For 4E cognitive science, minds are embodied, embedded, enacted, and extended. Proponents observe that we regularly ‘offload’ our thinking onto body and world: we use gestures and calculators to augment mathematical reasoning, and smartphones and search engines as memory aids. I argue that music is a beyond-the-head resource that affords offloading. Via this offloading, music scaffolds access to new forms of thought, experience, and behaviour. I focus on music’s capacity to scaffold emotional consciousness, including the self-regulative processes (...) constitutive of emotional consciousness. In developing this idea, I consider the ‘material’ and ‘worldmaking’ character music, and I apply these considerations to two case studies: music as a tool for religious worship, and music as a weapon for torture. (shrink)
What are musical works? Are they discovered or created? Can recordings substitute faithfully for live performances? This book considers these and other intriguing questions. It first outlines the nature of musical works, their relation to performances, and their notational specification; it then considers authenticity in performance, musical traditions, and recordings. Comprehensive and original, the volume discusses many kinds of music, applying its conclusions to issues as diverse as the authentic performance movement, the cultural integrity of ethnic music, and (...) the implications of the dominance of recorded over live music. (shrink)
In Absolute Music: The History of an Idea, author Mark Evan Bonds examines how writers have struggled to isolate the essence of music in ways that account for its profound effects on the human spirit. By carefully tracing the evolution of absolute music from Ancient Greece through the Middle Ages to twentieth-century America, Bonds provides the first comprehensive history of this pivotal concept, and provokes new thoughts on the essence of music and how this essence explains (...)music's effect. A long awaited book from one of the most respected senior scholars in the field. (shrink)
I argue for an enactive account of musical experience — that is, the experience of listening ‘deeply’(i.e., sensitively and understandingly) to a piece of music. The guiding question is: what do we do when we listen ‘deeply’to music? I argue that these music listening episodes are, in fact, doings. They are instances of active perceiving, robust sensorimotor engagements with and manipulations of sonic structures within musical pieces. Music is thus experiential art, and in Nietzsche’s words, ‘we (...) listen to music with our muscles’. This paper attempts to explicate and defend this claim. First, I discuss enactive approaches to consciousness and cognition generally. Next, I apply an enactive model of perceptual consciousness to the experience of listening to music. To clarify what is at stake, I use Peter Kivy’s ‘enhanced formalism’ as a philosophical foil. I then look at how the animate body shapes musical experience. (shrink)
There is a popular theory in the metaphysics of time according to which time is one of four similar dimensions that make up a single manifold that is appropriately called spacetime. One consequence of this thesis is that changing an object’s orientation in the manifold does not change its intrinsic features. In this paper I offer a new argument against this popular theory. I claim that an especially good performance of a particularly beautiful piece of music, when oriented within (...) the manifold in the normal way, adds to the intrinsic value of the world, but that if the same performance is turned sideways within the manifold, so that it involves a number of different notes spread out in space and all occurring at the same time, then it does not add the same intrinsic value to the world. (shrink)
I explain a tension between musical creationism and the view that there is no vague existence. I then suggest ways to reconcile these views. My central conclusion is that, although some versions of musical creationism imply vague existence, others do not. I discuss versions of musical creationism held by Jerrold Levinson, Simon Evnine, and Kit Fine. I also present two new versions. I close by considering whether the tension is merely an instance of a general problem raised by artifacts, both (...) abstract and concrete. I argue that on at least one defensible account of music the tension is especially problematic for abstracta. I focus on musical works, but much of the paper straightforwardly applies to other kinds of abstract artifacts. (shrink)
In “Flourish,” Martin Seligman maintained that the elements of well-being consist of “PERMA: positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment.” Although the question of what constitutes human flourishing or psychological well-being has remained a topic of continued debate among scholars, it has recently been argued in the literature that a paradigmatic or prototypical case of human psychological well-being would largely manifest most or all of the aforementioned PERMA factors. Further, in “A Neuroscientific Perspective on Music Therapy,” Stefan Koelsch also (...) suggested that “Music therapy can have effects that improve the psychological and physiological health of individuals,” so it seems plausible that engaging in practices of music can positively contribute to one living a more optimally flourishing life with greater psychological well-being. However, recent studies on music practice and participation have not yet been reviewed and integrated under the PERMA framework from positive psychology to further explore and explicate this possibility. This article therefore contributes to extant work by reviewing recent research on psychological well-being and music to offer support for the claim that music practice and participation can positively contribute to one living a flourishing life by positively influencing their emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment. (shrink)
