This book presents a detailed analysis of what it means to be absorbed in playing music. Based on interviews with one of the world’s leading classical ensembles, “The Danish String Quartet”, it debunks the myth that experts cannot reflect while performing, but also shows that intense absorption is not something that can be achieved through will, intention, prediction or planning – it remains something individuals have to be receptive to. Based in the phenomenological tradition of Husserl and Merleau-Ponty as (...) well as of Dan Zahavi and Shaun Gallagher, it lays out the conditions and essential structures of musical absorption. Employing the lived experience of the DSQ members, it also engages and challenges core ideas in phenomenology, philosophy of mind, enactivism, expertise studies, musical psychology, flow theory, aesthetics, dream and sleep studies, psychopathology and social ontology, and proposes a method that integrates phenomenology and cognitive science. (shrink)
This is the first comprehensive book-length introduction to the philosophy of Western music that fully integrates consideration of popular music and hybrid musical forms, especially song. Its author, Andrew Kania, begins by asking whether Bob Dylan should even have been eligible for the Nobel Prize in Literature, given that he is a musician. This motivates a discussion of music as an artistic medium, and what philosophy has to contribute to our thinking about music. Chapters 2-5 investigate (...) the most commonly defended sources of musical value: its emotional power, its form, and specifically musical features (such as pitch, rhythm, and harmony). In chapters 6-9, Kania explores issues arising from different musical practices, particularly work-performance (with a focus on classical music), improvisation (with a focus on jazz), and recording (with a focus on rock and pop). Chapter 10 examines the intersection of music and morality. The book ends with a consideration of what, ultimately, music is. (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 fifteen essays-one new, two newly revised and expanded, three with new postscripts-Kendall L. Walton wrestles with philosophical issues concerning music, metaphor, empathy, existence, fiction, and expressiveness in the arts. These subjects are intertwined in striking and surprising ways. By exploring connections among them, appealing sometimes to notions of imagining oneself in shoes different from one's own, Walton creates a wide-ranging mosaic of innovative insights.
How human musical experience emerges from the audition of organized tones is a riddle of long standing. In _The Musical Representation_, Charles Nussbaum offers a philosophical naturalist's solution. Nussbaum founds his naturalistic theory of musical representation on the collusion between the physics of sound and the organization of the human mind-brain. He argues that important varieties of experience afforded by Western tonal art music since 1650 arise through the feeling of tone, the sense of movement in musical space, cognition, (...) emotional arousal, and the engagement, by way of specific emotional responses, of deeply rooted human ideals. Construing the art music of the modern West as representational, as a symbolic system that carries extramusical content, Nussbaum attempts to make normative principles of musical representation explicit and bring them into reflective equilibrium with the intuitions of competent listeners. The human mind-brain, writes Nussbaum, is a living record of its evolutionary history; relatively recent cognitive acquisitions derive from older representational functions of which we are hardly aware. Consideration of musical art can help bring to light the more ancient cognitive functions that underlie modern human cognition. (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.
Kathleen Higgins argues that the arguments that Plato used to defend the ethical value of music are still applicable today. Music encourages ethically valuable attitudes and behavior, provides practice in skills that are valuable in ethical life, and symbolizes ethical ideals.
