Monday, November 24, 2008

Questions that Motivate Music Cognition Researchers

The Field of Music Cognition. Ohio State University. 24 November 2008.
(see link below)

This page is an offshoot of the Ohio State University's main page on the field of music cognition. It is meant to summarize the questions of the field for the sake of potential students or other interested parties seeking an introduction to music cognition. This page is literally a list of questions. At the top of the page there is a very short disclaimer that helps to nuance the forthcoming list, stating that some have been incompletely answered, some are unanswerable, and some may be outright inappropriate for other reasons. The page also includes a link to recommended reading. The questions are organized into categories, as follows: Musical Origins and Musical Character, Musical Skill and Musical Intelligence, Musical Pleasure and Preference, Musical Development, Musical Organization, Music and Memory, Music and Emotion, Music Performance and Improvisation, Music's Influences, Music, Brain and Body, Music, Environment and Culture, and Modeling Music Cognition.

I appreciate the disclaimer at the top of the page; it shows sensitivity to the implications of this research. These questions would have been very useful at the beginning of the term, to help us get started considering possible research questions for this course. It may still be a good resource for us to formulate our final papers. Sometimes what seem like basic questions are the most clarifying place to start. I, myself, question some of the categorizations of these questions. For example, the origins and character of music don't intuitively fit together in my mind. Also, the question, "What makes us hate some songs?" seems to fit equally into both the 'Music, Pleasure and Preference' heading and the 'Music and Emotion'. To what extent can pleasure and emotion be conflated. In any case, it is indeed these questions, these points of interest, that drive us in our scholarship of these areas. I am interested in the way that questions of culture pertaining to music are often allocated to considerations of the 'origins' of music. I did find the questions for 'Music, Environment and Culture' somewhat weak in terms of directly linking music to the brain, but this may be because I can't anticipate these connections the way a cognitive scientist would.

Questions that Motivate Music Cognition Researchers

No comments: