

[for a musician] to create a new piece of music on an existing musical theme. For an encore, the organist improvised on "Mary Had a Little Lamb." She chose to improvise on an old folk theme.
See also: on
References in periodicals archive ?
You will gain confidence in your classical performances, and you will be able to improvise your way out of memory difficulties.
One conclusion drawn is that these settings were originally intended as a teaching aid for use in the process of learning to improvise.
This book would be good for those interested in learning to improvise without knowing too much about theory or chord voicings and scales.
At many of these events, advanced students spontaneously improvise solos or duets based on a theme given by audience members.
The role of the person who is learning to improvise is to make up just one simple part, such as an ostinato or a new melody or a variation to the basic rhythm.
As Pendleton talks, sitting on the porch of the barn where Momix rehearses, it's easy to believe he is creating the idea for the dance at that moment, verbally improvising a concept the way some choreographers improvise movement.
You can't improvise without a skeletal structure, you can't just go in and start talking.
Hers will be a hard act to follow, requiring the gifts of vision and leadership, as well as flexibility to meet the future with the grace to improvise as needed.
The ability to improvise interestingly over a tune's chord changes used to be the foundation of jazz in the bebop and post-bebop era.