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#113568 - 10/14/03 12:56 AM Music appreciation from speech  
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Jackie Offline
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While trying to determine the veracity of that monkey-brain-video-game allegation, I found this article.
http://www.dukenews.duke.edu/news/newsrelease.asp?id=2653&catid=2,46&cpg=newsrelease.asp

Part of it says ...Catherine Howe and Dale Purves have presented evidence that variation in the relative harmoniousness, or "consonance," of different tone combinations arises from people's exposure to the acoustical characteristics of speech sounds. ...

the points at which sound energy is concentrated in the speech spectrum predict the chromatic scale -- the scale represented by the keys on a piano keyboard.


I also like this:
Those studies of vision led to the idea that evolution -- as well as individual experience during development -- created a visual system in which perceptions are determined by what a given visual stimulus has typically signified in the past, rather than simply representing to an observer what is presently ‘out there.’



#113569 - 10/14/03 01:13 AM Re: Music appreciation from speech  
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really interesting, Jackie! thanks! going to take some time to digest it.



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#113570 - 10/14/03 10:20 AM Re: Music appreciation from speech  
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the points at which sound energy is concentrated in the speech spectrum predict the chromatic scale -- the scale represented by the keys on a piano keyboard.

Not having read the article yet I may be totally out of line, but I might think that postdict would be a better choice of words than predict.

The notes of the chromatic scale grow out of the harmonic sequence dictated by nature.


I've now read the article and I stand by what I've said. The speech patterns that they are claiming provide the patterns for the appreciation of musical intervals are being produced by people who find the musical intervals pleasing. This is pre hoc ergo propter hoc, pure and simple.

#113571 - 10/14/03 01:36 PM Re: Music appreciation from speech  
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Yeah, I wondered about that 'predict', myself. Though I have to think that speech is, well, dictated by nature also.
(Gee-talk about your harmonic convergences!) The only thing I can think of that might explain their use of the word is that most people learn to talk before they are exposed to the chromatic scale...[very unsure of self e]



#113572 - 10/14/03 01:45 PM Re: Music appreciation from speech  
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most people learn to talk before they are exposed to the chromatic scale

Pehaps, but did they study speech patterns of young children?

And, if you stop to think about it, you'll remember that we have music all around us. They would have to study the speech paterns of children who have been exposed only to dissonant music.


#113573 - 10/14/03 07:11 PM Re: Music appreciation from speech  
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"dissonant music"
or who come from a culture with a different musical scale. Or am I talking about the same thing?


#113574 - 10/14/03 07:16 PM Re: Music appreciation from speech  
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The chromatic scale is not the one we ordinarily use in tonal music compositions. It's the diatonic scale.

Chr   Dia
C C
C#
D D
D#
E E
F F
F#
G G
G#
A A
A#
B B
C C

e.g.


#113575 - 10/14/03 11:09 PM Re: Music appreciation from speech  
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I, too, think that predict was a poor choice, though I think I know what was meant. however, Zed's point is a very good direction to explore. do voice patterns of people from cultures that use other than the diatonic scale exhibit the same propensity towards the chromatic scale, or do they parallel their own harmonic structure?



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#113576 - 10/18/03 02:55 AM Re: Music appreciation from speech  
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Also to be considered:
Practically from the moment of conception we are exposed to rhythm (heartbeat) and sound. Amniotic fluid would mute and distort the sounds somewhat, but.


#113577 - 10/18/03 01:20 PM Re: Music appreciation from speech  
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Mm--so, maybe we're pre-disposed for music?


#113578 - 10/18/03 01:35 PM Re: Music appreciation from speech  
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pre-disposed

thrown away before what?



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#113579 - 10/18/03 04:36 PM Re: Music appreciation from speech  
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In reply to:

Mm--so, maybe we're pre-disposed for music?


Yes, Jackie. The rhythm of the heart naturally matches a multitude of nursery rhyme rhythms, such as in "Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of wa...ter." Nine months is a long time for the developing human mind to have nestled against that repeating rhythm at various tempos. The creators of nursery rhymes either consciously or unconsciously matched word rhythms to that curiously short-long repetitive rhythm of the heart as Connie has pointed out above.

It would be very interesting to note any changes in in utero behavior when the mother's heartbeat becomes faster, whether she is watching a thriller, for instance, or perhaps is involved in some physical activity in which her heartbeat (at the same rhythm) increases in speed. Such studies have probably already occurred.

I listened to an interview of a mother of either quintuplets or sextuplets say that those babies in utero had become noticeably more active during the periods of time in which she herself had had meals. Interesting. Very, in fact.

