Does Nature Call the Tune?

Richard Taruskin

in The Danger of Music and Other Anti-Utopian Essays

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780520249776
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520942790 | DOI:
Does Nature Call the Tune?

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This chapter presents an essay on Leonard B. Meyer, who in the 1960s challenged the academic serialists by stating that serial music was perceptually opaque even to its practitioners and which would require an educational revolution to communicate meaningfully with its listeners. His theoretical surmises are increasingly bolstered by solid empirical work in cognitive psychology and linguistics, where cognitive scientists increasingly agree that there are internal constraints on musical hearing supplementing external nature. The essay also refers to Richard L. Crocker, who in 1974, became the only musicologist ever to feature on the front page of the New York Times because of deciphering and performing a Sumerian song dated around 1400 bc.

Keywords: Leonard B. Meyer; serialists; serial music; cognitive psychology; linguistics; musical hearing; Richard L. Crocker

Chapter.  2267 words. 

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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