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date: 27 April 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the conceptual frameworks in which current empirical studies of cognition in musical improvisation are being undertaken. It takes as its starting point the significant theoretical and empirical contributions of the late Jeff Pressing, musician and researcher, several of which were directed toward opening up this area of investigation. It is on the theoretical bases of models such as his that experimentally accessible hypotheses about improvisation can be constructed. The chapter particularly addresses the issue of transitions and segmentation in improvisation. Comparative and cross-cultural studies of the cognition of improvisation are then briefly reviewed. Finally, the potential of cognitive studies not only to elucidate improvisational processes, but also to contribute to them, is described.

Keywords: cognition, musical improvisation, empirical, Jeff Pressing, improvisational processes, segmentation, transitions

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