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Some of you, those who are aware of the work done by Professor Diana Deutsch, might have had a chuckle when seeing the title of this thread some others might have landed here just attracted by this enticing words.

This thread is about proposing an interpretation which can explain the animated discussions that we have on what we hear or not hear when we listen to sounds or music.


I have been talking about this in other threads but I wanted, please, to disconnect this discussion from the diatribe on sound production.


Some of us are very sure that they identify differences in sound which they attribute to materials, either the material the instrument or part of the instrument is made of, or the kind of paints, lacquers, coatings, other metal platings or the lack of it that the instrument has.
Of course we are also acquainted with the attribution of sound enhancements (.......always enhancements, who knows why there is never a sound subtraction effect) to various elements, including metal strap hooks and various other appendixes to be added to a saxophone.


All of these experienced directly for some by means of their hearing.

Of course we judge all of this with our sensorial apparatus which serves us well to function and operate in everyday life and that is the main instrument which we use to play music. So, we would be forgiven to think that, if these apparatuses work well to do all sorts of things and to play music at a very high level (for some) that they would be reliable instruments of analysis of the reality around us.


We hear, feel, see things related and unrelated to music and we are used to trust our senses to give us a true representation of the “ TRUE” world around us.

But is this what really happens? How much is an analysis and how much follows patterns and expectations?

One of the problems in a discussion like this is that one should be able to disconnect himself from the subjective experience of the world around oneself to be able to analyse objectively what he is subjectively experiencing. This is for most of us, impossible.


So the only way to observe and study perception is by means of studying large groups of people and comparing the way they all experience subjectively the world around themselves and then try to find the key (nice pun) to explain the What’s , the How’s and the Why’s of all of this.



Again, I am not proposing that the variation in perception among us or humans in general has anything to do with insanity. Even if and when I talk (or the people in the videos talk) of hallucinations they are not saying that if one experiences any of this that one is insane.


As you will see in the next video, with Professor Michael Kubovy and Composer Judith Shatin, our Brain has two systems, one which is designed to work within a pattern, this system 1 (implicit system) is an ancient part of the brain which serves the purpose to give us automatic reactions that were probably designed to keep us alive as a species. This system follows patterns of thought that are beyond our conscious control.

But the Brain has a secret weapon, System 2 (explicit system) which is the part of the brain that depends on what we have learned or experienced and that acts often to correct the signals imparted to our conscience by system 1.

Sometimes the interaction between these two systems give origin to what I can call audio sensorial clashes. You will also see that our brain is designed to follow expectation patters and these are as developed in language as they are in sound.


Watch this (and the other videos) !

Be patient, although some might find this riveting it requires some attention :) it is a 1 hour scientific video...... by the way not all of it is relevant to the purpose of a possible explanation to why we cannot always trust our senses to give us a precise analysis of the surrounding reality, nevertheless it makes a nice and interesting lecture. The first part by Professor Michael Kubovy is more relevant to the purpose of this thread than the second part.


Having seen this we cannot avoid this great lecture where Professor Diana Deutsch talks of how the brain processes and analyses sound and music . She discovered a number of interesting things about this and has placed a further link between speech and music and also on how easily the brain is tricked into thinking it hears something because it follows patterns.



Of course we can all have a laugh at this, why not, we can lighten up a little bit!



But after a laugh, maybe we like to watch something serious again with Eric Barnhill and Stephanie Chase..........perhaps not directly related but interesting nevertheless......as much as Brain structural patterns are concerned.

 

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Andre.
You do seem to have much time on your hands. :bluewink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well Captain, :) I seek to find answers about things that tickle my curiosity, or interest me, none of which is, Thomas, compulsory reading or watching.

Should anyone share the same curiosity, you can find here food for thought, that is if you have them about this, as I said, none of this is mandatory!

http://www.musicperception.org/index.html
 

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Wake me up when it's over. :sleepy4::sleepy2:
 

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Wow, bravo Milandro. I find this stuff fascinating- so much so that as a college professor who studies auditory perception, I've made it my career. I was a peer reviewer on Deutsch's Speech-to-Song paper and have written a criticism of some of Kubovy's previous work http://jneuhoff.com/Cognition_Comment.pdf.

