embodiment and (e)motion – assignment and leading questions

Hey folks,

For our discussion on “embodiment and (e)motion”, we’ll do one close reading, and one general. I’d like you to prepare the following:

1. (CLOSE READING) Read Phillips-Silver & Trainor (2007). Some guidance: closely read their definition of meter; decide whether they are trying to interpret ‘autonomous’ systems; see if you can pin-down what ‘auditory encoding’ is; debate whether their results (e.g., PDF p.8) suggest correlation or causality; ask whether you agree with their pithy last line; finally consider whether the study design(s) potentially involves some analysis/learning/conceptual mediation which would confound the putative direct connection between ‘movement’ and ‘listening’ – that is, might there not be some other process in between.

2. (GENERAL) Get a sense of the general tenor across the five articles (i.e., review the abstracts). Then read through Iyer (2002). What’s the point of this article? And please reflect on how important you think kinesthetic/physiological aspects are to your own theoretical work and thinking. We’ll try to talk through some perspectives.

In sum:

1. Read Phillips-Silver & Trainor (2007) closely.

2. Read Iyer (2002).

3. Read the five abstracts.

4. Post after the guidance per item 1.

– S P G

Motor Movement with Expertise

One aspect that I found really interesting in the Rammsayer article was that, “professional musicians develop a motor representation of music (Bangert & Altenmüller 2003; Haslinger et al. 2005) and may therefore need executive functions and motor patterns to deal with demanding tasks of tempo generalization.”

I think there are a lot of potential research questions in that statement, and I will pare down on these in the coming week. For example, when thinking about the motor representation of music, is that a specific type of expertise outside one purely for rhythm? Can people that develop “expertise” in motor representation of music (such as professional dancers) show the same types of rhythmic expertise as do musicians? On another note, it has been suggested that music therapy itself doesn’t necessarily help people with autism spectrum disorder, but the idea of moving to music in a pattern (such as conducting) does; is that a kind of expertise that can be developed as well?

Individual Project Question

I would like to explore the concept of joint drumming and its social implications.  My original interest in this subject stems from music therapy research that uses drumming and improvisation in a group setting for therapeutic gains.  There has been research in this regard with respect to many subjects, including Autism Spectrum Disorder, PTSD, aggression and sexual offender rehabilitation.  I would like to examine the various examples of drumming in music therapy contexts along with evidence of its social effects in general, and perhaps ethnomusicological research into group drumming in various cultures, with the goal of understanding the breadth of drumming’s social effect and musical and rhythmic underpinnings of this effect.  With more preliminary research, this question will become more specific–once I am more aware of the field as a whole I can focus on a more defined aspect of it for my research.

Tempo Trace- Individual project question

*Individual project, depending on the decision of my group this will likely not be my final individual project.  I am quite interested in a question that I had proposed to the group dealing with quantized mappings between relatively prime metric cycle lengths.—This project would likely manifest as a research review and speculative argument.

Here is my alternate question:

Do subtle variations in tempo manifest consistently within a performer’s approach to a repertory?  If so, how might I be able to profitably discuss these consistent variations in a tempo-free environment—so that I could model variation in tempo variations across pieces at different tempi?

I would propose to investigate these variations in variations through the use of Sean Carson’s trace or an adaptation thereof–see: (Carson, Sean H. 2004. “The Trace, Its Relation to Contour Theory and an Application to Elliott Carter’s String Quartet 2.” Integral 18/19 (May): 113–49.).  My basic methodology might be something along the lines of: (1) take multiple single-line instrumental recordings by a single performer at different tempi and establish IOI’s of all adjacent notes; (2) Segment each piece into phrases at some level of grouping structure; (3) Apply Sean Carson’s trace to the IOI data within the phrase; his procedure essentially amounts to taking a polynomial best-fit of the data in a regularized space (his methodology was devised for semi-tone contour space) and using basic integral calculus to compare these regressions; (4) re-trend the data so that the tempo disparities (between the phrases) can now be used as a possible explanation in variability of tempo (within the phrases).

This exploration, as I envision it, would be primarily experimental with a strong emphasis on data analysis.

Schemata and Categorization

Much ink has been spilt on pitch-based categories in music: pitches within specific tuning systems or absolute pitch classifications, dissonance vs. consonance categories, categorical divisions based on scales or chords, schemata based on pitch and harmony patterns. However, categorical perception is also largely important in our perception of temporal parameters. A crucial example is the perception of microtiming. But, how does formation of categories affect our perception of larger time spans: themes, form, or even meter? Are certain formal spans dependent on a temporal dimension (i.e. does a sentence or period DEPEND on its length or can we define the category without a temporal parameter)? Are these temporal dimensions merely conventions arising from the style or genre (i.e. periods as 8 measures within a classical style) or are they due to underlying psychological causes such as cognitive limits? Why is it that, within a classical period or sentence, we tend to hear symmetrical spans – are asymmetrical spans really that unnatural for perception or was symmetry merely a cultural construct?

While many questions arise from this brainstorming, I am ultimately interested in how these mental precepts arise and how they guide our processing of music (preferably during online listening).

Possible starting point: Using established schemata (Gjerdingen?) as temporal stimuli and investigating perception of said percepts with modulations on the temporal domain. Can we perceive these schemata with metrical/rhythmic disparities? Are the temporal parameters vital in the definition of these schemata? (<—I see this more as a pilot study).

