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Distributed CreativityCollaboration and Improvisation in Contemporary Music$
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Eric F. Clarke and Mark Doffman

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199355914

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199355914.001.0001

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Distributed cognition, ecological theory and group improvisation

Distributed cognition, ecological theory and group improvisation

(p.52) 3 Distributed cognition, ecological theory and group improvisation
Distributed Creativity

Adam Linson

Eric F. Clarke

Oxford University Press

This chapter proposes a way to understand the social, distributed and ecological underpinnings of improvised musical activity. It argues that significant aspects of collaborative performance may arise from perceptual, cognitive and action-orientated factors, in relation to prior experience and the broader historical and cultural context. The chapter illustrates ways in which each improviser in a collaboration may attune to different aspects of the circumstances, with idiosyncratic perceptions of the available affordances guided by attentional processes, physical aspects of the human body and musical instrument, and associations with prior experience. The experience of each musician in a collaborative improvisation thus both overlaps with and diverges from those of other musicians in the ensemble. These divergences are as important as the common ground, and are thus essential to any plausible and comprehensive account of collaborative improvisation.

Keywords:   improvisation, collaboration, distributed cognition, ecological theory, affordances, embodiment, action-oriented perception, attention

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