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Re: They sometimes behave so strangely

Peter Lennox wrote:
As you've implied, the mystery is not so much that repetitions evince the perception of musicality, but rather that 'normally', we don't hear music.
I've often wondered on this in respect of environmental sounds - why do we not hear a "musical world"?
That is what numerous composers have tried to do for the past almost one hundred years, to get us to hear the world in more musical terms. I think the reason we do not do this on an everyday basis is because it is contrary to the demands of our normal everyday functioning in a complex acoustic environment. If you get so caught up in the musicality of a soundscape, you will fail to notice important things, like all the people honking at you who are about to hit you (a particular danger in countries such as Morocco). For everday listening, what is important is the nature of a sound source and its location. Those are different from the goals of musical or linguistic listening. If you are presented with a soundscape that is sufficiently different from what you are accustomed to, you may indeed notice the musicality of it, just as you can hear the musicality of an exotic language. But if you lived there everyday and had to hear and respond to the sounds in an appropriate manner, I suspect the musicality would soon go away. Which is necessarily not bad thing.

Brian Gygi
East Bay Institute for Research and Education