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date: 29 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The previous focus of musical creativity studies on the solitary composer has given way to a focus on collaborative, real-time performance. This chapter discusses a unified approach to both practices, according to which musical creativity is social, but the social is inherent in ostensively solitary work. At the core of this approach is ‘unpredictable emergence’ (Sawyer 2003) out of networks of human and nonhuman agents; this chapter extends Sawyer’s model of creative collaboration in jazz in such a way that it becomes equally applicable to classical and contemporary music making. The same approach is applied to compositional imagination, with particular emphasis on the materiality of bodies, instruments, and notations, and on how representations of music “talk back” to composers and prompt the emergence of unforeseen outcomes. The aim is to provide a more realistic account of musical creativity than the Romantic mythologies that have long skewed research in this area.

Keywords: social creativity, composition, performance, imagination, notation, materiality, multimodality, instruments, interaction, distributed creativity

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