Grounding Creativity in Music Perception? A Multidisciplinary Conceptual Analysis

Andrea Schiavio*, Nikki Moran, Mihailo Antović, Dylan van der Schyff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To what extent can we understand and account for music perception as a creative process? In this paper we draw on recent work in music, creativity, and the cognitive humanities to suggest that the fundamentally creative aspect of music perception is not yet satisfactorily examined in existing research. We briefly review the state of scholarship into both creativity and music perception, and identify key points of convergence, which are prominent in work that investigates the mutuality of action and perception, and the exploratory bases of the latter, among others. Inspired by a growing number of contributions in 4E music cognition research, we argue that listening to music can involve mechanisms of active bodily engagement, along with the imaginative exploration of novel possibilities for thought and action. We put forward the view that this approach is important because of the way in which it can bring to the analytical centre stage a creative dimension that may not otherwise be apparent. The contribution of this paper involves this presentation of a multidisciplinary framework for the study of music perception, highlighting the integration of perception and action, and foregrounding this conception of creative cognition as a central aspect of music perception.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalMusic and Science
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2022


  • Action-perception coupling
  • embodiment
  • music perception
  • musical creativity
  • musical experience

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