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So to speak

Diana Deutsch wrote:

I’m flattered that Eliot Handelman writes that ‘Diana actually IS singing’, but can assure you that before I noticed this effect in my commentary on my CD ‘Musical illusions and paradoxes’ neither I nor anyone else believed I was singing. And in one experiment described in the ASA/ASJ meetings, we had subjects listen to the phrase ten times, and each time they notated what they heard on a five point scale from ‘exactly like speech’ to ‘exactly like singing’ . The subjects overwhelmingly chose ‘speech’ on the first iteration, but by the tenth they had swung over to ‘singing’.

I was suggesting that the perception of singing is not an illusory effect in case the signal does, in fact,
happen to expose exactly the sort of information that music does. Whether it was intended that way or not
is not relevant to how it might be perceived. What I found interesting was that it was possible for me to hear
you singing, if I may so put it, in such a way as to lead me to believe that you were speaking.

Obviously, it may take a second or two to realize that we're hearing music -- depending on what the
music is we're hearing. The second time I heard the fragment it suddenly became tonicized and on the
third time everything had organized itself around relations of the tonal system. Certain perceptual recognizers
do apparently need to kick in, and some sort of cognitive process needs to analyze the domain
(generalizing the tones to a tonic, a stress grid, etc).

As I suggested earlier, I think it would helpful to discover a minimal context for triggering the music analysis system,
a note, chord, fragment of the melody, etc. I predict that with a simple and minimalistic musical setup, a majority of
people will immediately hear that you are, in fact, singing, whether planned that way or not.
-- eliot