On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind by Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis

By Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis

Winner of the Wallace Berry Award, Society for song Theory

What is it concerning the tune you like that makes you must pay attention it again?

Why can we crave a "hook" that returns, many times, in the comparable piece?

And how does a music turn out getting caught on your head?

Whether it is a motif repeated all through a composition, a pattern looped less than an digital dance beat, a passage replayed continuously via a musician in a tradition room-or an "earworm" burrowing via your brain like a damaged record-repetition is almost as vital to track because the notes themselves. Its centrality has been said by way of every person from evolutionary biologist W. Tecumseh Fitch, who has referred to as it a "design function" of tune, to the composer Arnold Schoenberg who admitted that "intelligibility in track appears most unlikely with out repetition." And but, stunningly little is basically understood approximately repetition and its position in music.

On Repeat offers the 1st in-depth inquiry into music's repetitive nature, focusing no longer on a selected kind, or physique of labor, yet on repertoire from throughout time sessions and cultures. writer Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis attracts on a various array of fields together with tune conception, psycholinguistics, neuroscience, and cognitive psychology, to appear head-on on the underlying perceptual mechanisms linked to repetition. Her paintings sheds gentle on various matters from repetition's use as a compositional software to its function in characterizing our habit as listeners, after which strikes past track to think about similar implications for repetition in language, studying, and communique.

Written in enticing prose, and enlivening another way advanced techniques for the professional and non-specialist alike, On Repeat will captivate students and scholars throughout various disciplines from tune conception and heritage, to psychology and neuroscience-and an individual fascinated about the puzzle of repetition in track.

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Additional resources for On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind

Example text

Monaghan goes so far as to claim that repetition’s singular effect poses a problem for traditional accounts of statistical learning mechanisms. Repetition seems special, and its prevalence in music makes it the perfect domain in which to explore what precisely this might mean and why precisely it might be. This chapter offers a few preliminary observations. First, to remember a passage of music requires an uncommonly extended duration of time—the duration it took to play the passage in the first place.

Not just any nonsense, but a nonsense in which the semantics vanish and are replaced by a sort of super-salience of the component parts—letters, phonemes, syllables. 6), it’s as if the sense of the Dalmatian had disappeared (very difficult to do at will), and been replaced by a renewed sensitivity to the characteristics of the blobs. It’s interesting that repetition can cause language to dissolve into nonsense on the one hand or music on the other.  James. indd 17 10/11/2013 3:05:48 PM 18 O N REP E AT will be taken to suggest an affinity between these domains—an affinity, I should add, that I do not view as demeaning to music in the least.

1 (Continued) The Swingle Singers, a largely a cappella group that has remained in existence in some form or other since 1962, covers songs from all genres––including classical—with a cheerful, irreverent quality characteristic of similar work by Bobby McFerrin and the cast of Glee. Welsh singer Jem samples the Swingle Singers’ rendition of Bach’s Prelude in F Minor, from the second book of the Well-Tempered Clavier, in her single They, a song with lyrics that rue the fallibility of conventional wisdom.

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