Distributed Creativity: Collaboration and Improvisation in Contemporary Music

Distributed Creativity: Collaboration and Improvisation in Contemporary Music


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Creative practice in music, particularly in traditional concert culture, is commonly understood in terms of a rather stark division of labour between composer and performer. But this overlooks the distributed and interactive nature of the creative processes on which so much contemporary music depends. The incorporation of two features-improvisation and collaboration-into much contemporary music suggests that the received view of the relationship between composition and performance requires reassessment. Improvisation and collaborative working practices blur the composition/performance divide and, in doing so, provide important new perspectives on the forms of distributed creativity that play a central part in much contemporary music.

Distributed Creativity: Collaboration and Improvisation in Contemporary Music explores the different ways in which collaboration and improvisation enable and constrain creative processes. Thirteen chapters and twelve shorter Interventions offer a range of perspectives on distributed creativity in music, on composer/performer collaborations and on contemporary improvisation practices. The chapters provide substantial discussions of a variety of conceptual frameworks and particular projects, while the Interventions present more informal contributions from a variety of practitioners (performers, composers, improvisers), giving insights into the pleasures and perils of working creatively in collaborative and improvised ways.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199355914
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 12/13/2017
Series: Studies in Musical Perf as Creative Prac
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 6.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Eric Clarke is Heather Professor of Music at the University of Oxford, a Professorial Fellow of Wadham College and a Fellow of the British Academy. He has published on issues in the psychology of music, musical meaning, music and consciousness, and the analysis of pop. His books include Ways of Listening (2005), Music and Mind in Everyday Life (2010), and Music and Consciousness (2011).

Mark Doffman is a lecturer in the Faculty of Music, University of Oxford, where he was a research associate in the AHRC Research Centre for Musical Performance as Creative Practice before receiving a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship. He has research interests in the psycho-social aspects of performance; has published on jazz, creativity and social interaction in music; and performs regularly as a jazz drummer.

Table of Contents


List of examples
List of figures
List of tables

List of contributors

Introduction and overview
Eric Clarke and Mark Doffman

Section 1: Frames

Chapter 1 Composer-performer collaborations in the long twentieth-century
Arnold Whittall

Chapter 2 The labour that dare not speak its name: musical creativity, labour process and the materials of music
Jason Toynbee

Chapter 3. Distributed cognition, ecological theory and group improvisation
Adam Linson and Eric Clarke

Chapter 4. Domesticating gesture: the collaborative creative process of Florence Baschet's StreicherKreis for 'augmented' string quartet (2006-2008)
Nicolas Donin

Section 2: Collaborations

Intervention. 'These four must be stopped'
Irvine Arditti

Chapter 5 Cross-cultural collaborations with the Kronos Quartet
Amanda Bayley

Intervention. Collaboration: making it work
Sarah Nicolls

Chapter 6 Fluid practices, solid roles? The evolution of Forlorn Hope
Eric Clarke, Mark Doffman, David Gorton and Stefan stersj

Intervention. surfaces
James Saunders and Simon Limbrick

Chapter 7 Composition changing instruments changing composition
Christopher Redgate

Intervention. My Mother Told Me Not To Stare: composition as a collaborative process
Martyn Harry

Intervention. The composer in the room: Jeremy West on Martyn Harry with His Majesty's Sagbutts and Cornetts
Jeremy West

Chapter 8 Negotiations: sound and speech in the making of a studio recording
Maya Gratier, Rebecca Evans and Ksenija Stevanovic

Intervention. Recording Paraphrase: a 'social occasion'?
Emily Payne

Chapter 9. Contemporary Music in Action: performer-composer collaboration within the conservatoire.
Mark Doffman and Jean-Philippe Calvin

Intervention. On working alone
John Croft

Section 3: Improvisation

Intervention. Knots and other forms of entanglement
Liza Lim

Chapter 10 (Re-)imagining improvisation: discursive positions in Iranian music from classical to jazz
Laudan Nooshin

Intervention. On the conundrum of composing an improvisation
Jeremy Thurlow

Chapter 11 Improvisation as composition: the recorded organ improvisations of Vierne and Tournemire
David Maw

Intervention. Improvisation and composition in the French organ tradition: an interview with Thierry Escaich
David Maw with Thierry Escaich

Chapter 12 Learning to improvise, improvising to learn: a qualitative study of learning processes in improvising musicians
Una MacGlone and Raymond MacDonald

Intervention. Song
Lor Lixenberg

Chapter 13 The ensemble as plural subject: jazz improvisation, collective intention, and group agency
Garry Hagberg

Intervention. What is it like to be an improviser?
Neil Heyde, Christopher Redgate, Roger Redgate and Matthew Wright

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