The Act of Musical Composition: Studies in the Creative Process, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Act of Musical Composition

Studies in the Creative Process, 1st Edition

Edited by Dave Collins


312 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781138252394
pub: 2016-10-11
SAVE ~$10.79
Hardback: 9781409434252
pub: 2012-11-07
SAVE ~$33.00
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315612256
pub: 2016-04-01
from $26.98

FREE Standard Shipping!


The study of musical composition has been marked by a didactic, technique-based approach, focusing on the understanding of musical language and grammar -harmony, counterpoint, orchestration and arrangement - or on generic and stylistic categories. In the field of the psychology of music, the study of musical composition, even in the twenty-first century, remains a poor cousin to the literature which relates to musical perception, music performance, musical preferences, musical memory and so on. Our understanding of the compositional process has, in the main, been informed by anecdotal after-the-event accounts or post hoc analyses of composition. The Act of Musical Composition: Studies in the Creative Process presents the first coherent exploration around this unique aspect of human creative activity. The central threads, or key themes - compositional process, creative thinking and problem-solving - are integrated by the combination of theoretical understandings of creativity with innovative empirical work.


’This book should be of interest to teachers of composition (most likely in Higher Education), research students and creativity theorists … a valuable contribution to both music and creativity studies’. Music Education Research

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Empirical and historical musicologies of compositional processes: towards a cross-fertilization, Nicolas Donin; Process, self-evaluation, and lifespan creativity trajectories in eminent composers, Aaron Kozbelt; Musical imagery in the creative process, Freya Bailes and Laura Bishop; Meaningful engagement with music composition, Andrew R. Brown and Steve Dillon; The practice of diverse compositional creativities, Pamela Burnard; Constraint, collaboration and creativity in popular songwriting teams, Joe Bennett; The influence of the extra-musical on the composing process, Shira Lee Katz; Improvisation as real-time composition, Simon Rose and Raymond MacDonald; On computer-aided composition, musical creativity and brain asymmetry, Eduardo Reck Miranda; Defining inspiration? Modelling the non-conscious creative process, Geraint A. Wiggins; Rules, tactics, and strategies for composing music, David Cope; Index.

About the Editor

Dave Collins is Deputy Director of Higher Education at University Centre, Doncaster, a partnership with the University of Hull, having previously held the posts of Reader and Dean of Research. With experience of teaching music across a wide range of ages and abilities he gained his PhD at the University of Sheffield in the psychology of musical composition. He is the founder and editor of the International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media and the founder and advisory editor of the Journal of Music, Technology and Education. His primary interest and associated publications are in the field of creative cognition and music composition and the search for appropriate methods of enquiry.

About the Series

SEMPRE Studies in The Psychology of Music

The theme for the series is the psychology of music, broadly defined. Topics include (i) musical development at different ages, (ii) exceptional musical development in the context of special educational needs, (iii) musical cognition and context, (iv) culture, mind and music, (v) micro to macro perspectives on the impact of music on the individual (from neurological studies through to social psychology), (vi) the development of advanced performance skills and (vii) affective perspectives on musical learning. The series presents the implications of research findings for a wide readership, including user-groups (music teachers, policy makers, parents) as well as the international academic and research communities. This expansive embrace, in terms of both subject matter and intended audience (drawing on basic and applied research from across the globe), is the distinguishing feature of the series, and it serves SEMPRE’s distinctive mission, which is to promote and ensure coherent and symbiotic links between education, music and psychology research.


Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General