Supporting Everyday Creativity in Ubiquitous Music Making

Supporting Everyday Creativity in Ubiquitous Music Making

Damián Keller (Federal University of Acre, Brazil) and Maria Helena de Lima (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0270-8.ch005
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The concept of everyday musical creativity is related to non-professional musical activities carried out in venues not intended for artistic practice. Everyday musical creativity demands technological support to provide access to musical resources by non-musicians and by musicians engaging in musical activities in domestic and public spaces. This chapter covers key aspects of the conceptual ubiquitous music framework and its methodological implications for the support of everyday creative activities. We discuss strategies to enhance music information value within the context of two sets of studies, the first set focusing on the development of an interaction metaphor and the second set dealing with the assessment of technological requirements to support creative musical activities in educational contexts. One of the implications of the methodological framework proposed by ubiquitous music studies is the expanded notion of musical information as a product of creative experience rather than as an abstract symbolic system.
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This chapter highlights the close relationships between ubiquitous music (UbiMus) research and everyday creativity. We discuss recent advances in general creativity studies, defining the domain of application of everyday creativity (Richards et al. 1988; Richards 2007) within the context of ubiquitous music research. We outline a set of experimental variables to be targeted by ecologically grounded design studies, framing two aspects that have not been considered in the musical interaction literature: relational properties and creative biases. Two case studies are discussed, illuminating new strategies for support of everyday musical activities.

Research on everyday musical phenomena has been fostered by the emerging field of ubiquitous music (UbiMus) and by recent studies in ethnomusicology. UbiMus research focuses on the processes underlying everyday creative practices (Keller et al. 2014), while ethnomusicological approaches deal with creative product consumption (Kassabian 2004). Ethnomusicological research emphasizes usage of musical products outside of artistic venues. Complementarily, UbiMus targets support environments for creative practice in everyday settings. Hence UbiMus practice involves the production and manipulation of musical information for creative purposes. Ethnomusicological methods gather data on the usage of musical creative products, providing useful information about the end phase of the creativity chain. We focus on the ubiquitous music framework for the purpose of conceptualizing the study of musical information and the necessary support infrastructure in non-standard venues.

We cover the move toward everyday creative practices that started at the turn of the century, indicating the limitations of instrumentally oriented approaches, technically oriented methods in system design that exclude references to place-related factors, and the conception of creativity as the result of an isolated individual working in closed quarters. An important implication of this discussion is the critical appraisal of musical information as an abstract set of symbols. An alternative view – tuned to the needs of music making by untrained stakeholders and users lacking the support infrastructure of specialized venues – is grounded on the convergent proposals of sociocultural general creativity theory and ecologically inspired creative practices. Two key concepts are highlighted: relational properties and creative biases. We provide two examples of design implementations and experimental results targeting support for creative musical information handling in everyday settings.

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