Ethnomusicology Physics of sound/Musical acoustics Music cognition Evolutionary biology Music theory and notation Tuning systems
Musilanguage hypothesis (24)
Based on the reviews - too technical, too much music theory to be understood by a lay person - I am excited. I have a minor in music theory, I can cope and it sounds nice not to be talked down to. I'm optimistic because right off the back, Ball references "How Musical is Man," a seminal music text by John Blacking. He addresses Steven Pinker's statement that music is "auditory cheesecake," which many students of music cognition will be familiar with. I'm also happy he quotes the classical philosopher Boethius, who I was quite taken with during high school and I spent a great deal of time setting his "Consolation of Philosophy" to music.
18 pages in and there are going to be lots of tidbits and factoids to treasure I can tell already ....
I can't help but be enchanted by the opening to chapter one, which discusses the musical selections included on NASA's Voyager 1 & 2 spacecraft. This was one of the questions my dad posed to me often throughout my childhood and teens and remains a perennial topic of discussion: if you could broadcast five musics to aliens, which would you pick to help familiarize the aliens with earth's inhabitants? Which pieces would you choose?
"No, music is not simply a kind of mathematics. It is the most remarkable blend of art and science, logic and emotion, physics and psychology, known to us." (p. 2)
"Art, music, and literature are not merely the byproducts of cognitive fluidity. They are important means by which we cultivate and regulate the complex cognitive machinery on which our more highly developed functions depend." Joseph Carroll. (3)
"Music that has nothing else as its purpose should neither be written nor be used." - Paul Hindemith. (12) Wow, was he a music therapist in a composer's clothes?
Regardless of whether evolution has given our brains musical modules, it seems to have given us intrinsic proclivities for extracting music from the world. Music is a part of what we are and how we perceive the world. (31)
Cultural Notes (p. 11-14, 21,)
- Kaluli of Papua New Guinea use music to communicate with the dead - Venda of South Africa use music to define social relations - Igbo of Nigeria use a word for 'music' that also means 'dance' - In Lesotho (Africa) there is no distinction between music and dance - In parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, music without a steady, danceable rhythm is not music but lamentation - In Bali, musicians & dancers act out socially disruptive emotions (rage) because the public discharge serves the community -Each person of Siriono Indians of Bolivia has their own short melodic phrase that is used conversationally - Javanese people do not recognize musical affect (happy/sad) the way that Westerners do - Yirkalla aborigines of Arnhem Land/ Australia hear sacred song words in the babbling of infants, and believe that all songs already exist and composers merely discover them. - The songs of some Australian Aborigines "express the singer's feelings as a member of the community" (21)
Many found this book to be quite technical. Here is a list of $5 words I had to look up and their relevant definition:
chacun a son gout - French: "everyone to his taste"
This book is referenced in so many other books, as well as journal articles and college courses, including "The Music Instinct: How Music Works and Wh...moreThis book is referenced in so many other books, as well as journal articles and college courses, including "The Music Instinct: How Music Works and Why We Can't Do Without It" by Phillip Ball.(less)
It is delightful. Written for a layperson, age 8ish to 108, it is detailed enough to satisfy a huge var...moreWhile I am not yet finished with this book ...
It is delightful. Written for a layperson, age 8ish to 108, it is detailed enough to satisfy a huge variety of common questions. Several specific species are given as examples of the diversity of the frog population in nearly every answer. There are many photographs, although it would be nice if more of them were in color since sometimes the images are offered to illustrate concepts of color in the frog's skin.
I have a special fondness for this book because it explores many of the questions and factoids that I explored as a kid in elementary school. Much of the information is familiar but it's great to revisit in such a pleasantly, easy-to-digest structure, and it certainly is cementing and filling in the gaps of my knowledge.
M. E. Thomas is the creator of the blog SociopathWorld.com ('online community for people who identify as sociopaths, as well as people who love and ha...moreM. E. Thomas is the creator of the blog SociopathWorld.com ('online community for people who identify as sociopaths, as well as people who love and hate them.').
Many readers question whether this memoir should qualify as non-fiction, often because they question her sociopathic bonafides and/or her hidden motivation to make money by fabricating a book. It is also commonly complained that (and rightly so) that the author presents conclusions reached in scientific research as fact, but without providing enough information that you are able to confirm her statement has some bearing in the literature.
So, for as long as this diverts me, when I encounter some potentially falsifiable claim, I will spend some time in an attempt to locate any legit sources that might back up the statement. Lucky you, eh?
- M. E. says that Jane Murphy (1976) reported that Yorubans have a concept for sociopaths, arankan - "a person who always goes his own way regardless of others, who is uncooperative, full of malice, and bullheaded." An online Yoruban dictionary says that arankan means "malice." (p. 38) --- but the source?
- Likewise, that Yupik-speaking Inuit refer to these people as "kunlangeta, of whom it was said 'his mind knows what to do but he does not do it"; he is someone who 'repeatedly lies and cheats and steals things and ... takes sexual advantage of many women - someone who does not pay attention to reprimands and who is always being brought to the elders for punishment.'" (p.38 )--- but the source?
p.44 -> author states that sociopaths have higher recidivism rates, especially for violent crimes. for more info see: Hemphill, J. F., Hare, R. D., & Wong, S. (1998/2011). Psychopathy & recidivism: a review. Legal & Criminological Psychology, 3(1), 139-170.
p. 44 -> author states there is a strong genetic component to sociopathy. for a related study see: Rhee, S. H., & Waldman, I. D. (2002/2005). Genetic & environmental influences on antisocial behavior: a meta-analysis of twin and adoption studies. Psychological Bulletin, 128(3), 490.
- as you can see, there is support for many of the authors factual/falsifiable claims. Obviously, if the author claims to be a sociopath you are going to have to take everything she says with a grain of salt - however it appears from a cursory review that she does have some connection with reality when it comes to at least some of the research she claims to cite.(less)