Improvising Optimal Experience: Flow Theory in the Keith Jarrett Trio Public Deposited

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Last Modified
  • March 19, 2019
  • Blake, Jamie
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Music, Musicology Graduate Program
  • The music of Keith Jarrett reveals an artist deeply invested in the experience of each moment, a pursuit guiding his perception, improvisational decisions, and the construction of his performance environment. Jarrett has discussed how he conceives his improvisational practices, breaking down complex simultaneous processes into personae with distinct, but interrelated, functions. Jarrett’s descriptions of these personae and their individual and cooperative responsibilities suggest a clear link between his creative process and the autotelic experience described by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi’s flow theory. In examining Jarrett’s work through this lens, it is possible to observe the synthesis of his improvisational methodologies and philosophies as they developed over his career. Building on the research of Csíkszentmihályi and Elina Hytönen-Ng, this study probes the role of flow in performance and the work that flow theory can accomplish when utilized in jazz studies, improvisation studies and more broadly in performance studies.
Date of publication
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Palfy, Cora
  • Garcia, David
  • Anderson, Stephen
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2016

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