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A Podcast That Deconstructs the Story Inside of the Music

Rebecca Cullen, reviewer

Improvisations on The Ledge is a must for musicians, composers, music fans, artists, and indeed anyone with an interest in and appreciation for organic music and creative expression in their purest forms.”

Rebecca Cullen
Stereo Stickman

IOTL is a kind of performance art. In each episode, Saltzman tackles a particular subject—a genre, music trends, problems creative musicians face—and the riffs on it with both words and improvised piano music.

Peter draws on his extensive background and knowledge in multiple genres: jazz, classical, pop, and more. But IOTL is not a lecture; it’s a creative deep dive into the soul of music.

Improvisations on the Ledge is not just about music. It is music.

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Episodes:

IOTL S2-E8: Rearview Mirror

IOTL S2-E8: Rearview Mirror

Using jazz educator David Bloom’s metaphor, musicians need to look in the rearview mirror and remember the theme if they wish to move forward. But when you look back, you are not just remembering what you played at the beginning of an improvisation—you’re remembering all of that music that got you to the point of even being able to look back in the first place.

IOTL S2-E7: Planned Chance

IOTL S2-E7: Planned Chance

My plan was to dive into Part 2 of my “End of Melody Episode,“ but by chance, I rolled the dice and came up with something completely different. Unplanned, but fated to be this way? Possibly.

IOTL S2-E6: The End of Melody, Pt. 1

IOTL S2-E6: The End of Melody, Pt. 1

Melody. As a creative musician, you’re either born with it or not. Or maybe everybody is born with it but some choose to suppress it. Why would anybody do that?

IOTL S2-E4: Maximal Minimalism: Me v. Philip Glass

IOTL S2-E4: Maximal Minimalism: Me v. Philip Glass

In this episode, I do battle with Philip Glass and, by extension, the entire genre of minimalism. To my surprise, though, I found that even while I reject the aesthetic as a whole, there’s plenty I can take from it creatively—but only by adapting some of its techniques in ways never intended by its practitioners.

IOTL S2-E3: Everything is Related To Everything Else (Again)

IOTL S2-E3: Everything is Related To Everything Else (Again)

If you’ve been composing and/or improvising for long enough, you will no doubt encounter the inescapable reality that you can’t create music in a vacuum, that every phrase you write/play is somehow connected to what someone else (or you) created in the past. In this episode, I explore how, like it or not, those connections randomly occur—and what you creatively do with them.

IOTL S2-E2: The Seinfeld Episode

IOTL S2-E2: The Seinfeld Episode

I was watching Jerry Seinfeld’s new standup release on Netflix the other night and it put me in the mind of nothing. Or how we build music out of essentially meaningless sound events that end up adding up to…something?

IOTL S2-E1: CoVideous Improvisations on Covert Thoughts

IOTL S2-E1: CoVideous Improvisations on Covert Thoughts

Season Two is finally here but it’s not at all was I was planning. Befitting the title of the podcast, Improvisations on the Ledge, in fact, resists any serious planning. And yet, for this premiere episode of season two, I can’t avoid the elephant in the world-sized room: CoVid-19. The central theme of this episode, then, is how the crisis changes the way we go about making art—if at all.

IOTL Season Two About to Launch

IOTL Season Two About to Launch

It’s been a LONG wait, but season two is just about ready to launch. With an exciting new format and several new features, it will be well worth the wait! Coming April 15th…or thereabouts.

IOTL #28: A Variation on Theme and Variations

IOTL #28: A Variation on Theme and Variations

What if I came up with a theme in the morning, then improvised variations throughout the day? What would that add up to? Call it a variation on the theme and variations idea, but in the form of a diary of a single day in the life of Peter Saltzman.

IOTL #27: What Not To Think When Improvising

IOTL #27: What Not To Think When Improvising

Do you ever think about what you’re thinking about? Of course you do, and I often think about what I’m thinking about when improvising. But when I pose this question to the great French pianist-composer Jean-Michel Pilc in this episode, his answer is sort of along the lines of…a kind of nothing. Sort of.

IOTL #26: The Improvised Sonata

IOTL #26: The Improvised Sonata

For years I’ve had this thought that I should be able to improvise a full 4-movement piano sonata. Is this just another example of me being completely out of touch with my times? Well yes. But that doesn’t mean it won’t work.