Re: The Bach choral dilemma (Diana Deutsch )

Subject: Re: The Bach choral dilemma
From:    Diana Deutsch  <ddeutsch(at)UCSD.EDU>
Date:    Thu, 23 Jan 2003 11:03:25 -0800

I'm glad you raised this, and agree that the literature contains some unconvincing examples of 'streaming' . On the other hand, one can find excellent examples in classical and romantic guitar music, such as by Tarrega and Barrios, where one can also find continuity effects. Listen, for example, to Tarrega's 'Recuerdos de la Alhambra'. Cheers, Diana Deutsch >Dear Auditory Listers, > >Listening carefully to BWV 363 (Jesus Christus, unser Heiland), or BWV >364 (Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, der den Tod), I hardly hear it >streaming, if streaming at all. Same for my Sensation & Perception >class. > >A collegue of mine, who owns a huge collection of Baroque music, told me >that BWV 363 is not a so good instance of polyphonic music. So why >Bruce Goldstein presents it as such in his Sensation & Perception >textbook? (4th ed., 1996, p. 397; 5th ed., 1999, p. 360) > >The author provides a musical notation in Figure 12.11 (p. 360): four >measures of (what is probably, according to title) BWV 363. The notes >clearly stream (VISUALLY, I mean). I am not a musician, but the musical >notation seems to me quite simple for a so complex musical piece. Can >someone confirm that the notation is the original? > >Goldstein notes: "When this passage is played rapidly, the low notes >sound as if they are a melody played by one instrument, and the high >notes sound like a different melody played by another instrument. This >effect [...] is an example of auditory stream segregation [...]." (p. >360). First, BWV 363 is refered to as an instrumental piece, while the >only instrument is the human voice (choral). The fact that the human >voice is also a musical instrument should probably be emphasized to >musically naive students. Secondly -- and more critically --, why >whould we have to play it rapidly, while the composer's intent was to >provide a polyphonic experience at the written tempo? > >An e-mail sent to the author at bruceg+(at)pitt-edu on Nov. 30, 2001, has >not been answered yet. > >A legal (30 sec.) excerpt of BWV 363 may probably be made available on >the Auditory List Home Page, if someone can provide it. Are more >salient examples of Baroque polyphony known? > >I have a great respect for Goldstein's S&P textbook, and I hope Auditory >Listers will provide clues into (what my S&P class and I are now >refering to as) the Bach choral dilemma. > >Luc Rousseau, Ph.D. >Assistant Professor >Department of Psychology >Laurentian University >Sudbury, Ontario, Canada -- Diana Deutsch Professor of Psychology Department of Psychology University of California, San Diego La Jolla, CA 92093, USA 858-453-1558 (tel) 858-453-4763 (fax) ddeutsch(at)

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Electrical Engineering Dept., Columbia University