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

By Nils L. Wallin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
The Auditory System

In this chapter we shall follow the neural processes which carry the information of an acoustical stimulus from the inner ear organ of Corti and its receptor cells until it appears as a sensation or perception.

A basic familiarity with the mechanisms of the peripheral auditory system and its functions is assumed. Therefore, the starting point is at that moment when the mechanical transmission of energy gives way in the inner ear to an electro-chemical transmission. Data from the immense array of psycho-acoustical literature will be given only on occasion; the task at hand is not to critically coordinate such data with current views on auditory neural information. The problem will, however, be briefly addressed at the end of this chapter.1

This account is built mainly upon the survey of the auditory system in this author's study,2 which adequately summarizes the state of knowledge in order to present a prevalent description of the auditory system; it thus reports on current views of the

____________________
1
An excellent and already classic Introduction in the Physics and Psychophysics of Music was given by J. G. Roederer ( Second edition, 1979). For an up-to-date reading of studies in cognitive/experimental psychology of music I refer to M. Clynes' (ed.), Music, Mind and Brain ( 1982), D. Deutsch (ed.) The Psychology of Music ( 1982), and J. A. Sloboda The Musical Mind ( 1985).
2
Wallin, Den musikaliska hjärnan.

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