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

By Nils L. Wallin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIX
. . . To Break Silence

". . .to reconcile the hearts and to establish order."

( The Book of Rites, China)

It has not been disguised in the course of this book that I find the outcome of those complex events on various levels of the central nervous system covered in this work to be significant or meaningful in a telic way--i. e., purposive--in the same way that sound gestures of the non-human vertebrates are purposive as displays of a codified species-specific behavior. As a conclusion to the analysis and discussion of organismal responses to various tonal stimuli which was presented in chapter 3, I argued (p. 329) that one function of music might be its contribution to retaining, restoring, and adjusting an individual's vital character, as well as helping him to recognize and manipulate emotions as mental forms under social constraints. As a conclusion to the many observations of tonal stimuli as coordinators of organismal oscillations, and of the crucial dependency of time (which, throughout this text we have found characterizes the coding processes of the auditory system), I have further argued that music, i.e., the epigenetic tonal forms which emanate from the early hominid sound gestures, is adopted as a phylogenetic-social task to make man, within an appositional- connotative type of perception, aware of organismal time and its deviations from a stationary attractor state ("rest"). Obviously, the two

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