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

By Nils L. Wallin | Go to book overview
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Prelude

SOME NOTIONS ON MORPHODYNAMICS AND TIME IN MUSIC

The morphodynamic isomorphism between the tonal flow of music and its neurophysiological substrates proposed in this work, indicates that a tonal chreod, i.e., a morphogenetic field or basin, where occurs the primordial moment, the birth, of a fluctuation in the musical structure that initiates a "biffurcation" or a "catastrophe" ( Rend Thom) leading the development in a new direction, does not, without further qualification, represent symbolic form ( Susanne K. Langer): it is fundamentally a real homologue to its neural substrate. Therefore, intense attention to a tonal flow-becoming- music--it may be the composer attempting to capture the image of his composition, the listener searching for clues in the tonal flow, or the performer's efforts to articulate the musical development-- means to experience, observe, to "read off" the evolving process of mind-becoming-conscious. I hold that this would be the moment when "actual," physical time is experienced as transformed into "musical" time.1 The symbolic form, in contrast, is a superstructure that does not appear until music becomes involved with and integrated into a more complex cognitive-conceptual situation.

Music systems are multifactorial. They are, on the one hand, limited by physical characteristics of the tonal material's infrastructure; on the other hand they are selected and further developed by the complicated and complex organism called "man," who is, in

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1
N. L. Wallin, Den musikaliska hjärnan. En kritisk essä om musik och perception i biologisk belysning, Publications issued by the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, No. 34 ( 1982) chap. 11.

-1-

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