Building on Elliot and SilvermanÕs (2015) embodied and enactive approach to musicing, I argue for an extended approach: namely, the idea that music can function as an environmental scaffolding supporting the development of various experiences and embodied practices that would otherwise remain inaccessible. I focus especially on the materiality of music. I argue that one of the central ways we use music, as a material resource, is to manipulate social spaceÑand in so doing, manipulate our emotions. Acts (...) of musicing, thought of as processes of environmental space manipulation, are thus examples of what I term Òemotional niche construction.Ó I explore three dimensions of this process and appeal to different strands of empirical work to support this picture. (shrink)
This chapter offers the beginning of an enactive account of auditory experience—particularly the experience of listening sensitively to music. It investigates how sensorimotor regularities grant perceptual access to music qua music. Two specific claims are defended: (1) music manifests experientially as having complex spatial content; (2) sensorimotor regularities constrain this content. Musical content is thus brought to phenomenal presence by bodily exploring structural features of music. We enact musical content.
Vladimir Jankélévitch left behind a remarkable uvre steeped as much in philosophy as in music. His writings on moral quandaries reflect a lifelong devotion to music and performance, and, as a counterpoint, he wrote on music aesthetics and on modernist composers such as Fauré, Debussy, and Ravel. Music and the Ineffable brings together these two threads, the philosophical and the musical, as an extraordinary quintessence of his thought. Jankélévitch deals with classical issues in the philosophy of (...)music, including metaphysics and ontology. These are a point of departure for a sustained examination and dismantling of the idea of musical hermeneutics in its conventional sense. Music, Jankélévitch argues, is not a hieroglyph, not a language or sign system; nor does it express emotions, depict landscapes or cultures, or narrate. On the other hand, music cannot be imprisoned within the icy, morbid notion of pure structure or autonomous discourse. Yet if musical works are not a cipher awaiting the decoder, music is nonetheless entwined with human experience, and with the physical, material reality of music in performance. Music is "ineffable," as Jankélévitch puts it, because it cannot be pinned down, and has a capacity to engender limitless resonance in several domains. Jankélévitch's singular work on music was central to such figures as Roland Barthes and Catherine Clément, and the complex textures and rhythms of his lyrical prose sound a unique note, until recently seldom heard outside the francophone world. (shrink)
It has often been claimed, and frequently denied, that music derives some or all of its artistic value from the relation in which it stands to the emotions. This book presents and subjects to critical examination the chief theories about the relationship between the art of music and the emotions.
If musical works are abstract objects, which cannot enter into causal relations, then how can we refer to musical works or know anything about them? Worse, how can any of our musical experiences be experiences of musical works? It would be nice to be able to sidestep these questions altogether. One way to do that would be to take musical works to be concrete objects. In this paper, we defend a theory according to which musical works are concrete objects. In (...) particular, the theory that we defend takes musical works to be fusions of performances. We defend this view from a series of objections, the first two of which are raised by Julian Dodd in a recent paper and the last of which is suggested by some comments of his in an earlier paper. (shrink)
I respond to Kersten’s criticism in his article “Music and Cognitive Extension” of my approach to the musically extended emotional mind in Krueger (2014). I specify how we manipulate—and in so doing, integrate with—music when, as active listeners, we become part of a musically extended cognitive system. I also indicate how Kersten’s account might be enriched by paying closer attention to the way that music functions as an environmental artifact for emotion regulation.
This is a long-awaited reissue of Jerrold Levinson's 1990 book which gathers together the writings that made him a leading figure in contemporary aesthetics. These highly influential essays are essential reading for debates on the definition of art, the ontology of art, emotional response to art, expression in art, and the nature of art forms.
