Distributed Creativity: Collaboration and Improvisation in Contemporary Music

ISBN : 9780199355914

Eric F. Clarke; Mark Doffman
384 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Dec 2017
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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.


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 Ostersjo; 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; Lore 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

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.

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