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Re: Gestalts under the pretext of Melodic consonance

What I would like to add to Alexandra's philosophical/rhetorical question is that, beyond speech and language, the necessity of Gestalts strikes with overriding obviousness when thinking of music. It is clear that the comprehension of a longer piece, e.g., a Mozart symphony, or even a movement thereof, is entirely dependent upon the perception, the short-and-long-term memory for, and the internal organization of shorter elements -- such as themes, motifs, harmonic progressions and digressions, etc. -- although the whole piece lasts 10 minutes or longer. This "comprehension" is a necessity for both the listener and the performer and it is especially acute of a problem for cyclic works, like a Wagner opera or the Liszt b-minor sonata (which, incidentally, contains most of Wagner's mature compositions). Because this 30-minutes piece would have no head or tail without knowing at the very beginning where it is going, or at the very end what it has been through, both the listener and the performer is invited to perform some sorts of a transformation that would telescope the dimension of time into a single point, i.e., a method to create a spatial Gestalt. Maybe one day we could see neurophysiological traces of such a spatial Gestalt for auditory objects because, technological advances of recent years notwithstanding, I think that in-depth and meaningful analysis of 30-minutes brain activity records is a pie in the sky.

Pierre Divenyi

What I would be interested in is, whether or not (in your opinion) the
relational reference patterns are exclusively due to (the (coherent)
experience of) "global features" in the (physical) stimuli (and hence
the corresponding neural activity), as, e.g., it seems to be the case
for the so-called auditory memory (and (probably) proceeding from the
universalities in human voice/speech), or does there (too) exist
something like a (universal) "natural predisposition" (like the ability
for (spoken, and, apparently to a lesser necessity, written) language
acquisition in a certain age) to acquire certain patterns or
configurations (i.e., them having a certain preference), in dependence
on their being structured (e.g., a periodic signal) ? (In short, not
only a post- yet also some pre-configuration of neuronal patterns ;
e.g., arguing in the opposite direction, with vowels being harmonic for
us preferring periodic signals, sort of due to "economic" reasons ?) --
And, (hypothetically) taking the latter (i.e., a disposition) for given,
do there exist further individual (and even culturally determined)
differences in the creation/organization of those "data banks" of
reference patterns, e.g., of either qualitative or quantitative nature ?
Thank you in advance,
Alexandra Hettergott
(sorry, it has been meant to boldly been sent to the list).

Alexandra Hettergott
1, avenue des Gobelins
   /boîte 23
F-75005 Paris/France
Tél/fax:   +33-(0)1-43 31 41 27
Mél:        a.hettergott@wanadoo.fr

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