I defend a model of the musically extended mind. I consider how acts of “musicking” grant access to novel emotional experiences otherwise inaccessible. First, I discuss the idea of “musical affordances” and specify both what musical affordances are and how they invite different forms of entrainment. Next, I argue that musical affordances – via soliciting different forms of entrainment – enhance the functionality of various endogenous, emotiongranting regulative processes, drawing novel experiences out of us with an expanded complexity and phenomenal (...) character. I argue that music therefore ought to be thought of as part of the vehicle needed to realize these emotional experiences. I appeal to different sources of empirical work to develop this idea. (shrink)
Recently, a number of philosophers have defended a novel, materialist view on the nature of musical works—musical perdurantism. According to this view, musical works are a peculiar kind of concreta, namely perduring mereological sums of performances and/or other concrete entities. One problem facing musical perdurantism stems from the thought that if this view is correct, then virtually no musical work can exist in a continuous, non-intermittent fashion. The aim of this paper is to expound this problem and show that it (...) cannot be plausibly solved by a musical perdurantist. (shrink)
In Flourish, the positive psychologist Seligman (2011) identifies five commonly recognized factors that are characteristic of human flourishing or well-being: (1) “positive emotion,” (2) “relationships,” (3) “engagement,” (4) “achievement,” and (5) “meaning” (p. 24). Although there is no settled set of necessary and sufficient conditions neatly circumscribing the bounds of human flourishing (Seligman, 2011), we would mostly likely consider a person that possessed high levels of these five factors as paradigmatic or prototypical of human flourishing. Accordingly, if we wanted to (...) go about the practical task of actually increasing our level of well-being, we ought to do so by focusing on practically increasing the levels of the five factors that are characteristic of well-being. If, for instance, an activity such as musical engagement can be shown to positively influence each or all of these five factors, this would be compelling evidence that an activity such as musical engagement can positively contribute to one’s living a flourishing life. I am of the belief that psychological research can and should be used, not only to identify and diagnose maladaptive psychological states, but identify and promote adaptive psychological states as well. In this article I advance the hypothesis and provide supporting evidence for the claim that musical engagement can positively contribute to one’s living a flourishing life. Since there has not yet been a substantive and up-to-date investigation of the possible role of music in contributing to one’s living a flourishing life, the purpose of this article is to conduct this investigation, thereby bridging the gap and stimulating discussion between the psychology of music and the psychology of well-being. (shrink)
In Flourish, the positive psychologist Martin Seligman (2011) identifies five commonly recognized factors that are characteristic of human flourishing or wellbeing: (1) “positive emotion,” (2) “relationships,” (3) “engagement,” (4) “achievement,” and (5) “meaning” (p. 24). Although there is no settled set of necessary and sufficient conditions neatly circumscribing the bounds of human flourishing (Seligman, 2011), we would mostly likely consider a person that possessed high levels of these five factors as paradigmatic or prototypical of human flourishing. Accordingly, if we wanted (...) to go about the practical task of actually increasing our level of wellbeing, we ought to do so by focusing on practically increasing the levels of the five factors that are characteristic of wellbeing. If, for instance, an activity such as musical engagement can be shown to positively influence each or all of these five factors, this would be compelling evidence that an activity such as musical engagement can positively contribute to one’s living a flourishing life. I’m of the belief that psychological research can and should be used, not only to identify and diagnose maladaptive psychological states, but identify and promote adaptive psychological states as well. In this article I advance the hypothesis and provide supporting evidence for the claim that musical engagement can positively contribute to one’s living a flourishing life. Since there has not yet been a substantive and up-to-date investigation of the possible role of music in contributing to one’s living a flourishing life, the purpose of this article is to conduct this investigation, thereby bridging the gap and stimulating discussion between the psychology of music and the psychology of wellbeing. (shrink)
This study investigated whether musical training and bilingualism are associated with enhancements in specific components of executive function, namely, task switching and dual-task performance. Participants belonging to one of four groups were matched on age and socioeconomic status and administered task switching and dual-task paradigms. Results demonstrated reduced global and local switch costs in musicians compared with non-musicians, suggesting that musical training can contribute to increased efficiency in the ability to shift flexibly between mental sets. On dual-task performance, musicians also (...) outperformed non-musicians. There was neither a cognitive advantage for bilinguals relative to monolinguals, nor an interaction between music and language to suggest additive effects of both types of experience. These findings demonstrate that long-term musical training is associated with improvements in task switching and dual-task performance. (shrink)