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)
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)
Introduction -- The type/token theory introduced -- Motivating the type/token theory : repeatability -- Nominalist approaches to the ontology of music -- Musical anti-realism -- The type/token theory elaborated -- Types I : abstract, unstructured, unchanging -- Types introduced and nominalism repelled -- Types as abstracta -- Types as unstructured entities -- Types as fixed and unchanging -- Types II : platonism -- Introduction : eternal existence and timelessness -- Types and properties -- The eternal existence of properties reconsidered (...) -- Types and patterns -- Defending the type/token theory I -- Unstructuredness and analogical predication -- Musical works as fixed and unchanging -- Abstractness and audibility (again) -- Works and interpretations -- Conclusion and resumé -- Defending the type/token theory II : musical platonism -- Platonism it is : replies to Anderson and Levinson -- The existence conditions of works of music -- Composition as creative discovery -- The nature of the compositional process : replies to objections -- Composition and aesthetic appraisal : a reply to Levinson -- Composition and aesthetic appraisal : understanding, interpretation, and correctness -- Musical works as continuants : a theory rejected -- A theory introduced -- Explicating and motivating the continuant view -- The continuant view and repeatability -- Further objections to the continuant view -- Musical works as compositional actions : a critique -- Currie's action-type hypothesis -- Davies's performance theory -- Sonicism I : against instrumentalism -- Sonicism introduced -- Sonicism motivated : moderate empiricism -- Instrumentation : timbral sonicism introduced -- Scores -- Instrumentation, artistic properties, and aesthetic content -- Levinson's rejoinder -- Sonicism II : against contextualism -- Introduction : formulating contextualism -- Contextualist ontological proposals -- Levinson's doppelgänger thought-experiments -- Artistic, representational, and object-directed expressive properties -- Aesthetic and non-object-directed expressive properties -- Conclusion : the place of context. (shrink)
In his article “The Ontology of Musical Versions: Introducing the Hypothesis of Nested Types,” Nemesio Puy raises a hypothesis that continuity of the purpose is both a necessary and a sufficient condition for musical work’s identity. Puy’s hypothesis is relevant to two topics in cognitive psychology and experimental philosophy. The first topic is the prevalence of teleological reasoning about various objects and its influence on persistence and categorization judgments. The second one is the importance of an artist’s intention in the (...) categorization of artworks. We tested the teleological hypothesis across three studies. Vignettes in these three studies describe a musical work being changed in some of these aspects: purpose either changed or retained; score either changed or retained; change is made either by the same or a different composer. The results suggest that teleological considerations impact judgments on the persistence of musical works, but this impact appears to be relatively weak. The results also suggest that persistence judgments strongly depend on whether acoustical properties were changed, while whether the change was made by the original composer seems to be relatively unimportant. (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)
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)
From our first social bonding as infants to the funeral rites that mark our passing, music plays an important role in our lives, bringing us closer to one another. In _The Music between Us_, philosopher Kathleen Marie Higgins investigates this role, examining the features of human perception that enable music’s uncanny ability to provoke, despite its myriad forms across continents and throughout centuries, the sense of a shared human experience. Drawing on disciplines such as philosophy, psychology, musicology, (...) linguistics, and anthropology, Higgins’s richly researched study showcases the ways music is used in rituals, education, work, healing, and as a source of security and—perhaps most importantly—joy. By participating so integrally in such meaningful facets of society, Higgins argues, music situates itself as one of the most fundamental bridges between people, a truly cross-cultural form of communication that can create solidarity across political divides. Moving beyond the well-worn takes on music’s universality, _The Music between Us_ provides a new understanding of what it means to be musical and, in turn, human. (shrink)
This volume presents a new collection of essays on music by Jerrold Levinson, one of the most prominent philosophers of art today. The essays are wide-ranging and represent some of the most stimulating work being done within analytic aesthetics. Three of the essays are previously unpublished, and four of them focus on music in the jazz tradition.
