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Message of twelve-tone serialism for auditory science

Thanks to Bob Gjerdingen for reporting his experience with the appreciation
of twelve-tone serialism.

Actually, beyond the issue of consonance, the episode of twelve-tone
serialism (Hauer, Schönberg, etc.) may be of particular interest for some
other aspects of hearing.

The idea that tones can have a meaning beyond an intervallic context is
today well supported by our knowledge of pitch maps in the auditory brain.
In particular the pitch-class map (chroma map) in the auditory thalamus can
be considered as the primary neural origin of all types of absolute pitch
and absolute tone qualities.


Morest, D.K., 1965. The laminar structure of the medial geniculate body of
the cat. J. Anat. 99, 143-160.

Morel, A., 1980. Codage de sons dans le corps génouille médian du chat:
évaluation de l'organisation tonotopique de ses différents noyaux. Thèse de
l'Université de Lausanne, Faculté des Sciences, Janis Druck und Verlag,
Zürich, pp. 1-154.

Imig, T.J., Morel, A., 1985. Tonotopic organization in ventral nucleus of
medial geniculate body in the cat. J Neurophysiol 53, 309-340. (Note data
series from electrode penetration P1 in their Figs. 6 and 7 showing stepwise
frequency representation with discrete clusters around 0.6, 1.2, and 2.4

Wright, A.A., Rivera, J.J., Hulse, S.H., Shyan, M., Neiworth, J.J., 2000.
Music perception and octave generalization in rhesus monkeys. J. Exp.
Psychol. Gen. 129, 291-307.

Cetas, J.S., Velenovsky, D.S., Price, R.O., Sinex, D.G., McMullen, N.T.,
2001. Frequency organization and cellular lamination in the medial
geniculate body of the rabbit. Hear. Res. 155, 113-123.

Braun, M., 2001. Speech mirrors norm-tones: absolute pitch as a normal but
precognitive trait. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. - Acoust. Res. Lett. Online 2,

Cetas, J.S., Price, R.O., Velenovsky, D.S., Crowe, J.J., Sinex, D.G.,
McMullen, N.T., 2002. Cell types and response properties of neurons in the
ventral division of the medial geniculate body of the rabbit. J. Comp.
Neurol. 445, 78-96.

Braun, M., 2002. Absolute pitch in emphasized speech. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. -
Acoust. Res. Lett. Online 3, 77-82.

Cetas, J.S., Price, R.O., Crowe, J.J., Velenovsky, D.S., McMullen, N.T.,
2003. Dendritic orientation and laminar architecture in the rabbit auditory
thalamus. J. Comp. Neurol. 458, 307-317.

Braun, M., Chaloupka, V. (2005) Carbamazepine induced pitch shift and octave
space representation. Hear. Res. 210, 85-92.

Braun, M. (2006) A retrospective study of the spectral probability of
spontaneous otoacoustic emissions: Rise of octave shifted second mode after
infancy. Hear. Res. 215, 39-46.


Martin Braun
Neuroscience of Music
S-671 95 Klässbol
web site: http://w1.570.telia.com/~u57011259/index.htm

----- Original Message ----- From: "robert gjerdingen" <r-gjerdingen@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <AUDITORY@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Sunday, August 26, 2007 1:41 PM
Subject: Re: sensory consonance

On Aug 25, 2007, at 10:25 PM, PORRES wrote:

for Christ Sake, which world do you live in? Demand a survey for
the obvious? I am speechless

When I hear the deity invoked on Sunday morning concerning sensory consonance, I suspect that we have reached a state that Koreans describe as "Talking East, Hearing West."

Permit me to attempt an analysis of the miscommunication.

There is the world of music heard in ordinary life, a world where the
statistics of performances, recordings, downloads, and degrees of
recognizability count.  That would appear to be Martin Braun's

There is the world of music conservatories and departments, where
various (sometimes erroneous) standard narratives are taught
concerning the history and craft of music.  That would appear to be
the reference for Martin's perplexed respondents.

I once studied in a conservatory with one of Schoenberg's best pupils
(Leonard Stein). I once worked in a dot.com music company where
popularity was the leading indicator of significance. The two worlds
rarely come in contact with each other, and each assumes the other is
irrelevant.  And in their own way, each is correct.

Could we now move on?

Best wishes,
Bob Gjerdingen
The School of Music
Northwestern University