Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cognitive vs. Sensory Reading

Slowly but surely I am finding that professionals outside of the music field are fascinated by the same phenomenon that intrigues me, namely that multiple systems are stimulated in the act of reading.  Most of the studies I run across are about reading language: A good introduction to this is Maryanne Wolf's Proust and the Squid.

The complexities of reading language which she describes in terms comprehensible to the layman are, however, fewer than those of reading music.  For reading music involves highly complex motor coordination encompassing breath, touch, hearing, and spatial orientation, to name but a few components.  All of this is affected by very specific memory/expectation currents triggered by all of the above plus prior experience of sounds, of a piece of music, of a certain composer, etc.

Tonal Refraction visualizes some of the intangibles that affect our instantaneous response to musical scores.