As you correctly point out, studying perception is no different from any other scientific process. Carefully collecting data with appropriate experimental controls, and using statistical analysis to test hypotheses. Unfortunately, when one studies something like perception from a scientific perspective, it is sometimes difficult to convey the findings to a general audience. After all, everyone is an expert at perception. We all have done it every da since the day we were born. The trick is to differentiate for the masses the difference between "perceiving" and understanding how perception works. This along with getting folks to pay attention to evidence other than their own perception of things create the greatest challenges to disseminating the scientific work in this field. Oh, that and the whole "you can't study art or creativity" thing....
 

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I can honestly say that I played Acoustic and Electric Guitar for 30 years without knowing *** the Guitars I had were made from material wise.

I played/owned Fender Strats, Gibson Les Pauls, Yamaha Acoustics, various Ibanez guitars, Marshall and Fender Amps etc and never thought about the materials and neither did anyone else in the bands I played with or the players I knew.

I first struck the material thing about 10 years ago on the Internet.

I also struck the Tone thing for the first time at about the same time.

I never talked about Tone with the Bass player, debating this or that.

Tone might have occasionally come up with someone but it was not the centre of discussions.

Dudes raving on about Tone and Materials on the Internet are really the first time I struck it in a big way.

If they were not quite happy with the Guitar or whatever, then someone would just try other Guitars out at music shops or whatever and then play a Guitar they liked.

I don't think that they went into a Scientific Analysis of Wood Species, Perceptions etc etc, they just used their ears and preferences.

I think the Internet by it's very nature, tends to encourage certain discussion subjects where people can launch there opinions into cyberspace from the comfort of their home.

I have come to the conclusion that certain types of people tend to post in forums (or bother to post) and therefore the discussions are skewed towards certain things.

Mick Jagger recently asked fans to let him know some song requests by Social Media/Forums and in the end Mick said that a lot of Social Media/Forum using Fans were requesting obscure songs that the regular Stones fans don't go to a show to see, so it seems to me that the Fans that were using Social Media/Forums to reply to Mick were a small subset of Stones fans in general and I also think that Material/Tone posters on Music Forums are also a small subset of Musicians (or so called Musicians).

"Sir Mick reveals he uses social media when it comes to planning their show and finds it useful to ask his Twitter following for input on the set list.

"With Twitter you get so much more feedback. But the kind of people who tweet about songs are not your general fan. Not everyone wants obscure songs. Otherwise, you’ll get everyone else saying. ‘I bought my girlfriend along, and she wants Honky Tonk Women, not the whole of the Satanic Majesties, thanks.’”

It's sort of half fun at times to let the opinions fly about some small effect and it becomes like a game or something.

I'm pretty sure someone somewhere is probably studying this Internet behaviour.

btw Yeah, Mick does occasionally hang around on Facebook and the Stones forum apparently.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I too find these things fascinating! Perception is indeed something that we all experience but not too many of us ever get to wonder how others perceive things and the more one reads about it the more one realises that there is a lot of variation in both underlaid and superimposed structures among people of all sorts.

I have started reading about these things thanks to the work of Oliver Sacks, he is the most wonderful storyteller and can keep me fascinated for hours telling me about the immensity of the structures in the human brain and the impact on our daily life of common behaviour and not so common one.


The society for music perception and cognition seems to be producing a lot of interesting work.
 

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Perceptions are basically our Brain filtering info IMO.

What makes someone right or left wing or no wing?, it's just different perceptions of the same issues, I think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Perceptions are basically our Brain filtering info IMO.

What makes someone right or left wing or no wing?, it's just different perceptions of the same issues, I think.
I am sure that it could be argued that some beliefs are a matter of a different way to perceive things..........but it gets a lot more complicated very quickly and even more controversial that this thread because we unavoidably would touch politics and religion.


I purposely didn’t include a video among the ones that I embedded before by Oliver Sacks talking of the human mind and its built in tendency to create myths and beliefs.
 

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Perception is interesting, and what we perceive IS reality, at least to ourselves.

I am reminded of an evening at Yoshi's some years ago, watching McCoy Tyner's Latin band. There was a point at which, in some tune, where McCoy's piano solo had been building to a climax, and the horns started playing a riff. The energy was amazing. All the musicians were locked into the same thought, on the same "wavelength" as it were. And it appeared to me, as the music continued to build energy, that the entire band lifted up off the stage - not a lot, but by a foot or so.

Of course, my intellect tells me that this did not happen, that in fact the band stayed firmly grounded to the stage. But my memory is very clear, and I know what I saw. So this evening will forever and always live in my mind as the night that McCoy's band played so well together, that the group energy lifted them up into the air.