Quarantine and spatial distancing measures associated with COVID-19 resulted in substantial changes to individuals’ everyday lives. Prominent among these lifestyle changes was the way in which people interacted with media—including music listening. In this repeated assessment study, we assessed Australian university students’ media use throughout early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, and determined whether media use was related to changes in life satisfaction. Participants were asked to complete six online questionnaires, capturing pre- and during-pandemic experiences. The results (...) indicated that media use varied substantially throughout the study period, and at the within-person level, life satisfaction was positively associated with music listening and negatively associated with watching TV/videos/movies. The findings highlight the potential benefits of music listening during COVID-19 and other periods of social isolation. (shrink)
Music and language are universal human abilities with many apparent similarities relating to their acoustics, structure, and frequent use in social situations. We might therefore expect them to be understood and processed similarly, and indeed an emerging body of research suggests that this is the case. But the focus has historically been on the individual, looking at the passive listener or the isolated speaker or performer, even though social interaction is the primary site of use for both domains. Nonetheless, (...) an important goal of emerging research is to compare music and language in terms of acoustics and structure, social interaction, and functional origins to develop parallel accounts across the two domains. Indeed, a central aim of both of evolutionary musicology and language evolution research is to understand the adaptive significance or functional origin of human music and language. An influential proposal to emerge in recent years has been referred to as the social bonding hypothesis. Here, within a comparative approach to animal communication systems, I review empirical studies in support of the social bonding hypothesis in humans, non-human primates, songbirds, and various other mammals. In support of this hypothesis, I review six research fields: (i) the functional origins of music; (ii) the functional origins of language; (iii) mechanisms of social synchrony for human social bonding; (iv) language and social bonding in humans; (v) music and social bonding in humans; and (vi) pitch, tone and emotional expression in human speech and music. I conclude that the comparative study of complex vocalizations and behaviors in various extant species can provide important insights into the adaptive function(s) of these traits in these species, as well as offer evidence-based speculations for the existence of “musilanguage” in our primate ancestors, and thus inform our understanding of the biology and evolution of human music and language. (shrink)
What is consciousness? Why and when do we have it? Where does it come from, and how does it relate to the lump of squishy grey matter in our heads, or to our material and social worlds? While neuroscientists, philosophers, psychologists, historians, and cultural theorists offer widely different perspectives on these fundamental questions concerning what it is like to be human, most agree that consciousness represents a 'hard problem'. -/- The emergence of consciousness studies as a multidisciplinary discourse addressing these (...) issues has often been associated with rapid advances in neuroscience-perhaps giving the impression that the arts and humanities have arrived late at the debating table. The longer historical view suggests otherwise, but it is probably true that music has been under-represented in accounts of consciousness. Music and Consciousness aims to redress the balance: its twenty essays offer a timely and multi-faceted contribution to consciousness studies, critically examining some of the existing debates and raising new questions. -/- The collection makes it clear that to understand consciousness we need to do much more than just look at brains: studying music demonstrates that consciousness is as much to do with minds, bodies, culture, and history. Incorporating several chapters that move outside Western philosophical traditions, Music and Consciousness corrects any perception that the study of consciousness is a purely occidental preoccupation. And in addition to what it says about consciousness the volume also presents a distinctive and thought-provoking configuration of new writings about music. (shrink)
The subject of musical emotions has emerged only recently as a major area of research. While much work in this area offers fascinating insights to musicological research, assumptions about the nature of emotional experience seem to remain committed to appraisal, representations, and a rule-based or information-processing model of cognition. Over the past three decades alternative ‘embodied’ and ‘enactive’ models of mind have challenged this approach by emphasising the self-organising aspects of cognition, often describing it as an ongoing process of dynamic (...) interactivity between an organism and its environment. More recently, this perspective has been applied to the study of emotion in general, opening up interesting new possibilities for theory and research. This new approach, however, has received rather limited attention in musical contexts. With this in mind, we critically review the history of music and emotion studies, arguing that many existing theories offer only limited views of what musical-emotional experience entails. We then attempt to provide preliminary grounding for an alternative perspective on music and emotion based on the enactive/dynamic systems approach to the study of mind. (shrink)
