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From the creative drive to the musical product : a psychoanalytic account of musical creativity

Dunn, Rosemary (2021) From the creative drive to the musical product : a psychoanalytic account of musical creativity. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.85998) (KAR id:85998)


This thesis is the result of a life's work dedicated to re-introducing people of all ages to their inherent musicality which, more often than not, has been denied and invalidated by society's rigid adherence to the reified status of `creativity'. The main premise sine qua non is that creativity is no more, and no less, than the re-realization of things that already exist, and that it is indeed the ubiquitous mode of Eros itself (libidinal energy). In explaining the means whereby the existents of music per se are imprinted in the minds of us all, and then why only certain people choose to manipulate these existents into musical compositions, we proceed from the universal experience of intra-uterine life. The importance to us all of sound impingement upon the fetus is explained, for it is revealed to be foundational to the genesis of the Self. However, as each one of us has different sound-experiences, the affective reactions to those experiences inform our unconscious attitudes towards music. These are revealed in our projections into `the containing space of music'. Furthermore, it is posited that, in utero, not only are we initiated through sound-impingements into that which is dissonant to the Self (necessitating integration), but we also acquire three paradigmatic schemes of reference which thereafter inform all that we do. Our aesthetic sense is rooted here too, through tactility and even visibility. Choosing the mode d'emploi of musical composition is first dependent upon extrinsic environmental factors, but the imperative to compose arises intrinsically. The process though, is one available to us all, as we already possess the necessary mental function. This is explicated by Freud as the dream-work. The thesis culminates in a three-way synthesis predicated upon the dynamics of the transference and counter-transference, between the work that takes place in psychoanalysis, the tripartite teleology of a musical work from composer to performer and listener, and the musical structure known as sonata form. The first movement of Beethoven's third symphony, the Eroica is used as exemplar. ' Appendices are designed to accommodate information pertaining to both disciplines, while comments are to be understood as the opinions of no-one else but myself

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.85998
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Musicality
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature on music
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:24 UTC
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2022 21:06 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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