Sandra E. Trehub
Music in the early years is best understood as creative play with sound and body. Infants are highly responsive observers of mothers’ multimodal singing, which consists of expressive vocalizations in conjunction with facial and bodily gestures. Infants derive pleasure and solace from music, and they exhibit sensitivity to its pitch and temporal patterning. As toddlers, they engage in rudimentary singing and dancing, which ultimately become tools for emotional self-regulation. Preschoolers exhibit increasing sensitivity to culture-specific aspects of music. They sing as they play, producing conventional as well as invented songs and aligning their vocal patterns with their movements. By the early school years, children exhibit considerable understanding of musical forms and functions. Their melodic and rhythmic skills are more readily evident on the playground than in the classroom. Although music and movement are linked for adults, they are inseparable for infants and young children.
Sander L. Gilman
When theories of the psyche approach music, the question of the embodiment of music becomes a means of understanding the nature of both music and the psyche. Within psychoanalysis there are three quite different levels of analysis that play a role: the first is therapeutic and asks, “how can we cure aspects of the psyche that have come to make life difficult?” The second looks at the base line of normal human development through an evolutionary model. The third level examines the development of the social structures in which human beings interact as a reflex of their inner lives. It thus examines what Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) labeled “civilization,” a term he made quite fraught in all of its manifestations. Music (and its corollary, listening) functions at all three levels in complex and often contradictory ways in the history of psychoanalysis.
This chapter examines ways in which listening to or making music changes our brains morphologically and functionally. Evidence for short-term plasticity in response to music is reviewed. Critical periods early in life, when exposure to music and music training can alter brain development, are summarized. Evidence that the brains of musicians and nonmusicians differ is presented. It is shown that nonmusicians process music primarily in the nondominant cerebral hemisphere, while musicians have structural and functional shifts of lateralization to the dominant cerebral hemisphere. This shift is discussed in terms of a theory that nonmusicians process music holistically in the nondominant cerebral hemisphere, while trained musicians tend to apply syntax to music, using language-processing circuitry in the dominant cerebral hemisphere.
“The power of music” has been a controversial term in recent discussions regarding music and social issues. Instead of avoiding use of the term, this chapter attempts to explain the mechanism of musical effects through interdisciplinary considerations of sociology and neuroscience. The first three sections of the chapter provide an overview of intersections between sociology and cognitive science, addressing their shared interest in mediation-based and human-centered approaches. The last two sections reanalyze ethnographic findings from neuroscientific perspectives, showing why the sensitive use of music may become an effective tool for empowerment. It also suggests that musical retelling allows us to believe that we are connected to others both in the present and the past.
Rolf Inge Godøy
This chapter focuses on the links between sound and body motion in music. It can readily be observed that musical sound is produced by body motion and also triggers body motion in many contexts, meaning scholars have an inexhaustible supply of sound-motion bonding available for research. The main challenges here are to get an overview of the different kinds of sound-motion bonding at work in music, and to go deeper into the subjective experiences of sound-motion bonding. To this end, the chapter presents sound-motion bonding in a so-called motor theory perspective on perception, suggesting that whatever humans perceive of sound, motion, and/or visual features is spontaneously re-enacted in our minds, meaning active mental simulation of whatever it is that we are perceiving. This leads to the idea of sound-motion objects, entities that fuse sensations of sound and motion into salient and holistically perceived units in musical experience.
This article proposes a general definition of tonic and explores its ramifications across repertories and intellectual traditions (cognitive, historical, ethnomusicological, music analytical, and phenomenological). The proposed definition admits of both wide and narrow applications: from broad conceptions that detect tonics in a wide range of world musics to a more narrow definition that limits the term (and its theoretical entailments) to bourgeois musical cultures in the West. These ideas are illustrated through discussions of diverse musical examples, from the “common practice” (Bach, Schubert) to the postwar avant-garde (Lutosławski), French house (Daft Punk), and rust-belt hard rock (Akron-based band Dia Pason).