Creativity and musical theory: “Invenzione musicale” by Renata Zatti

The following paper has been published in the http://www.eas-music.org site, and presented at the EAS Conference 2012, The Hague (European Association for Music in Schools). If you are interested in reading the complete article but do not have institutional access to http://www.eas-music.org site, please contact me.

Laura Zattra, “The relation between creativity and musical theory: Invenzione musicale by Renata Zatti”

Invenzione musicale (Musical invention) is a book by Renata Zatti (1932-2003) that will be published posthumous [1]. Invenzione musicale is an unusual manuscript that may be read as an unconventional handbook for young composers and a novel as well. The contents of this article establish the type of musical education that should be used in a teacher-pupil relationship, as outlined by Renata Zatti. Musical creativity should be an interplay between the two poles of the complete liberty based on inner competences and a guided technical learning. It has been said that composition cannot be taught and the most the teacher can do is to guide the student in his/her work [2]. Musician and self-taught composer Renata Zatti [3] wrote a book in the ‘80s trying to show this vision.

The book is staged as a Plato’s dialogue, and it is based on two characters: the teacher (R. Zatti) and the pupil (Carlo). This character really existed: Carlo was born in 1970 and took very pleasant musical lessons, as he recalls, with his aunt during the first half of the ‘80s. The materials they produced became materials for the book. The narration follows the progression of creative exercises in musical simple compositions, in terms of musical theory, forms, traditional and modern harmony (examples are taken from XVII to XX Century). The dialogue follows the interwoven and dynamic act of creating, planning, doing, and readjusting.

The research I am presenting can be located in the framework of musicological research, philological research (all known sources pertaining the generative process of this book were gathered: working documents, letters, memos, and sketches) and, more specifically, in the teaching of music to young students. This paper presents the main findings of the study of this book and its writing, with competences and issues from which music teachers could benefit.

[1] Renata Zatti, Invenzione musicale, (L. Zattra ed.), Padova, Cleup, forthcoming.

[2] Margaret Lucy Wilkins, Creative Music Composition. The young composer’s voice, New York – London, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2006.

[3] Laura Zattra, Musica e famiglia. L’avventura artistica di Renata Zatti, Padova, Cleup, 2010.

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