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)
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)
This is the first musicological study entirely devoted to a comprehensive analysis of musical Holocaust representations in the Western art music tradition. Through a series of chronological case studies grounded in primary source analysis, Amy Lynn Wlodarski analyses the compositional processes and conceptual frameworks that provide key pieces with their unique representational structures and critical receptions. The study examines works composed in a variety of musical languages - from Arnold Schoenberg's dodecaphonic A Survivor from Warsaw to Steve Reich's minimalist (...) Different Trains - and situates them within interdisciplinary discussions about the aesthetics and ethics of artistic witness. At the heart of this book are important questions about how music interacts with language and history; memory and trauma; and politics and mourning. Wlodarski's detailed musical and cultural analyses provide new models for the assessment of the genre, illustrating the benefits and consequences of musical Holocaust representation in the second half of the twentieth century. (shrink)
Stephen Davies taught philosophy at the University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. His research specialty is the philosophy of art. He is a former President of the American Society for Aesthetics. His books include Definitions of Art (Cornell UP, 1991), Musical Meaning and Expression (Cornell UP, 1994), Musical Works and Performances (Clarendon, 2001), Themes in the Philosophy of Music (OUP, 2003), Philosophical Perspectives on Art (OUP, 2007), Musical Understandings and Other Essays on the Philosophy of Music (OUP, 2011), (...) The Artful Species: Aesthetics, Art, and Evolution (OUP, 2012), The Philosophy of Art (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016 second ed.), and Adornment: What Self-decorations Tells Us about Who We Are, (Bloomsbury Academic, 2020). (shrink)
What is the difference between a performance of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony and the symphony itself? What does it mean for musicians to be faithful to the works they perform? To answer this question, Goehr combines philosophical and historical methods of enquiry. She describes how the concept of a musical work emerged as late as 1800, and how it subsequently defined the norms, expectations, and behavior characteristic of classical musical practice. Out of the historical thesis, Goehr draws philosophical conclusions about the (...) normative functions of concepts and ideals. She also addresses current debates amongst conductors, early-music performers, and avant-gardists. (shrink)
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.
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)
Paintings of music are a significant presence in modern art. They are cross-modal representations, aimed at representing music, say, musical works or forms, using colors, lines, and shapes in the visual modality. This article aims to provide a conceptual framework for understanding paintings of music. Using examples from modern art, the article addresses the question of what a painting of music is. Implications for the aesthetic appreciation of paintings of music are also drawn.
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)
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 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)
Building on Philip Tagg’s timely intervention (2011), I investigate four things in relation to three dominant Anglophone popular music studies journals (Popular Music and Society, Popular Music, and the Journal of Popular Music Studies): 1) what interdisciplinarity or multidisciplinarity means within popular music studies, with a particular focus on the sites of research and the place of ethnographic and/or anthropological approaches; 2) the extent to which popular music studies has developed canonic scholarship, and the (...) citation tendencies present within scholarship on both Western and non-Western popular musics; 3) the motivations for two scholarly groups, Dancecult and ASARP, to breakaway from popular music studies; 4) the forms of music analysis and the kinds of musical material commonly employed within popular music studies. I suggest that the field would greatly benefit from a true engagement with anthropological theories and methods, and that the “chaotic conceptualization” of musical structuration and the critical discourse would likewise benefit from an attention to recorded sound and production aesthetics. (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)
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)
Everyone agrees that musical works are individuated by essential elements such as tone, harmony, and rhythm. Some argue that timbre or instrumentation can individuate musical works, too. I argue here that there can be a further element of musical works: spatial location. Some works of music are partly constituted by the location and motion of their sound sources. I begin by describing works of spatial music and arguing that they exist. I then consider the implications for the ontology (...) of music. Hardcore formalists cannot allow for spatial music. I argue that two other views, which allow a close relationship between sounds and musical works, can allow for works of spatial music. However, their ability to do so turns on issues in the philosophy of sound. I appeal to work in philosophy of sound to show that music is an art not just of hearing, but of sounds. (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)
Inventors in the age of the Enlightenment created lifelike androids capable of playing music on real instruments. _Music and the Forms of Life_ examines the link between such simulated life and music, which began in the era's scientific literature and extended into a series of famous musical works by Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. Music invented auditory metaphors for the scientific elements of life—drive, pulse, sensibility, irritability, even metabolism—investigated the affinities and antagonisms between life and mechanism, and explored (...) questions of whether and how mechanisms can come to life. The resulting changes in the conception of both life and music had wide cultural resonance at the time and have continued to evolve since. A critical part of that evolution was a nineteenth-century shift in focus from moving androids to the projection of life in motion, culminating in the invention of cinema. Weaving together cultural and musical practices, Lawrence Kramer traces these developments through a collection of case studies ranging from classical symphonies to modernist projections of waltzing specters by Mahler and Ravel to a novel linking Bach's _Goldberg Variations_ to the genetic code. (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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)