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Music and Collaboration: Rapport, Leadership and the Role of the Individual in Collaborative Processes

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thesis
posted on 08.10.2019, 05:40 by Nat GrantNat Grant

This research investigates the collaborative processes that occur when new creative work is born, with a particular focus on musical collaborations. This thesis is based upon the responses to interviews that were conducted with 25 artists currently engaged in professional collaborative arts practice. Each artist was asked to define collaboration, then to give details of past collaborative experiences. All of the artistsʼ answers and experiences varied, but there were three areas that were of particular interest to all of the participants. These were: the relevance (if any) of rapport within collaborative arts practice, the role of the individual in collaborations, and the place of leadership in collaborations. This thesis shows that many of the artists involved in this study valued some kind of personal rapport within a collaborative project. A number of the artists claimed that it was not possible to separate artistic and personal rapport, and that they only wished to work with artists with whom they had that kind of rapport. But in the absence of a close personal relationship many of the participants in this study valued mutual respect, openness and understanding of personal differences within collaborative processes. Each artist had different experiences of the roles of the individual and of leadership within collaborative projects. This study found that the answers to these questions varied mostly depending on the individual artistʼs role in a particular project, their understanding of that role and their relationship to others in the collaboration. All the artists agreed that it is of utmost importance to be clear of oneʼs role in collaboration in order to function successfully and creatively with other artists. Many of the artists involved in this study also agreed that if a collaborative project is to be led then it should be done so in a non-dictatorial fashion, and that if this is not possible then the project should not be labeled ʻcollaborativeʼ. With this in mind some of the participants in this study amended their definition of collaboration throughout the interview process, as close examination of their experiences sometimes didnʼt match up with their initial thoughts on the subject. The overall results of this thesis are many and varied, and give a detailed insight into current thinking on collaborative processes within music.

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