Wouldn't it be interesting to know whether fetuses became more focused and even excited when the mother's heartbeat noticeably increased?


#113580 - 10/18/03 11:34 PM nothing is ever as simple as it looks  
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(or, beware the obvious explanation, especially when it's what we would like to be the case)

Why, for example, couldn't it be that whatever caused mother's heart to go faster - adrenalin, say - also crossed into the baby's circulation and made the baby's heart rate increase too, or activity level, or whatever?


#113581 - 10/19/03 04:56 PM Re: nothing is ever as simple as it looks  
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Yes, the shared chemistry makes sense--and I suppose it would be impossible to know whether it could be a combination of the two: shared chemistry plus the human consciousness picking up on some level the awareness that the environment had changed, thereby causing some kind of fetal excitement. Oh, well. It's interesting to consider...


#113582 - 10/19/03 07:46 PM Re: Music appreciation from speech  
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postdict would be a better choice of words than predict

Agree "predict" is inadequate but "postdict" assumes that one followed the other which may or not be the case, as you have said yourself.

Perhaps "prefigure" comes closer to it, as defined thus:

"To suggest, indicate, or represent by an antecedent form or model; presage or foreshadow: The paintings of Paul Cézanne prefigured the rise of cubism in the early 20th century."

It could also be said that Cezanne's work represented an early expression of what was later to be known as cubism.



#113583 - 10/19/03 08:23 PM Re: warning-grandmother's tale included!  
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WW, both fetal memory and fetal hearing and responses have been studied. The latter especially has been rather well documented. And yes, a baby does respond to similar speech/ speech prosody patterns (songs/rhymes/lullabies/stories)that the mother has familiarised it with when it was in the prenatal period.

Reminds me of an Indian mythological tale that I read years ago, from the Mahabharata or the Panchatantra. (The former is one of the great INdian epics, the latter is from around the same period, but is a collection of stories usually with a moral ending, and contributed many tales to the Arabian nights). It is the story of Ashtavakra. His father was the greatest Vedic scholar of the time. When pregnant with him, his mother, desirous that the as yet unborn child should be exposed to the great Vedas as much as he could, decided to spend more time everyday, in the room where the Vedas were recited . The child started learning at a rapid rate. One day, a group of scholars arrived at Ashtavakra's home to clarify some doubts that they had with the Rig Veda. In the midst of their scholarly debate, the child (foetus actually) interrupted the father and corrected his take on the very point. (Ok! It is a myth!..but a telling one)So great had his learning in the womb been that he had picked up nuances that had skipped the father's knowledge even. The father was humiliated and enraged and his ego was bruised enough for him to curse his son that he would be born deformed in eight places in his body(Ashta-eight; vakra-crooked). Poor Ashtavakra. He had not as yet learnt to not speak out of turn! The father repented immedaitely, but a curse is a curse and it cannot be withdrawn. He therefore added a rider saying that the day Ashtavakra would defeat a gathering of the greatest scholars of the land in Vedic debate, in the King's Court, his bodily deformities would be cured. Which Ashtavakra did at the age of eight(?) and was cured and all was well that ended well......
Point of the story, you ask?........Learning in the womb and do not speak out of turn especially in the midst of elders

In India, all pregnant women are mandated almost to experience good emotions, culture, music, diet, intellectually stimulating exercises and every effort is made to keep them in cheer and happiness, so that the baby is born in a state of good mental and physical health. To this end, there are special functions for almost every one of the nine months and each one is celebrated with much pomp and gaiety especially the one in the eighth month, the bangle festival (my translation). Everyone invited gives the mother-to-be a set of new bangles and gifts and individual wishes welcoming the baby are whispered into the mother's ear.
Have I been on a roll or what......????



#113584 - 10/19/03 09:47 PM Re: Music appreciation from speech  
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The chromatic scale is not the one we ordinarily use in tonal music compositions. (emphasis added)

What you talkin' bout, Willis? I won't even get into the "we ordinarily" part... sheeesh...

***************

"dissonant music"
or who come from a culture with a different musical scale. Or am I talking about the same thing?


It seems to be easy to equate <tonal> with <consonance> when one has been listening to the same tones all ones life... so, Zed, you may be talking about the same thing...


#113585 - 10/20/03 01:14 AM Re: Music appreciation from speech  
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The creators of nursery rhymes either consciously or unconsciously matched word rhythms to that curiously short-long repetitive rhythm of the heart Whoa--you're right! I never thought of that before--thanks!


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