Tracking the creative process in music

This conference, whose first edition was organized by Nicolas Donin and Vincent Tiffon in Lille (France) in 2011, brings together researchers interested in artistic creativity and the study of processes of musical and sound creation of the past and present. Researchers working on this cluster of problems from a wide variety of specialities (history, music analysis, genetic criticism, psychology, cognitive sciences, sociology, ethnomusicology, anthropology, etc.) are invited to assess the different methodologies developed in last thirty years in their respective areas in an interdisciplinary perspective. Each approach contributes in its own way to the advancement of our understanding of the procedures, techniques, knowledge and know-how employed by musicians involved in creative projects.

Tracking the creative process in music

With the epistemological paradigm shifts that musicology underwent at the end of the last century, the notion of ‘creative process’ has been enriched. Sketch studies has extended its scope beyond notated works of art music.  Today this field includes all (learned and popular) contemporary musical repertories as well as the oral, technological and collaborative dimensions of the creative process in music. There is growing interest, for example, in the function of improvisation and of gesture in the creative process, in the collective and collaborative dimensions of artistic work, in the redefinition of the roles of the composer and the performer, in the evolution of the metier of the studio technician/producer/computer music designer and in the strategies of documentation, transmission and future performance of works for combined instrumental and electronic means as well as interactive works, etc. The complexity and the multidimensionality of this field of study requires new analytical tools and new research methods at the crossroads of analytical musicology, social science and other scientific disciplines–between field work and cognitive experimentation.


This broadening of the field also provides a new context for genetic studies of works and composers from the Western musical canon. Whether based on historical archives or on the collection of empirical data, studies of the creative process in music share many of the same methodological requirements,  descriptive vocabulary and models of creative action. This conference therefore aims to be a forum in which the most recent results produced by the well established tradition of sketch studies can meet the complementary or alternative paradigms emerging from other repertoires or approaches.




OICRM: Observatoire interdisciplinaire de création et de recherche en musique.

IRCAM: Institut de Recherche et de Coordination Acoustique/Musique (Paris), Analysis of Musical Practices Research team.

With the collaboration of the Faculty of Music, Université de Montréal, the CIRMMT (Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology) and the Schulich School of Music, McGill University.

The conference is place under the patronage of ESCOM (European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music).