Download On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind by Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis PDF

By Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis

Winner of the Wallace Berry Award, Society for song Theory

What is it in regards to the tune you're keen on that makes you need to listen it again?

Why will we crave a "hook" that returns, repeatedly, in the similar piece?

And how does a tune turn out getting caught on your head?

Whether it is a motif repeated all through a composition, a pattern looped lower than an digital dance beat, a passage replayed ceaselessly by way of a musician in a tradition room-or an "earworm" burrowing via your brain like a damaged record-repetition is almost as necessary to tune because the notes themselves. Its centrality has been said by way of everybody from evolutionary biologist W. Tecumseh Fitch, who has known as it a "design characteristic" of song, to the composer Arnold Schoenberg who admitted that "intelligibility in track appears to be like most unlikely with out repetition." And but, stunningly little is basically understood approximately repetition and its position in music.

On Repeat offers the 1st in-depth inquiry into music's repetitive nature, focusing no longer on a selected type, or physique of labor, yet on repertoire from throughout time sessions and cultures. writer Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis attracts on a various array of fields together with tune thought, psycholinguistics, neuroscience, and cognitive psychology, to appear head-on on the underlying perceptual mechanisms linked to repetition. Her paintings sheds gentle on quite a number concerns from repetition's use as a compositional software to its function in characterizing our habit as listeners, after which strikes past track to think about comparable implications for repetition in language, studying, and communique.

Written in enticing prose, and enlivening another way complicated strategies for the expert and non-specialist alike, On Repeat will captivate students and scholars throughout a variety of disciplines from track conception and heritage, to psychology and neuroscience-and somebody desirous about the puzzle of repetition in song.

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Additional resources for On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind

Example text

This hyper-repetitiveness, the parent hopes, not only shows the infant where the word boundaries lie, but also builds memory of its phonemic content and associations to its semantic referent. Musical repetition might also be profitably conceptualized as a way to teach people how to listen to the piece at hand—to guide them to the proper level of attention (see Margulis, 2012), and to underline the entities considered important.  27). This link to musical process makes it instructive to examine repetition’s didactic aims in infant-directed speech.

Chapter 6 examines performed repetition more systematically; here it is sufficient to note that this book largely uses notated repetition as an imperfect but pragmatic proxy for acoustic repetition. Passages where pitches, durations, and notated timbral and dynamic levels repeat are treated as acoustic repetitions, although in reality, subtle qualities in microtiming, voicing, and dynamics distinguish the so-called repetitions from one another. This notation-centric conception of musical identity is well explored historically and philosophically in Lydia Goehr’s The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works (2007), and is a conception that has seeped even into musical traditions that don’t generally rely on notation.

This chapter offers a few preliminary observations. First, to remember a passage of music requires an uncommonly extended duration of time—the duration it took to play the passage in the first place. Remembering a passage entails mentally replaying it; thus, musical repetitions are quite like musical memories. This resemblance draws us in, and encourages a sort of embodiment of the sound—the music is doing objectively just what we imagined it to, subjectively—that is by its very nature pleasurable.

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