Biomusicology: Neurophysiological, Neuropsychological, and Evolutionary Perspectives on the Origins and Purposes of Music

By Nils L. Wallin | Go to book overview

Preface and Acknowledgments

The central idea of this book is to establish the neurophysiological and evolutionary prerequisites for the origins and the primordial purpose of music, thereby sketching the foundation of a synthetic (unified), bio-socio-cultural field theory of music.

In this author's opinion, such a theory is the indispensable core of the branch of musicology that I have cared biomusicology, a term analogous to biophysics, biolinguistics, etc. I am convinced that in the years to come biomusicology, as a bridge to genetics and to the cognitive sciences, will play an increasingly important role in musicology. The above references to neurophysiology and the theory of evolution indicate some general qualifications for my choice of terminology. Below I summarize additional points, which will be discussed in the book in more detail.

Musical structures and systems are multifarious. They are limited by characteristics of the tonal material's physical infrastructure, yet also selected and further developed by the very complex organism called man, in his turn acting under the influence of manifold environmental forces. Thus, changes in an individual piece of music, as well as in music as a historical concept, are made under the constraints of an immense spectrum of information and instruction, a variety of value systems and normative modes, some of which are intrinsic, others extrinsic.

Change involves time, and time is the very essence of music and music experience. Each piece of music is an act of time, corresponding to a temporal organization, a tonal flow-becoming- music: it comes out of silence, and returns unto silence. Between

-xvii-

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