Dimensions of Musical Creativity

Andrea Schiavio, Mathias Benedek

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Current literature on creative cognition has developed rich conceptual landscapes dedicated to the analysis of both individual and collective forms of creativity. This work has favored the emergence of unifying theories on domain-general creative abilities in which the main experiential, behavioral, computational, and neural aspects involved in everyday creativity are examined and discussed. But while such accounts have gained important analytical leverage for describing the overall conditions and mechanisms through which creativity emerges and operates, they necessarily leave contextual forms of creativity less explored. Among the latter, musical practices have recently drawn the attention of scholars interested in its creative properties as well as in the creative potential of those who engage with them. In the present article, we compare previously posed theories of creativity in musical and non-musical domains to lay the basis of a conceptual framework that mitigates the tension between (i) individual and collective and (ii) domain-general and domain-specific perspectives on creativity. In doing so, we draw from a range of scholarship in music and enactive cognitive science, and propose that creative cognition may be best understood as a process of skillful organism-environment adaptation that one cultivates endlessly. With its focus on embodiment, plurality, and adaptiveness, our account points to a structured unity between living systems and their world, disclosing a variety of novel analytical resources for research and theory across different dimensions of (musical) creativity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number578932
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2020

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Copyright © 2020 Schiavio and Benedek.

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