PERCEPTUAL PROBLEM SOLVING IN MUSIC: SOME PROPOSALS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH


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Abstract

There are numerous ways to describe and represent perceptions of music: conventional notation, analytic nomenclature, physical gestures, idiosyncratic graphic notations, numbers, and so forth. Often different representations seem to be equivalent Whether we use numbers or alphabet symbols to represent a particular dimension of music experience (e.g., C# or 1), we assume that the two modes of representation are equivalent. One can be translated into the other with no gain or loss of implication. We will argue that this is not the case. That is, the various ways of describing music and musical perception incorporate very different information and conceptual commitments.To pursue these issues we will consider several different modes of representing musical perceptions, those of both non-specialist and professional musicians. Our account is based on the assumption that what appears to be immediate apprehension of a rhythmic or melodic figure is actually an instance of perceptual problem solving. Thus, the representational schemes of different listeners should clue us in to their problem solving strategies.

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