Extended cognition holds that cognitive processes sometimes leak into the world (Dawson, 2013). A recent trend among proponents of extended cognition has been to put pressure on phenomena thought to be safe havens for internalists (Sneddon, 2011; Wilson, 2010; Wilson & Lenart, 2014). This paper attempts to continue this trend by arguing that music perception is an extended phenomenon. It is claimed that because music perception involves the detection of musical invariants within an “acoustic array”, the interaction between (...) the auditory system and the musical invariants can be characterized as an extended computational cognitive system. In articulating this view, the work of J. J. Gibson (1966, 1986) and Robert Wilson (1994, 1995, 2004) is drawn on. The view is defended from several objections and its implications outlined. The paper concludes with a comparison to Krueger’s (2014) view of the “musically extended emotional mind”. (shrink)
Opinionated and example-filled, this extremely concise and accessible book provides a survey of some fundamental and longstanding debates about the nature of music. The central arguments and ideas of historical and contemporary philosophers are presented with the goal of making them as accessible as possible to general readers who have no background in philosophy. The emphasis is on instrumental music, but examples are drawn from many cultures as well as from Western classical, jazz, folk, and popular music.
Music can be described as sequences of events that are structured in pitch and time. Studying music processing provides insight into how complex event sequences are learned, perceived, and represented by the brain. Given the temporal nature of sound, expectations, structural integration, and cognitive sequencing are central in music perception (i.e., which sounds are most likely to come next and at what moment should they occur?). This paper focuses on similarities in music and language cognition research, (...) showing that music cognition research provides insight into the understanding of not only music processing but also language processing and the processing of other structured stimuli. The hypothesis of shared resources between music and language processing and of domain-general dynamic attention has motivated the development of research to test music as a means to stimulate sensory, cognitive, and motor processes. (shrink)
The scientific investigation of music requires contributions from a diverse array of disciplines. Given the diverse methodologies, interests and research targets of the disciplines involved, we argue that there is a plurality of legitimate research questions about music, necessitating a focus on integration. In light of this we recommend a pluralistic conception of music—that there is no unitary definition divorced from some discipline, research question or context. This has important implications for how the scientific study of (...) class='Hi'>music ought to proceed: we show that some definitions are complementary, that is, they reflect different research interests and ought to be retained and, where possible, integrated, while others are antagonistic, they represent real empirical disagreement about music’s nature and how to account for it. We illustrate this in discussion of two related issues: questions about the evolutionary function of music, and questions of the innateness of music. These debates have been, in light of pluralism, misconceived. We suggest that, in both cases, scientists ought to proceed by constructing integrated models which take into account the dynamic interaction between different aspects of music. (shrink)
What is music, what is its value, and what does it mean? In this stimulating volume, Roger Scruton offers a comprehensive account of the nature and significance of music from the perspective of modern philosophy. The study begins with the metaphysics of sound. Scruton distinguishes sound from tone; analyzes rhythm, melody, and harmony; and explores the various dimensions of musical organization and musical meaning. Taking on various fashionable theories in the philosophy and theory of music, he presents (...) a compelling case for the moral significance of music, its place in our culture, and the need for taste and discrimination in performing and listening to it. Laying down principles for musical analysis and criticism, this bold work concludes with a theory of culture--and a devastating demolition of modern popular music. "A provocative new study."--The Guardian. (shrink)
In this volume, Zangwill develops a view of the nature of music and our experience of music that foregrounds the aesthetic properties of music. He focuses on metaphysical issues about aesthetic properties of music, psychological issues about the nature of musical experience, and philosophy of language issues about the metaphorical nature of aesthetic descriptions of music. Among the innovations of this book, Zangwill addresses the limits of literal description, generally, and in the aesthetic case. He (...) also explores the social and political issues about musical listening, which tend to be addressed more in continental traditions. (shrink)
