Saturday, August 30, 2008

Does exposure matter? (Part 2)

Today an entry in Dutch on the same topic as a week ago: Does exposure matter? Hendrik Spiering, science editor of NRC Handelsblad, wrote a short, well-written article on the results:
"Subtiele muzikale verschillen in frasering en timing worden ook opgemerkt door liefhebbers zonder enige muzikale training. Vaak luisteren naar een specifiek muzikaal genre is genoeg. Dit blijkt uit een onderzoek waarbij muzikale experts en 'gewone' liefhebbers een serie van telkens twee versies van dezelfde stukken - jazz, rock en klassiek - moesten beoordelen op 'natuurlijkheid'. Er bleek geen verschil tussen mensen met veel en die met weinig muzikale opleiding, wel maakt het veel uit of ze vaak hadden geluisterd naar muziek, en naar welk genre. Subtiele afwijkingen in de frasering van klassieke muziek werden het best ontdekt door mensen die veel naar klassiek hadden geluisterd, die in jazz-muziek door mensen die vaak naar klassiek of jazz hadden geluisterd. Voor rock bleek de muziekvoorkeur niet uit te maken, mogelijk omdat in een moderne samenleving iedereen wel wordt blootgesteld aan rock."
Voor het volledige artikel, zie hier.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

How did music evolve?

This week a podcast from the Guardian on music, the brain, and evolutionary psychology (by James Randerson, Francesca Panetta and Marcus Pearce | guardian). How did music evolve, how is it linked to language, and how is it understood by the brain.

Ian Cross (Cambridge University) talks about how music acts as a social tool. Eric Clarke (Oxford University) talks about musical meaning and why dance music has such a profound effect on a club full of revellers. Adena Schachner (Harvard University) talks about her analyses of birds in relation to beat induction. In addition, snippets of Stefan Koelsch (Sussex University), Ani Patel (Neuroscience Institute, San Diego), Andrea Norton (Harvard Medical School), Geraint Wiggins (Goldsmiths College London) and Paul Robertson (founder and leader of the Medici String Quartet) can be heard.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Does exposure matter?

Last week the University of Amsterdam issued a press release on the results of our study on musical competence and the role of exposure (to be published in an upcoming issue of JEP:HPP). I didn’t expect it to have too much impact, but it is surprising to see how many news sites simply copied the text of the original release:
"Researchers at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) have demonstrated how much the brain can learn simply through active exposure to many different kinds of music. The common view among music scientists is that musical abilities are shaped mostly by intense musical training, and that they remain rather rough in untrained listeners, the so-called Expertise hypothesis. However, the UvA-study shows that listeners without formal musical training, but with sufficient exposure to a certain musical idiom (the Exposure hypothesis), perform similarly in a musical task when compared to formally trained listeners. Furthermore, the results show that listeners generally do better in their preferred musical genre. As such the study provides evidence for the idea that some musical capabilities are acquired through mere exposure to music."
My compliments, therefore, to those journalists who actually read the publication and gave their own perspective on the results, such as Wired, and Wissenschaft Actuel, with a special mention for NRC Handelsblad :-)

Friday, August 08, 2008

What is the point of a mechanical shoe?

Fragment of the UvA tv-series De Fascinatie on the computational modeling of music cognition.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Music ≠ sound?

This week another fragment of the tv-series The Fascination on research by scholars and scientists of the University of Amsterdam. The fragment below is about music cognition and is questioning the common definition of music as being (structured) sound.