An analysis of the artistic creative process : as experienced in the writing of an opera

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
2006
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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. Access is restricted indefinitely. ----- The writing of an opera has provided the opportunity for an in depth investigation of the artistic creative process. The discipline from which observations are made in this study is that of music composition but it is inextricably linked to that of libretto writing which includes multimedial ideation and imaging in music, poetry and drama. This investigation works on the premise that each art discipline, such as music composition, music improvisation, painting or poetry, has a creative process that needs to be approached as being unique. Factors that bear heavily upon the flow of artistic creative expression, such as aesthetic sensitivities, the nature of the personality, the mastery of skills, theoretical and domain knowledge, passions, past personal traumas as well as an individual’s artistic, emotional and intellectual involvement in a particular art form, involve intrinsic factors not applicable to creativity in other non-artistic fields, and indeed are different in every artistic creative project undertaken. The implications of this are not well realised in the fields of compositional practice, education and teaching practice at all levels. This study seeks to contribute some insight into the problem. It employs various methodological approaches as investigating and restraining devices in the observing, recording and analysing of the experience of writing of an opera, including phenomenological, autobiographical, psychological and case techniques. As the study had the intention of reaching the essence of a phenomenon, to explore, analyse and explain through direct experience, an autophenomenological methodology was appropriate. Numerous significant findings were made. Whilst the stages of the process appear from afar to follow a universal sequence, when investigated in depth at first hand, the process is found to be dynamic and interactive. Each “stage” and relevant facet of the psyche becomes part of an organic system dependent upon and responsive to observable forces. In relation to the source of ideas, it was possible to demonstrate the genesis of much of the work, and to dispel ideas of ex nihilo. Likewise, with respect to ideation, it was demonstrated that sub-conscious mentation was fully aware (unto itself) of the boundaries and rules of conceptual spaces. With respect to the phenomenon of how images appear in the mind, two sub-processes were described. In the first, termed Mode One, completed passages were available in the mind as if learned for performance. The other, termed Mode Two was a far more complicated process. Other findings related to conducive and inhibitive influences and to causes of interference in the flow of creative thought. A theory that encompassed all findings was formulated. Findings and implications drawn have significance for teachers of skills and those teaching for creativity. They have significance in education at all levels from early childhood to the teaching of artistic creative expression in high schools; they have significance in teacher training; they can have significance for those teaching aural, theory and composition in specialist music institutions and for practising composers; they can have significance for researchers in the area of artistic creativity.
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