Processes and experiences of creative cognition in seven Western classical composers

Andrea Schiavio, Nikki Moran, Dylan van der Schyff, Michele Biasutti, Richard Parncutt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In a qualitative study, we explored the range of reflections and experiences involved in score-based musical composition. To do so, a fifteen-items, open-ended questionnaire was administrated to seven professional composers from Europe and North America. Adopting a grounded theory approach, we organised six different codes emerging from our data into two higher-order categories (“the act of composing” and “establishing relationships”). Our content analysis, inspired by the theoretical resources of 4E cognitive science, points to three overlapping characteristics of creative cognition in music composition: it is largely exploratory, it is grounded in bodily experience, and it emerges from the recursive dialogue of agents and their environment. Such preliminary findings suggest that musical creativity may be advantageously understood as a process of constant adaptation - one in which composers enact their musical styles and identities by exploring novel interactivities hidden in their contingent and historical milieu.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-325
JournalMusicae Scientiae
Issue number2
Early online date8 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • musical creativity
  • composition
  • exploration
  • body
  • interaction
  • 4E Cognition


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