What is musical intuition? Tonal theory as cognitive science

Philosophical Psychology 12 (4):471 – 501 (1999)
Lerdahl and Jackendoff's Generative Theory of Tonal Music (GTTM) is an important contribution to cognitive science. Jackendoff claims it is a computationalist theory and that the mental representations it postulates are unconscious. Thus GTTM looks to be a kind of cognitive science remote from the folk-psychological. I argue that this picture of GTTM is mistaken: GTTM is at least as much music analysis as cognitive science. Jackendoff's metatheory fails to explain how a listener can tell that a structural description corresponds to the way she hears, how analytically minded listeners can communicate about their hearing, and how a reader of their book can comprehend it. I suggest an alternative construal, on which GTTM's analytical vocabulary functions as a public language and its mental representations are perceptual beliefs. Interesting philosophical problems ensue about knowledge of musical structure and knowledge about what structures one hears. There is a paradox: one wants an analysis to be true to a hearing, yet to be illuminating. Though analysis and hearing coincide in content at an abstract level, they do not coincide in conceptual content. What sort of knowledge then underlies the inference from perceptual to music-analytical representation? I argue that such knowledge is a priori.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/095150899105693
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 27,178
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Mind and World.John McDowell - 1994 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

View all 23 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Aesthetics and Cognitive Science.Dustin Stokes - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (5):715-733.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

50 ( #103,732 of 2,163,682 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #348,043 of 2,163,682 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums