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Abstract

In order to understand the foundation of eminence in cultural activities, an attempt was made at learning why some works creators produce are more famous than others. This paper specifically investigates the differential fame of 5,046 themes by 10 eminent composers of classical music. Hypotheses derived from past research in creativity and esthetics were tested using a computerized content analysis. The results show that (a) the fame of a musical theme is a positive linear function of melodic originality (rather then a curvilinear inverted-U function), and (b) melodic originality is a positive function of biographical stress and of historical time, and an inverted backwards-J function of age.