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Book Announcement: "What is Music? Solving a Scientific Mystery"

To the auditory.org list:

"What is Music? Solving a Scientific Mystery" is a book I have written
to explain my "super-stimulus" theory of music. The theory states that
music is a super-stimulus for the perception of "musicality", where
"musicality" is a perceived aspect of speech.

The primary audience for the book is anyone involved in or interested
in music science, but it will also be of interest to those of you
studying speech perception. In particular, the theory places quite
strong constraints on the nature of cortical maps which process
speech, because each aspect of music must be a super-stimulus for a
corresponding cortical map (or part of a cortical map, depending on
exactly what is considered to be one "cortical map"), where each such
cortical map corresponds to an aspect of speech perception.

For example, harmony is an aspect of music, which involves the
perception of consonant relationships between simultaneous pitch
values, yet there are no simultaneous pitch values in speech. However,
some forms of harmony have both sequential and simultaneous forms, in
particular chords. A chord can be played all notes together or one
note at a time, and the same chord is perceived in both cases. This
suggests that there exists some cortical map which responds to the
consonant relationships between pitch values, whether those pitch
values occur simultaneously or sequentially. The true purpose of this
cortical map, on the assumption that it represents an aspect of speech
perception, must be to perceive consonant relationships between pitch
values occurring at different times within a single speech melody.

That was a brief treatment of just one aspect of music -- the book
deals with others including musical scales, regular beats, home chords
and repetition. It also deals with musical symmetries and calibration,
and it includes some general discussion of the issues surrounding
scientific attempts to understand what music is.

The book's website ( at http://whatismusic.info/ ) contains a basic
description of the concepts in the theory and a link to an online PDF
preview. There are some discussions of newer theoretical developments,
including analyses of the papers "The Statistical Structure of Human
Speech Sounds Predicts Musical Universals" (Schwartz, Howe and Purves)
and "Pitch is determined by naturally occurring periodic sounds"
(Schwartz and Purves).

Philip Dorrell.

Web:   http://www.1729.com/
Email: http://www.1729.com/email.html  (current email address on page)