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Musical ImaginationsMultidisciplinary perspectives on creativity, performance and perception$
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David Hargreaves, Dorothy Miell, and Raymond MacDonald

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199568086

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199568086.001.0001

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Spreading activation and dissociation: A cognitive mechanism for creative processing in music

Spreading activation and dissociation: A cognitive mechanism for creative processing in music

Chapter:
(p.124) Chapter 8 Spreading activation and dissociation: A cognitive mechanism for creative processing in music
Source:
Musical Imaginations
Author(s):

Emery Schubert

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199568086.003.0008

From its evolutionary origins, our culture has organized and shaped the role of creativity in music. For example, many people in Western culture will agree that Beethoven was a creative genius, and that his third symphony was a creative work, if not a hallmark of creativity in that era. Cultural momentum has perpetuated and reinforced, and at various times re-invigorated, these kinds of beliefs about creativity. The same is true of the child composing a piece in primary school, or a soloist improvising; our culture has established some more or less unwritten rules about which versions of these products (the composition and improvisation) are creative, or creative to some degree. The evolutionary pressure to be creative was associated with some concomitant use or development of brain function associated with creativity. This chapter explores a cognitive model that can be used to explain the mental functions of creative processing, and particularly for music. It draws on principles of spreading activation in associative networks.

Keywords:   musical creativity, Western music, Western culture, cognitive model, creative processing, spreading activation, associative networks

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