improvise

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improvise on (something)

To use an existing creative work, usually a song or other such piece of music, as the basis for creating something new and different. Hey, tell the piano player to improvise on the theme I play in the intro, OK?
See also: improvise, on
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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: improvise, on
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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