Cognitive Styles and Computer-Based Creativity Support Systems: Two Linked Studies of Electro-acoustic Music Composers

  • Barry Eaglestone
  • Nigel Ford
  • Peter Holdridge
  • Jenny Carter
  • Catherine Upton
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4969)


This paper explores cognitive style as one of the factors that may explain tensions that can exist between individual electroacoustic composers and the software they use. The discussion centres on two linked studies: (a) a small scale intensive qualitative case study of 2 established composers, in which they unexpectedly revealed differences that mapped remarkably well onto one of the key dimensions of cognitive style identified in the psychological and cognitive literature, namely global and analytic; and (b) a survey, conducted using a web-based questionnaire, of composers’ cognitive styles and approaches to composition. This survey was motivated by study (a). The results of the 2 studies combined suggest that there are characteristic cognitive styles traits within the electroacoustic composer community which correlate with particular approaches to composition and also to levels of satisfaction with composition software. Thus we propose a new area of research, namely, usability studies of computer music software that is sensitive to cognitive styles.


electroacoustic composition cognitive styles composition software 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry Eaglestone
    • 1
  • Nigel Ford
    • 1
  • Peter Holdridge
    • 1
  • Jenny Carter
    • 2
  • Catherine Upton
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Information StudiesUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK
  2. 2.School of ComputingDe Montfort UniversityLeicesterUK

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