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What Drives Creativity In Compositions?

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One important driver of creativity is the sense of adventure to be had, bought on by the desire to explore and exploit material. This requires an open and flexible approach. Another driver is limitation in the form of self-imposed restricted musical parameters.

Invention (idiomatic and musical) is also an important spur and driver for creativity and imv, its influence and effectiveness as a contributor to the creative act cannot be understated. Imagination too, the ability to mentally improvise without limitation - to musically fantasise, is a decisive factor. Sound/timbre and unusual combinations can instigate a work or spur a work on as can just one chord (Stravinsky Violin Concerto for example) or a short motif.

Jonathan Harvey in his book 'Music and Inspiration' also talks about imaginary audiences envisaged during composition. This can be from just one person to any amount of people. A composer may have a particular performer in mind whilst writing, one who's performance style and sound appeals to the composers sensibilities. If a work is commissioned then a whole range of factors and considerations come into creative play, from the practical to the aesthetic. Maxwell Davies in his 'Strathclyde' series of concertos has written for many players he knows very well and that personal connection will have informed and infused his creative choices.
 

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Reminds me of composers writing opera and crafting arias for the great singers of the day. The best composers here, for example Handel never exploited the vocal bravura at the expense of drama (unlike numerous other Baroque composers who wrote spectacular arias to show off the singer rather than the character's emotional spirit). This together with the art of improvisation that many great composers of the past had a real knack for (thanks to that type of musical training in their early years that made improvisation all part and parcel) gave them a special creative zest that I think bring out that sensibility for composer, performer and audience.
Improvisation never went out of fashion for composers of course and is still a major part of a their arsenal today. The improvisation can be mental as well as physical.
These days it's fair to say that technology also plays a major role creatively speaking too.
 

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I don't think it has completely vanished but I think it is less common. Mental improvisation is difficult to assess properly though.
I believe you are mistaken about the decline of improvising by today's composers, it can be an essential exploratory tool that can often lead directly to worthwhile finds. Of the composers I know, they would certainly agree with me on this.
 

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There is a natural creative aspect of the mind that must remain wild and beyond command . This , for the artist , is consciously protected . The ways and means of doing that may make the creative one appear very eccentric .
come on... a composer is no idiot, neither he should be insane... for writing a music piece is a serious business, especially if you intend creating a masterpiece.
I'd argue that a composer's imagination has to be allowed to run free, sometimes go with the flow. This can be done coherently with a solid foundation of experience and technique to guide or underpin. Things come up during the process of composition that can alter the course of a piece and should not always be denied. The unexpected is often linked to inspired moments. Zhdanov is correct though imv for there is no point in having a great idea if one can't dress it up properly and present it correctly.
 

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I think it might be a mistake to only blame conservatories/academics for any adherence by todays composers to music beyond tonality. There is of course peer pressure and a zeitgeist, but there always has been but good composers will always want to explore and search, to creatively probe their own boundaries and prejudices regardless of any creative 'politics'. Composing is after all an individual and personal pursuit - a journey - and part of that is a natural inclination, imperative even, to develop regardless of opinion from listeners or peers..

Many aural vistas have been opened up in the last 100 years or so and the pluralism in styles is quite exciting I find.
 

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I don't doubt it can be but it just sounds lame; of all things to drive the composer's "psychological and creative spur", it's a commercial deadline.
Anything commercial about a deadline does not necessarily equate to cheapening the quality of a work. Bach had to hit deadlines, so did any composer of Opera or any composer ever commissioned. A deadline is better than lounging around in a silk dressing gown, lolling around with hand on forehead in a scented room awaiting the muse. It only sounds lame perhaps to a layperson, most pros will understand what a boon (and admittedly perhaps a terrifying ride), a deadline of any sort can be.
Most will also understand that simply just waiting for a tune to pop into one's head is time wasted.
 

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You need to appreciate the difference in history. Bach was employed by his masters and churches to produce music; vast amounts of music, and his creativity was ever so strong to write church cantatas every Sunday for service. Baroque composers were ever so prolific in part because that was their job, "when next week comes, we want a new composition" almost like a factory churning out goods. Times are now different. Today, composers are approached by commission to write something. John Corigliano, currently 83 years old, has about one hundred compositions to his name, averaging out one or two compositions per year assuming he started writing at age about 20. All the time in the world, yet so little output?
Comparing circumstance and output is pointless and means nothing.
 

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Sorry, I thought you compared Bach's hitting of compositional deadlines earlier.
I didn't compare two composers to justify the detriment of one of them which is what you did in post91 hence my post 92. Comparing the outputs of Bach and Corigliano means nothing. My mention of Bach was due to your skepticism about commissioned work.
 

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You made a general comment about Bach and any composer ever commissioned. So I was adding an example to that.
The general comment was in response to your disparaging remarks about commissioning and its effect on creativity is all. Like I say, (again), comparing the output of Bach and Corigliano in a way that questions Corigliano is fatuous.
 
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