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At 01:02 PM 12/4/2004, David Kirkdorffer wrote:
>"Michael Firman" wrote:
> >
> > I think you have hit on something here. People listen (remember) music 
> > just as "data" (i.e. the notes, rhythm, texture, etc.) but as a whole 
> collection of
> > things (thoughts, feelings, the ambience of the place and situation, 
> etc.). Our
> > memory is associative, that is, we store the information about events 
> in various
> > location of our brain. Those locations have different functions (some 
> areas are
> > pure data storage while others control emotions). We formulate our 
> opinions about
> > pieces of music by our feelings at the time (or times) we hear them as 
> well as by
> > the actual musical form.
>Wasn't this called "psychoacoustics" in the 80's??

I don't think that *technically* this is Psychoacoustics (although since 
both deal with perception and interpretation, there's obviously going to 
a bit of dovetailing).  However, I could be off on that definition, so 

Psychoacoustics, as I always understood it, deals mostly with the way the 
physical wiring of our biological systems affects the way we hear 
things.  Whereas most of what we're speaking of above mostly deals with 
conditioned responses and the way our thought processes associate 
stimuli with each other.

For instance, one of the most common examples used when explaining 
Psychoacoustics is the fact that you can take a mono signal then split it 
into two (right & left) channels of equal volume.  Then by adding an 
extremely short delay to one channel and/or playing with that side's phase 
characteristics, you can cause the brain to perceive one signal as being 
louder than the other (i.e. panned to one side) even though both are of 
equal loudness.  You can play similar games and cause the signal to be 
perceived as above or below the listener, behind their head, etc., etc.

That example is a function of the way our hearing systems are wired, and 
pretty much consistent across all individuals.  It has nothing to do with 
cultural associations or shared conditioning, which could differ 
significantly between individuals and cultures.  Although I guess one 
make a case that something like Jungian archetypes could likely be used as 
a common touchstone to build upon and integrate shared 

IMNSHO, it would be interesting to attempt to map a system of 
"synesthesias" like those mentioned above, though.  In other words, work 
out a formal system(s) which combined sensory stimuli for multiple senses 
into a multimedia choreography very much as in Rick's previous rhythmic 
example, or Michael's follow up example using Brittany's, erm, dancing.


"i want to reach my hand into the dark and *feel* what reaches back"