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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magic...at a moment's notice! » » Can we define "impromptu"? » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

espmagic
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Hi, all! I have just had this conversation with a local group: how do we define "impromptu"? Is it: being able to do "something" without ANY props (yours) or pre-arrangements (like carrying a TT in your pocket)? Or is it: carrying some small thing that has been set-up, and waiting for someone to ask "Show me something!"? I personally carry Kentons' card-in-wallet effect; it goes with me wherever the wallet is. So I am already "prepared". But is this really "impromptu"?
Burt Yaroch
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We rambled off topic on one of the threads here in the impromptu section if you'd care to check it out Lee:

http://www.themagiccafe.com/archive1/vie......2&21

But since I so enjoy this debate...<ahem>.

im·promp·tu (îm-pròmp¹too) adjective
1.Prompted by the occasion rather than being planned in advance: an impromptu party.
2.Spoken, performed, done, or composed with little or no preparation; extemporaneous: a few impromptu remarks.

So if someone was to give an impromptu speech you wouldn't expect to see them whip out some note cards or set up a teleprompter.

But, lets say this person was running for political office. Lets further assume that he knew in advance that he might be approached to make some remarks on a certain topic and had previously committed a brilliant dialogue to memory. Then with a little acting and a lot of guile, if he made it appear that he was concerned and well versed on the issue rather than rehearsed...(pause for effect) he will have won over his electorate because he made it APPEAR that he was taken unaware and amazed nonetheless.

So I believe magic, too, requires only the look of spontaneity to be spontaneous. For such is the nature of our art, the appearance of what is not.

And be careful not to confuse this with improv or else SOME people will really jump your case.
Smile
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Scott F. Guinn
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I agree with the yakinator. TRULY impromptu magic would mean that you are doing an effect you've never thought of before the moment you perform with a method you've never thought of before either.

While, based on their performances, you would think that a good many magicians are doing this (since they can't seem to think of what to say and perform very hesitantly and unsurely), this is NOT a recommended practice.

"Impromptu" magic performances are impromptu from the audience's viewpoint--the EFFECT is that you are doing it on the spur of the moment, with whatever seems to be at hand. In reality, you have (hopefully) carefully chosen your moment and performed something that you have down cold.
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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humormagi
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I have always looked at it this way... You hear of comics doing 'ad-lib' when all they do is match the circumstance with lines they have heard and memorized years ago and rewrite it for the instant. I feel impromtu magic is the same thing, you have the knowledge of the basics in your mind and you adapt whats available and do the trick.

Jack Shea Smile Smile Smile
Peter Marucci
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Pure impromptu would fall into the category referred to by the late Carl Sagan.
He said: "If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, first you'd have to create the universe."
All impromptu -- magic or otherwise -- is based on rehearsed and practiced routines.
It only SEEMS impromptu -- which may be the point.
cheers,
Peter Marucci
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craig fothers
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Maybe we should define impromptu magic by defining what we think are 'impromptu' effects? I mean, you could do a card trick on the spur of the moment, and even though it might be impromptu... it would still be card magic,

For my money... the whole 'salt shaker through the table' bit is the archetype of impromptu magic Smile

But still... maybe it's as Peter suggested and only impromptu from the audience's perspective?
Tom Cutts
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For me, the thinking of the "absolute impromptu, never even been thought of before this moment" type of magic is unproductive. After all someone else already conceived
"magic" so you are dead in the water right from the start.

Impromptu magic is that magic performed on the spur of the moment with objects existing in the moment; ie not brought by the magician... or at least seemingly so.

The reason we even prattle on about just what this type of magic is, would be due to it's strength in the minds of our audiences. Impromptu magic ellicits a strong conviction due to it's parameters.

Now, when most people tell you there is no such thing as impromptu magic they are telling you that the best, most able performance of magic is one which is planned for. One which has been worked for every nuance of strength in effect. A very valuable lesson indeed.

If you think Improvisors don't practice, use
"tricks", and have signals; then you are sadly mistaken. Anyone who cares deeply for the best performance of their art will take every action to ensure for that type of perfomance.
spfranz
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I would love to come up with some type of terminology that we can all agree on. Who knows, if we, on this forum, agree on something maybe the magic world will follow.

Here are the performance situations that need defining (as I see it).

First off, Tom mentions "absolute impromptu, never even been thought of before this moment" magic and that talking about it is unproductive. I agree. Even if you're doing "jazz magic", you've thought about it before and are applying those principals.

Secondly, there is the kind of magic that you do with ordinary borrowed objects. Not utilitizing the TT that you brought along or anything else.

Thirdly, there is impromptu magic as viewed by the audience. In otherwords, you may have that TT in your pocket ready to go and use it, but they never suspected it.

The last type of "impromptu" is something that I don't consider "impromptu" because the audience knows you brought something along. You know what I mean - reach into your pocket and pull out a hot rod.

Anyone care to come up with some terminology?

Scott
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Scott F. Guinn
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How about "situational" magic? Or "Opportunistic" magic?
"Seemingly unprepared/unrehearsed"
"Spontaneous"
"Everyday magic"

?????
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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Burt Yaroch
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1. Paradox Magic - Does this exist?

2. Unprepared Magic - I like Scott's suggestion for this one as it implies the magi could have taken steps to ensure he wasn't caught off guard again. Although some magicains may prefer this type of performance (in which case they would also like this title).

3. Walk Up Magic - They walk up, you do magic, seemingly unawares.

4. Pocket Magic - Stuff you always have on you, including visible props to perform magic on a moments notice. This is the ultimate Prepared Impromptu.
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Fredrick
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Perhaps "real world" magic? Smile

Peter's and Tom's point is right on - all impromptu magic (all magic for that matter) takes work, practice and rehearsal...

A great example is in the Giovanni Genii - the Karate Cracker - would take practice and rehearsal, but would be "real world" magic...
"Try to find the humanity in the magic and maybe you'll come up with something of your own. It's the humanity that gets you there, not techniques." Michael Moschen on Creativity
Reian
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I also found it hard trying to define this word but just took the definition as is. When people say, I think this means, to me it means, he think it means, it just gets some of us confused.
Alewishus
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I've been waiting for someone to ask this....oh....nevermind.
Sack subs, ok Ross?
We miss you asper.
tctahoe
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So let me get this straight…the Boy Scouts, could never do anything truly impromptu? Smile
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