Creativity and collaboration in the recording studio: an empirical study

Thompson, Paul
Creativity and collaboration in the recording studio: an empirical study. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

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There is increasing evidence that creativity is the result of a dynamic system of interaction where the individual is only one part. Csikszentmihalyi describes a ‘creative system’ that includes three main elements: the domain, the field and the individual (Csikszentmihalyi: 1988, 1997, 1999 & 2004). During creative work, the individual must draw from the domain in order to select a suitable arrangement of ingredients from this body of knowledge and symbol system. This selection of ingredients is then presented to the field, the social organization that recognises, uses and alters the domain, to decide upon its creativity and inclusion into the domain (Csikszentmihalyi, 1997). In the context of rock music this occurs when the completed record is released to the public and the field of rock record production (TV, radio, popular music press, other musicians, engineers and producers etc.) decides upon the record’s novelty and its relevant addition to the domain through an often complex and iterative process. However, little has been written from a creative system’s perspective about what happens inside the recording studio before the record is released. Consequently, the interaction of the creative system’s main elements during smaller acts of creativity, such as the individual generation of ideas, and the collaborative exchanges that take place during group creativity, have been relatively underexplored.This thesis explores the creative process of making a rock recording inside the recording studio using the framework of the creative system. Ethnographic methods such as participant-observation, video and sound recording were used to observe the interaction between the performing musicians, the engineer and the record producer as they collaborated during the recording process. This helped to reveal the complex interaction between the participants and the creative system’s main elements during the creative tasks of performing, engineering and producing. Importantly, it helped to show for the first time that this interaction occurred on both an individual level and a group level, and highlighted how a creative-systems approach can be used to gain a more detailed and in-depth understanding of musical creativity more generally.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: Date: 2015-10-26 (completed)
Subjects: ?? M1 ??
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2016 16:48
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2022 04:43
DOI: 10.17638/02033799