Time, territorialization, and improvisational spaces

Chris Stover

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This essay develops a framework for thinking about the improvisational moment in music - the performed event that cuts into the ongoing flow of time, selecting a singular path into the virtual future and thereby actualizing one of its many potentials, creating conditions for the possibility of musical meaning to emerge. It does this first by closely engaging Gilles Deleuze's three syntheses of time, which Deleuze offers as a powerful theoretical model for understanding time and process. It then brings the three syntheses of time into communication with Deleuze and Félix Guattari's notion of the refrain, and acts of territorialization that define the refrain, demonstrating how the two conceptions can mutually reinforce and bolster one another. Ultimately, it challenges reified notions of subject and object, instead defining both as emergent, "eventful" phenomena. The musical work in this sense reflects the emergent nature of object-formation: it is shown to be an ongoing process determined by the actions of individuals in complex embodied, perspectival, and temporally-situated interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMusic Theory Online
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2017


  • Gilles deleuze
  • Improvisation
  • Jazz
  • Process
  • Time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Music


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