musicians in space






Methodological considerations - Method and process

Methodolgical considerations

Research method

The ephemeral nature of musical improvisation, coupled with the recognition that no two approaches to improvisation are alike, has led to the adoption of a heuristics based research method for this study. Heuristics is a form of phenomenology, based on humanistic psychology and Michael Polanyi's notion of personal (1962) and Tacit knowledge (1967). It positions the researcher within the process itself, where he/she is able to draw on personal experience, insights, and tacit responses, in the form of hunches, to guide the reflection process. It then returns the findings of the process back to the creative practice, in the form of a final 'creative synthesis', celebrating the potential for a sense of knowingness to come from the act of 'doing' that may not necessarily be able to be put into words.

The method also emphasizes the individual contributions made by the research participants, by not removing the experience from the individual in an attempt to arrive at a definitive description of the phenomenon. Instead, heuristics relies on the shared and varied experiences of the free improvisers and listeners involved to support the emerging hunches and insights of the researcher. In this way, the process fosters a close relationship between all concerned, in a process aimed to elucidate the nature, meaning and essence of the free improvised music performance.


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