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The Musical MindThe Cognitive Psychology of Music$
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John A. Sloboda

Print publication date: 1986

Print ISBN-13: 9780198521280

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198521280.001.0001

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The musical mind in context: culture and biology

The musical mind in context: culture and biology

Chapter:
(p.239) 7. The musical mind in context: culture and biology
Source:
The Musical Mind
Author(s):

John A. Sloboda

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198521280.003.0007

This chapter examines how cultural differences may impact on music cognition. Musics of different cultures make different demands on cognitive capacity due to their differing use of musical materials. Specific attention is given to music notation as a cultural force, and how the historical development of notation has both enabled and constrained musical forms and activities. Nonetheless, there appear to be some aspects of music which function as universals across all cultures. These include the subdivision of the octave into unequal scale steps, and the use of recurring metrical patterns. Brain research shows that musical functions are separable and localized in different parts of the brain. The universality of music suggests that music has evolved to serve specific psychological functions.

Keywords:   notation, musical universals, brain localization, evolution, functions

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