Re: Gestalts under the pretext of Melodic consonance (Pierre Divenyi )

Subject: Re: Gestalts under the pretext of Melodic consonance
From:    Pierre Divenyi  <pdivenyi(at)MARVA4.NCSC.MED.VA.GOV>
Date:    Wed, 12 Jul 2000 11:03:20 -0700

What I would like to add to Alexandra's philosophical/rhetorical question=20 is that, beyond speech and language, the necessity of Gestalts strikes with= =20 overriding obviousness when thinking of music. It is clear that the=20 comprehension of a longer piece, e.g., a Mozart symphony, or even a=20 movement thereof, is entirely dependent upon the perception, the=20 short-and-long-term memory for, and the internal organization of shorter=20 elements -- such as themes, motifs, harmonic progressions and digressions,= =20 etc. -- although the whole piece lasts 10 minutes or longer. This=20 "comprehension" is a necessity for both the listener and the performer and= =20 it is especially acute of a problem for cyclic works, like a Wagner opera=20 or the Liszt b-minor sonata (which, incidentally, contains most of Wagner's= =20 mature compositions). Because this 30-minutes piece would have no head or=20 tail without knowing at the very beginning where it is going, or at the=20 very end what it has been through, both the listener and the performer is=20 invited to perform some sorts of a transformation that would telescope the= =20 dimension of time into a single point, i.e., a method to create a spatial=20 Gestalt. Maybe one day we could see neurophysiological traces of such a=20 spatial Gestalt for auditory objects because, technological advances of=20 recent years notwithstanding, I think that in-depth and meaningful analysis= =20 of 30-minutes brain activity records is a pie in the sky. Pierre Divenyi >What I would be interested in is, whether or not (in your opinion) the >relational reference patterns are exclusively due to (the (coherent) >experience of) "global features" in the (physical) stimuli (and hence >the corresponding neural activity), as, e.g., it seems to be the case >for the so-called auditory memory (and (probably) proceeding from the >universalities in human voice/speech), or does there (too) exist >something like a (universal) "natural predisposition" (like the ability >for (spoken, and, apparently to a lesser necessity, written) language >acquisition in a certain age) to acquire certain patterns or >configurations (i.e., them having a certain preference), in dependence >on their being structured (e.g., a periodic signal) ? (In short, not >only a post- yet also some pre-configuration of neuronal patterns ; >e.g., arguing in the opposite direction, with vowels being harmonic for >us preferring periodic signals, sort of due to "economic" reasons ?) -- >And, (hypothetically) taking the latter (i.e., a disposition) for given, >do there exist further individual (and even culturally determined) >differences in the creation/organization of those "data banks" of >reference patterns, e.g., of either qualitative or quantitative nature ? >Thank you in advance, >Alexandra Hettergott >(sorry, it has been meant to boldly been sent to the list). > >_______________________ >Alexandra Hettergott >1, avenue des Gobelins > /bo=EEte 23 >F-75005 Paris/France >T=E9l/fax: +33-(0)1-43 31 41 27 >M=E9l: a.hettergott(at) > > >... la noche, >peque=F1os ruidos >... sombra y espacio, tierra >y tiempo, >algo que corre y cae >y pasa ... > (Pablo Neruda)

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