In ‘Listening to Music Together’, Nick Zangwill offers three arguments which aim to establish that listening to music can never be a joint activity. If any of these arguments were sound, then our experiences of music, qua object of aesthetic attention, would be essentially private. In this paper, I argue that Zangwill’s arguments are unsound and I develop an account of shared musical experience that defends three main conclusions. First, joint listening is not merely possible but a (...) common feature of our socially situated experiences of music. Second, when listening with others our experience of the music and our sense of community with our fellow listeners often reciprocally enhance one another. Third, how deeply and intimately we share a musical experience with others depends upon such factors as our respective backgrounds, interests, and levels of expertise. (shrink)
Why do humans make music? Theories of the evolution of musicality have focused mainly on the value of music for specific adaptive contexts such as mate selection, parental care, coalition signaling, and group cohesion. Synthesizing and extending previous proposals, we argue that social bonding is an overarching function that unifies all of these theories, and that musicality enabled social bonding at larger scales than grooming and other bonding mechanisms available in ancestral primate societies. We combine cross-disciplinary evidence from (...) archeology, anthropology, biology, musicology, psychology, and neuroscience into a unified framework that accounts for the biological and cultural evolution of music. We argue that the evolution of musicality involves gene–culture coevolution, through which proto-musical behaviors that initially arose and spread as cultural inventions had feedback effects on biological evolution because of their impact on social bonding. We emphasize the deep links between production, perception, prediction, and social reward arising from repetition, synchronization, and harmonization of rhythms and pitches, and summarize empirical evidence for these links at the levels of brain networks, physiological mechanisms, and behaviors across cultures and across species. Finally, we address potential criticisms and make testable predictions for future research, including neurobiological bases of musicality and relationships between human music, language, animal song, and other domains. The music and social bonding hypothesis provides the most comprehensive theory to date of the biological and cultural evolution of music. (shrink)
Evidence suggests that humans might have neurological specializations for music processing, but a compelling adaptationist account of music and dance is lacking. The sexual selection hypothesis cannot easily account for the widespread performance of music and dance in groups (especially synchronized performances), and the social bonding hypothesis has severe theoretical difficulties. Humans are unique among the primates in their ability to form cooperative alliances between groups in the absence of consanguineal ties. We propose that this unique form (...) of social organization is predicated on music and dance. Music and dance may have evolved as a coalition signaling system that could, among other things, credibly communicate coalition quality, thus permitting meaningful cooperative relationships between groups. This capability may have evolved from coordinated territorial defense signals that are common in many social species, including chimpanzees. We present a study in which manipulation of music synchrony significantly altered subjects’ perceptions of music quality, and in which subjects’ perceptions of music quality were correlated with their perceptions of coalition quality, supporting our hypothesis. Our hypothesis also has implications for the evolution of psychological mechanisms underlying cultural production in other domains such as food preparation, clothing and body decoration, storytelling and ritual, and tools and other artifacts. (shrink)
The notion of affordance has been introduced by Gibson as the feature of an object or the environment that allows the observer to perform an action, a set of “environmental supports for an organism’s intentional activities”. Studied under very different perspectives, this concept has become a crucial issue not only for the ecological psychology, but also for cognitive sciences, artificial intelligence studies, and philosophy of mind. This variety of approaches has widened the already ambiguous definition originally provided by Gibson, contributing (...) to the development of different standpoints in open contrast with each other. During the last two decades, moreover, many researchers tried to extend the notion also to musical experience, aiming to draw a coherent theory of musical affordances. In this paper, we will argue for a particular concept of musical affordances, that is, as we see it, one narrower and less ambiguous in scope and more closely related to its original. Taking the discovery of canonical neurons as our starting point, we will introduce the general notion of affordance, discuss some significant contributions in this area of research, mostly focusing on musical affordances and propose a motor-based interpretation of musical affordances. (shrink)
