Shannon on the reading group theme, ‘Music in the predictive brain’

Post by Shannon Proksch:

“Any introduction to music theory class will tell you that music is a complex interchange of moments of tension juxtaposed with moments of release. Through practised study, or passive listening, we learn to anticipate, expect, and predict these patterns of tension and release in the music that surrounds us—framing our emotional and social engagement with music and others in our musical world.

 “Expectation and prediction constitute central mechanisms in the perception and cognition of music” Rohrmeier & Koelsch, 2011

How does a bunch of sound in a messy sensory environment become a musical perception in our mind? How does emotion serve to regulate, or emerge from, our musical experience? How can musical rhythm provide insight into human perception?

 “Minds are ‘wired’ for expectation” Huron, 2006

“Brains…are essentially prediction machines” Clark, 2013

“A mind is fundamentally an anticipator, an expectation generator” Dennet 1996

Our reading group sessions this semester are going to cover a broad introduction to the interdisciplinary study of predictive processing in music, to help us grasp how expectation shapes our perception in music and beyond. I’ve suggested a range of papers that examine the musical brain through a look at work in empirical musicology, music psychology, neuroscience, cognitive science, and philosophy.”

About Nikki

Nikki is Senior Lecturer in Music at Edinburgh University.
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