Tonal motion and attractions: a thread in music theory.

Dogantan-Dack, Mine (2003) Tonal motion and attractions: a thread in music theory. In: IIAS SRC Conference Proceedings. University of Windsor Press, Ontario, pp. 1-10. ISBN 1894613325

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Abstract

This is a revised version of a presentation I gave at the Arts Symposium which formed part of the 15th Conference of the International Institute for Advanced Studies in Systems Research and Cybernetics held in Baden-Baden, Germany. In the article, I discuss the various conceptual models and metaphors theorists have proposed to account for one of the most remarkable features of the art of music, i.e. its capacity to generate experiences of movement. A pervasive idea in music theory is that musical motion arises from the attractional forces between the tones. In this connection, attraction is treated as a conceptual metaphor borrowed from physics. My argument, however, is that attraction refers to a psychological schema humans employ in making sense of dynamically evolving systems, and that tonal attraction is not merely a metaphor with its source in the physical realm. Through references to recent research by Dissanayake and Damasio, I argue that this psychological schema is acquired very early in life. Scientific research shows that infants develop richly communicative psychological experiences and expressive behaviour before they walk or talk, and the earliest experiences that teach us about cause-effect - force, motion those phenomena related to the concept of attraction - are affective in nature. Survival-enhancing interactions between infants and parents/ caregivers involve vocal, facial, and kinesic movements leading to sustained positive affect. These movement patterns become an attractor towards which various affective exchanges are directed or converge. As the attraction schema is multimodal in origin, it is multimodally applicable. Its applications involve our recognition of a similar gestalt, or isomorphism in diverse phenomena, rather than metaphorical mappings between different domains. The International Institute for Advanced Studies in Systems Research and Cybernetics, located at the University of Windsor, Canada, has elected me an Associate Fellow of the IIAS following this presentation.

Item Type:Book Section
Research Areas:School of Media and Performing Arts > Performing Arts
ID Code:225
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Deposited On:29 Oct 2008 15:47
Last Modified:15 Aug 2014 12:17

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