Week 5 Assignment

1. Readings: No general readings! Use the time to delve even more deeply into the background research for your group experiment.

2. Student-led discussion: Embodiment & (e)motion (Stephen); check the Forum blog for instructions.

3. Individual Project: If you have not posted a preliminary research question on your individual project tab (a “category”), please do so as soon as possible. I will respond to your post with suggestions on how to proceed.

4. Group experiments: Move on to “Step 2: Background Research” as described on the “group projects” page. Use your private group project website for all discussions and for gathering materials pertaining to your group project. I will review these periodically and provide feedback as necessary. You may edit the look of the page as you wish and add sections as needed, but keep the basic frame as provided.

Research question/background

There is one rhythmic phrase that is nearly ubiquitous across a large and diverse repertoire of Brazilian samba music. It consists of nine attacks in a cycle of sixteen. Theoretically, the rhythm can be conceptualized as a hyperdiatonic rhythm (cf. Clough 1991): it is both maximally even and prime-generated (c=16, d=9, g=7). If two attacks are removed from where the rhythm ‘clumps’, that is, if the ‘semi-tones’ of the hyperdiatonic rhythm are undone such that every interval is either 2 or 3 sixteenths, then a hyperpentatonic rhythm obtains: the complement of the original rhythm and also maximally even and prime-generated. This second rhythm can also be conceptualized as describing a non-isochronous meter, where the faster pulse stream consists of straight sixteenth notes, and the slow consists of a mixture of 5 eighths and 2 dotted eighths. The metric relationship between these two pulse layers can be described, for example, in one rotation, as 2232223. Music theorists are interested in these scales or rhythms—or even metric descriptions—because they feature unique properties. One of these is that they are just as stable (or just as unstable) in any of the other domains produced by even division of the aggregate (c=16). The ‘problem’ with c=16 is that there is only one domain where even division results: multiples of two, or 2-generation, or g=2. However, 3-generation will yield a maximally even rhythm, which like the hyperpentatonic, can also be interpreted as a meter between two pulses, one isochronous and the other non-isochronous.


The question: if theory suggests that a hyperdiatonic rhythm such as the one described will be multi-stabile (or unstable) across several meters due to its special properties, does this empirically appear to be the case? If, for example, the rhythm is played in various metric contexts (just pulses, for simplicity, and for starters), is the rhythm always just as clear, or more/less clear? Does the listener assume one to be more ‘natural’ or ‘simple’ or ‘obvious’ than the other? And so on.

-S P G

Perceiving the so-called continuous exposition

QUESTION: To what extent does the lack of a medial caesura affect out judgment of grouping structure in Hepokoski and Darcy’s so-called continuous exposition?

SOME PRELIMINARY QUESTIONS: Do we actually perceive these as continuous units that lack the clear delineation of a subordinate theme, or are form-functional considerations enough for us to group this music into distinct units (i.e., a transition that is separate from a subordinate theme)? How do similarity relationships factor in? E.g., Are we more likely to identify a subordinate theme if is it begins with a presentation phrase, which by definition contains the immediate repetition of a unit and would thus encourage us to group the two together (see Drake 2003 & references)?

Attention, Entrainment, & Sensorimotor Synchronization

Mari Ries Jones’s “Dynamic Attentional Theory” (DAT) has become the predominant theoretical framework used in the investigation of beat and meter perception in psychological research (for a description of the research conducted at her Ohio State University lab, see http://labs.psy.ohio-state.edu/roar/; the website includes a few PowerPoint presentations by Jones). While this theory was first presented in her article “Time, Our Lost Dimension: Toward a New Theory of Perception, Attention, and Memory” (Jones, 1976), it was the marriage of DAT with Ed Large’s oscillator model (Large & Jones, 1999) that “sealed the deal” for metric entrainment. Up to that time, most studies took a “goodness-of-fit” approach, often relying on some form of internal clock model (e.g., Povel & Essens, 1985; Parncutt’s 1994 “perceptual model of pulse salience”).

One of the most compelling aspect of the metric entrainment model of beat perception is that it is a powerful explanatory model that not only makes sense intuitively (“moving along with the music” is one of the most basic musical behavior, and entrainment is an observable phenomenon in the natural environment), but is also compatible with sophisticated theories about the communication of musical meaning (e.g., Meyer’s and Narmour’s expectation-based theories). Thus, it is not surprising that it has been embraced by psychologically-minded music theories (as represented by London’s 2004 “Hearing in Time”). The concept of entrainment has also caught the attention of several ethnomusicologists whose research had been focused on performance and embodiment (e.g., Clayton’s study of Indian music).

Review Large and Jones’s (1999) theoretical exposition and the experimental study that follows. What aspects of this work do you find most/least compelling? How are the findings “consistent with” the hypotheses derived from this theory? What are some of the limitations of the experimental design? Then, skim through Clayton and colleagues (2005). How is the concept of entrainment defined here, and how does it conform/contrast with Large and Jones’s definition? What are some of applications of the concept to music research as envisioned by Clayton and colleagues? Thinking back to Large and Jones’s experimental design, can you imagine an alternative (or complementary) experimental design that might address some of the limitations you (or the researchers) identified?

Write a preliminary response by Tuesday, September 24, 11:59 PM; the response should focus on at least one of these questions, and connect the two articles.