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Genius and the MindStudies of Creativity and Temperament$
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Andrew Steptoe

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198523734

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198523734.001.0001

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Historical developments of expert performance: public performance of music

Historical developments of expert performance: public performance of music

(p.66) (p.67) Chapter 4 Historical developments of expert performance: public performance of music
Genius and the Mind

Andreas C. Lehmann

K. Anders Ericsson

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the issue of whether it is really necessary to attribute unique capacities to particular individuals. It also examines the possibility that their creative achievements can be explained by factors based on cultural conditions, environmental factors, and acquired skills. The other basic strand is training and experience, and these are addressed by this chapter. In a number of domains, it has been shown that elite performers have engaged in substantially more deliberate practice than their less competent peers, and have frequently begun to work at their skills from an earlier age. The chapter attempts something even more difficult here, by evaluating the development of expert performance in an historical record. The chosen field is music, particularly piano playing. The chapter uses an innovative method of comparing keyboard virtuosi of different eras, from. S. Bach to the present time. The analyses suggest that the acquisition of instrumental performance skills has accelerated over the past 250 years. At the highest levels, the musical prodigies of the twentieth century have obtained levels of expertise at much earlier ages than did the prodigies of the past.

Keywords:   unique capacities, creative achievement, cultural conditions, environmental factors, acquired skills, training, experience, music

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