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Generative Processes in MusicThe Psychology of Performance, Improvisation, and Composition$
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John Sloboda

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780198508465

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198508465.001.0001

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From collections to structure: the developmental path of tonal thinking

From collections to structure: the developmental path of tonal thinking

(p.260) 11 From collections to structure: the developmental path of tonal thinking
Generative Processes in Music

Lyle Davidson

Patricia Welsh

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at the processes by which music students of differing expertise construct a melody, having been given certain conditions that the melody must fulfil. The analysis yields some tempting pointers as to the nature of compositional expertise. The more expert group worked with larger units, as shown by the size of section they would play over. They also engaged in more reflection, while the less experienced group worked in an enactive fashion, for example trying out possibilities at random until hitting on one that ‘worked’. The study also highlights the dissociation of skills at this level. Even very gifted performers can be ‘poor’ composers without specific practice.

Keywords:   tonal thinking, tonality, musical problem, key, melody, enactive processes

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