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date: 30 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores improvisation from a consciousness-based standpoint. Examination of an inner mechanics for the transcendent experience frequently reported by improvisers sets the stage for consciousness-based distinctions between improvisation and composition processes, in which improvisation is extricated from common misclassification as an accelerated subspecies of composition. Temporal, cultural, and linguistic factors are considered in distinguishing between improvisatory and compositional paradigms. The intimate melding between musicians and listeners in peak improvised performance is paralleled with the deep collective communion associated with group meditation practice as indicative of a nonlocal, intersubjective field of consciousness, empirical support for which suggests that possible societal benefits may result from certain applications. An “improvisatory hermeneutics” is considered as a means for new ways of perceiving global challenges and paradigmatic change that centers intersubjectivity and other anomalous possibilities not commonly embraced in academic and public policy discourse.

Keywords: improvisation, consciousness, transcendence, meditation, temporality, intersubjective consciousness, improvisatory hermeneutics, anomaly centering

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