In this chapter, I discuss the kinds of understanding expected of and evinced by skilled listeners, performers, analysts, and composers. I confine the discussion to Western, purely instrumental music, mainly with the classical tradition in mind. And I refer primarily to the Anglophone literature of "analytic" philosophy of music. As will become apparent, my concern is with an analysis that maps what are meant to be familiar aspects of musical experience. I investigate the various understandings expected of an (...) accomplished listener, the performer, the music analyst, and the composer. (shrink)
This paper is an exploration of how we do things with music—that is, the way that we use music as an esthetic technology to enact micro-practices of emotion regulation, communicative expression, identity construction, and interpersonal coordination that drive core aspects of our emotional and social existence. The main thesis is: from birth, music is directly perceived as an affordance-laden structure. Music, I argue, affords a sonic world, an exploratory space or nested acoustic environment that further affords (...) possibilities for, among other things, (1) emotion regulation and (2) social coordination. When we do things with music, we are engaged in the work of creating and cultivating the self, as well as creating and cultivating a shared world that we inhabit with others. I develop this thesis by first introducing the notion of a musical affordance . Next, I look at how emotional affordances in music are exploited to construct and regulate emotions. I summon empirical research on neonate music therapy to argue that this is something we emerge from the womb knowing how to do. I then look at social affordances in music, arguing that joint attention to social affordances in music alters how music is both perceived and appropriated by joint attenders within social listening contexts. In support, I describe the experience of listening to and engaging with music in a live concert setting. Thinking of music as an affordance-laden structure thus reaffirms the crucial role that music plays in constructing and regulating emotional and social experiences in everyday life. (shrink)
In this essay, I investigate musical silence. I first discuss how to integrate the concept of silence into a general theory or definition of music. I then consider the possibility of an entirely silent musical piece. I begin with John Cage’s 4′33″, since it is the most notorious candidate for a silent piece of music, even though it is not, in fact, silent. I conclude that it is not music either, but I argue that it is a (...) piece of non-musical sound art, rather than simply a piece of theatre, as Stephen Davies has argued. I end with consideration of several other candidates for entirely silent pieces, concluding that two of these are in fact pieces of music consisting entirely of silence. (shrink)
Basic Emotion theory has had a tremendous influence on the affective sciences, including music psychology, where most researchers have assumed that music expressivity is constrained to a limited set of basic emotions. Several scholars suggested that these constrains to musical expressivity are explained by the existence of a shared acoustic code to the expression of emotions in music and speech prosody. In this article we advocate for a shift from this focus on basic emotions to a constructionist (...) account. This approach proposes that the phenomenon of perception of emotions in music arises from the interaction of music’s ability to express core affects and the influence of top-down and contextual information in the listener’s mind. We start by reviewing the problems with the concept of Basic Emotions, and the inconsistent evidence that supports it. We also demonstrate how decades of developmental and cross-cultural research on music and emotional speech have failed to produce convincing findings to conclude that music expressivity is built upon a set of biologically pre-determined basic emotions. We then examine the cue-emotion consistencies between music and speech, and show how they support a parsimonious explanation, where musical expressivity is grounded on two dimensions of core affect (arousal and valence). Next, we explain how the fact that listeners reliably identify basic emotions in music does not arise from the existence of categorical boundaries in the stimuli, but from processes that facilitate categorical perception, such as using stereotyped stimuli and close-ended response formats, psychological processes of construction of mental prototypes, and contextual information. Finally, we outline our proposal of a constructionist account of perception of emotions in music, and spell out the ways in which this approach is able to make solve past conflicting findings. We conclude by providing explicit pointers about the methodological choices that will be vital to move beyond the popular Basic Emotion paradigm and start untangling the emergence of emotional experiences with music in the actual contexts in which they occur. -/- . (shrink)
This book is a philosophical study of the relations between hearing and thinking about music. The central problem it addresses is as follows: how is it possible to talk about what a listener perceives in terms that the listener does not recognize? By applying the concepts and techniques of analytic philosophy the author explores the ways in which musical hearing may be described as nonconceptual, and how such mental representation contrasts with conceptual thought. The author is both philosopher and (...) musicologist and uniquely combines the perspectives of both disciplines. Exploring the philosophical questions of mental representation in the relatively neglected, nonverbal domain of music, this study is a major contribution to the philosophical understanding of music perception and cognitive theory. (shrink)