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A View of Musical Poetics in the Academic Environment

Edition: International Journal of Sound, Music and Technology vol. 1, n° 1, p.1-4.

Date: 2011

Region: N/A

Origin: TAIWAN

Type of media: Article

Language: English

Editor: M.B.


What is music, where does it come from, and what can I do about it? The parts of this question can be answered by the words: nothing, nowhere, and nothing. Music is nothing - it has no physical material (sound waves are only perturbations of the air, a gaseous material). It comes from nowhere - it is the product of mental imagery carried by electrical impulses active in the brain, a host physical organ. I can't do anything about it - I can only accept and absorb it as a kind of perception-altering mental process. It is like the old conundrum: If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make any sound? Today we know that sound exits only in the brain of the perceiving animal, that what we call sound consists of local fluctuations in air pressure waves, and that interpretation of various sound wave constructs as "music" is entirely dependent on psychoacoustic cognition and interpretation of these events as cultural phenomena. Just as it has been stated that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, music is in the ear (primary conduit to the brain) of the beholder.