Spontaneous creativity: An overview of theories crucial to musical idea generation

Keywords: creative process; Involuntary Musical Imagery; musical creativity; musical epiphany; creative cognition


The aim of this article is to present selected concepts related to idea generation in musical com-position. Different approaches towards creativity are discussed in order to delineate how they describe spontaneous creativity. The typological view of composers and theories of the creative process are discussed. Further advances in studies of creative cognition are scrutinized: research on unconscious and conscious processes in creation, followed by the development of the concept of innovative Involuntary Musical Imagery (InMI) in composers. Current research on internal auditory phenomena suggests that composers’ InMI can be potentially innovative and serve composers as a source of ready ideas to be used in their compositions. The current overview is informed by cognitive sciences and creative process studies, especially compositional studies.


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