Meaning-making and creativity in musical entrainment

Andrea Schiavio, Maria A G Witek, Jan Stupacher

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In this paper we suggest that basic forms of musical entrainment may be considered as intrinsically creative, enabling further creative behaviors which may flourish at different levels and timescales. Rooted in an agent's capacity to form meaningful couplings with their sonic, social, and cultural environment, musical entrainment favors processes of adaptation and exploration, where innovative and functional aspects are cultivated via active, bodily experience. We explore these insights through a theoretical lens that integrates findings from enactive cognitive science and creative cognition research. We center our examination on the realms of groove experience and the communicative and emotional dimensions of music, aiming to present a novel preliminary perspective on musical entrainment, rooted in the fundamental concepts of meaning-making and creativity. To do so, we draw from a suite of approaches that place particular emphasis on the role of situated experience and review a range of recent empirical work on entrainment (in musical and non-musical settings), emphasizing the latter's biological and cognitive foundations. We conclude that musical entrainment may be regarded as a building block for different musical creativities that shape one's musical development, offering a concrete example for how this theory could be empirically tested in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1326773
Number of pages14
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2024

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© 2024 Schiavio, Witek and Stupacher

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