The available evidence points to the conclusion that the vast majority of the population has acquired a common receptive musical ability, clearly evident through experimental demonstration, regardless of accomplishment in any particular sphere of musical performance, and regardless of having been in receipt of any formal musical education or training. There is broad agreement between music theorists and psychologists that the most prevalent musical idioms have structural and mathematical properties that make them easily analysable by universal pre-cultural mechanisms of auditory perceptual grouping. Connectionist models of learning applied to music demonstrate one way in which complex mental representations might be built up from such simple groupings on the basis of repeated exposure to a variety of musical examples sharing similar structures. This chapter states that what makes any performance musically interesting are the slight fluctuations in duration, loudness, pitch, and timbre which together constitute expressive performance.
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