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Language, Music, and the BrainA Mysterious Relationship$
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Michael A. Arbib

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780262018104

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262018104.001.0001

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Five Terms in Search of a Synthesis

Five Terms in Search of a Synthesis

(p.3) 1 Five Terms in Search of a Synthesis
Language, Music, and the Brain

Michael A. Arbib

The MIT Press

One may think of music and language as patterns of sound, and this view anchors much of the research on these topics. However, one may also view the making of music and the use of language within the broader perspective of our interaction with the physical and social world and their impact on the inner world of the emotions. This chapter sets forth a framework to explore five terms—language, music, and brain as well as the action-perception cycle and emotion—so as to bridge our informal understanding of these terms and the challenge of defining precise scientific analyses within an integrative framework. It then provides a chapter-by-chapter overview of the architecture of the book to show how themes emerge in different chapters, and how the chapters work together to provide a more-or-less coherent narrative. A discussion of Tan Dun’s Water Passion after St. Matthew frames several high-level questions designed to encourage readers to fuse the reality of their personal experience with the insights of well-focused studies to gain an ever fuller understanding of the relationships between language, music, and the brain. Published in the Strungmann Forum Reports Series.

Keywords:   language, music, brain, action-perception cycle, emotion

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