I have seen this band, not necessarily the same musicians, but the Latin band McCoy toured with for several years, many times, both before and after this particular evening. They were always great, but this night they were not just a band, they were enveloped in shared energy. You could see it in their faces, after the set - they had been "gone".

So was this "real"? Or just the product of an addled brain? (I was certainly not high that night, at least from drugs/alcohol, as I quit all that in the 80's...) To answer that question, we must know what reality is. The physicists keep changing that definition out from under us, at least in scientific terms. And personal reality certainly changes from day to day. I choose to define it as "what happens to me", which is the other side of the coin: "what I perceive".

Bottom line, I don't care. That evening, many years ago, lives brightly in my mind's eye and ear.
 

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I was a peer reviewer on Deutsch's Speech-to-Song paper and have written a criticism of some of Kubovy's previous work http://jneuhoff.com/Cognition_Comment.pdf.
Interesting paper! The definition of perceptual objects is very interesting, and I like the clear and compelling critique of a seemingly too narrow/restrictive argument about the way they are formed.

I liked this too:

studies in which listeners are asked to determine the number of sources present in a static presentation of harmonics
leaves much to be desired in terms of ecological validity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I call these folks, navel gazers.
Of course, call them what you want, this is STILL a free world ( despite considerable efforts by some folks) and even those who would like to silence the free sprits have the right to free speech. It’s the price we pay for freedom.

The rest of the world calls Oliver Sacks, Doctor and Professor, and one of the most important Neurologist - Psychiatrist in the world and surely the best known to the general public for divulging neuropsychiatry with his many and very successful books.


Perhaps also interesting to know that it was him upon whom the film “ Awakenings “ was based.

He has dedicated one of his last books “ Musicophilia” to music perception, this was the inspiration to documentary, which, although not engaging on sound perception per se is very interesting in showing us the relation between mind and music.

 

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The rest of the world calls Oliver Sacks, Doctor and Professor, and one of the most important Neurologist - Psychiatrist in the world and surely the best known to the general public for divulging neuropsychiatry with his many and very successful books.
milandro.
Without doubt you are right....an expert in a rather esoteric field.
But the point is, on this site, can he blow a mean tenor? :bluewink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
depends of what you mean by that.......... :twisted:

He plays piano though! :mrgreen:

One of the reason’s why his work on music has impressed me so much (I was already a fan and a reader before though) is because of a personal and painful experience with my father, prior to his passing, entering the world of dementia ( and Parkinson’s disease).

One of the few things that kept him “ with us” was music (singing almost to the end the old songs that he loved) and poetry (he loved to recite the poems that he had been learning as a child and as an adolescent at school).

This has always struck me as a very powerful force and Oliver Sacks helped me to understand ( a little more that is) how this works.
 

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milandro.
Without doubt you are right....an expert in a rather esoteric field.
But the point is, on this site, can he blow a mean tenor? :bluewink:
Sacks' books chronicle specific and quite unusual symptoms experienced by psychiatric patients, symptoms which are always due to specific neurological dysfunctions. His work is really good, in part, because it is anything but a kind of wide-ranging and unfocused account of human perceptual eccentricity. With respect to sound, Sacks says that purely "audio hallucinations" are extremely rare.

Sacks also has a really good sense of humour. I think he'd get this one:

 

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Just want to thank you Milandro for posting these as I find the subject fascinating. Not sure it will help me play any better, but that's of no consequence. I guess I'm more than a little bit of a nerd, but it goes with the territory since my day job is in science.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
thanks Wade. I am really fascinated to see how perception of everything works in each and every one. We live in a world of stimuli that we can easily think we all experience in a similar way and yet, once you get to see how people relate to all of this, you see that there are huge differences among each and every one of us.
 

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Its not about being able to prove that a silver neck sounds different than a brass neck. Its about a certain neck, sax or mouthpiece or any combination helping the player to get what he's looking for out of the instrument. Now for all those who for whatever reason (dogma, brainwashing, modern education, whatever) believe that the material a musical instrument is made of makes no difference in the perception of the sounds emanating from the instrument, I have great news - I have perfected the poor man's Strad violin; a perfect replica of the original in every respect, only crafted of 100% pure Bakelite so every household can enjoy the dulcet tones of a great instrument for the cost of a wooden student model violin.
 
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