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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Development of creative expertise in music: A quantitative analysis of the songs of Cole Porter and Irving Berlin
by Hass, Richard W., Ph.D., Temple University, 2008, 111; 3344410
Abstract (Summary)

Previous studies of musical creativity lacked strong foundations in music theory and music analysis. The goal of the current project was to merge the study of music perception and cognition with the study of expertise-based musical creativity. Three hypotheses about the nature of creativity were tested. According to the productive-thinking hypothesis, creativity represents a complete break from past knowledge. According to the reproductive-thinking hypothesis, creators develop a core collection of kernel ideas early in their careers and continually recombine those ideas in novel ways. According to what can be called the field hypothesis, creativity involves more than just the individual creator; creativity represents an interaction between the individual creator, the domain in which the creator works, and the field, or collection of institutions that evaluate creative products. In order to evaluate each hypothesis, the musical components of a sample of songs by two eminent 20th century American songwriters, Cole Porter and Irving Berlin, were analyzed. Five separate analyses were constructed to examine changes in the psychologically salient musical components of Berlin's and Porter's songs over time. In addition, comparisons between hit songs and non-hit songs were also drawn to investigate whether the composers learned from their cumulative songwriting experiences. Several developmental trends were found in the careers of both composers; however, there were few differences between hit songs and non-hit songs on all measures. The careers of both composers contain evidence of productive and reproductive creativity. Implications of the results and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Weisberg, Robert W.
Commitee: Chein, Jason, Hineline, Philip N., Hirsh-Pasek, Kathy, Latham, Edward, Shipley, Thomas F.
School: Temple University
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-B 70/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Music, Cognitive psychology
Keywords: Berlin, Irving, Creativity, Music cognition, Music perception, Popular music, Porter, Cole, Tonality
Publication Number: 3344410
ISBN: 978-1-109-00994-1
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