D. Clarke, E. Clarke (eds.), Music And Consciousness
mac.jpg

This article about a book is a draft. You can help expanding it by editing or discussing in the comments

This scholarly and multidisciplinary work does not touch on the topic of music games. It is a multi-authored monograph with quite a broad diversity of approaches, some chapters have almost nothing in common with each other, while some overlap a lot. As it might be useful in the research about our topic, here is an overview with the potential points of contact highlighted.

The first four chapters represent a "misalign" towards our wiki that is common not only within the book — focusing on the perspective of the listener. In the first pair of chapters12, the main theme is phenomenology, and the topic of perception is treated in such basic terms that might be relevant for the performance perspective too. The third chapter3 extends the seen earlier Husserlian notions with input from Heidegger and Derrida, while the fourth4 represents Lacan. Certainly more gains are to gathered here for philosophy than the understanding of music games as such.

Chapters 5-6 are closer to us, as they're written from the perspective of a performer and specifically of free improvisation. One5 has relatively familiar references: Jerzy Grotowski (theatre), Karlheinz Stockhausen (intuitive), and Derek Bailey (free). While inspired by modern threads in cognitive studies the author delivers an interesting critique of some concepts developed around free improvisation by musicians themselves. [ example needed ] Next6 views improvisation through Buddhism, connecting it to meditation (a context important for some practitioners of open scores). Biswas's account is very culturally specific, with an important particular aspect being the "body-centered" practice — Vipassana.

Further chapter7 follows the topic of Buddhism detailing how perception and consciousness is conceptualized in the system and summarizing its influence on John Cage. Then8 we "stay" in India, but with much more of Hindu and Muslim contexts. Here, the active practitioners of dhrupad are abundantly cited, and themes that are the closest to music game research would be around parameters and how differently the basic ingredients of music might be conceptualized depending on the culture. The next chapters stay strong with perception, approaching the topic with the help of William James,9 (here, interestingly, with some input from computer science), then focusing on memory/association with a closer case study of a waltz.10 After that the book slows down with a broad overview of music-consciousness relations done with a lot of care towards methodologies. Here, the author connects flow with 'deep listening', although with not enough detail to find a direct connection to the practice of Pauline Oliveros of the same name.11

Chapters 12-14 might be the ones with the most potential for usage in music games context, especially of the more spatial type. One12 has book-unique references to Lakoff & Johnson and their otherwise popular theory. Another13 has maybe a scientifically hardest, empirical approach, and also considers 'chunks' — minimal recognizable portions of (in this case) musical content (not to be mistaken for 'sonic primitives' measured physically) — a topic worth pondering when approaching musical parameters in abstract. And the section is ended14 by adding a bit more mirror-neurons and communication threads to the mix.

These all share the focus on the body, treating that body as a basis for music cognition. If musical "gestures" were understood in the terms of own movement (the intensity, complexity, directions — all automatically translated) it's easy to see how music cognition would happen at the completely pre-verbal (even sub-notion) stage, and how the musical meaning was to be so exquisitely personal.

The following three chapters are all preoccupied with specific states of consciousness. At first in the context of recreational drugs15, then ayahuasca rituals16, and lastly with more common absorbing activities that involve listening to music.17

Chapter 1818 is one last entry to single out for our purposes. This time, the potential profits for music game research lie mostly in the affiliation with music therapy, which is not a rare point of departure towards music games (even if not yet covered broadly at the wiki). While following a few separate practical threads, it shows us an anonymized case of community music project, with free improvisation mentioned as sporadically involved. This seemed like a context where music games could easily be included (didn't seem to be), but also it clearly indicated that some music gaming situations could also be analyzed with the socially involved method presented in this chapter.

The world of politics is visited in the analysis of Latin American popular song sub-genre.19. And finally we have a musicology of the opera L'Orfeo done through Jung.20

All in all, from our narrow point of view it's certainly a book peripheries material, but generally quite interesting, well prepared, and it should provide opportunities to find something for yourself, if academic writing is of interest to you, and if you pick and choose chapters in your reading.

References

📜 Biswas, Ansuman. 2011. “The music of what happens: mind, meditation, and music as movement.” In Music and Consciousness: Philosophical, Psychological, and Cultural Perspectives, edited by David Clarke and Eric Clarke, 95-110. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

📜 DeNora, Tia. 2011. “Practical consciousness and social relation in MusEcological perspective.” In Music and Consciousness: Philosophical, Psychological, and Cultural Perspectives, edited by David Clarke and Eric Clarke, 309-326. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

📜 Godøy, Rolf Inge. 2011. “Sound-action awareness in music.” In Music and Consciousness: Philosophical, Psychological, and Cultural Perspectives, edited by David Clarke and Eric Clarke, 231-244. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

📜 Hogg, Bennett. 2011. “Enacting consciousness, intertextuality, and musical free improvisation: deconstructing mythologies and finding connections.” In Music and Consciousness: Philosophical, Psychological, and Cultural Perspectives, edited by David Clarke and Eric Clarke, 79-94. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

📜 McGuiness, Andy and Katie Overy. 2011. “Music, consciousness, and the brain: music as shared experience of an embodied present.” In Music and Consciousness: Philosophical, Psychological, and Cultural Perspectives, edited by David Clarke and Eric Clarke, 245-262. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

📜 Peñalba Acitores, Alicia. 2011. “Towards a theory of proprioception as a bodily basis for consciousness in music.” In Music and Consciousness: Philosophical, Psychological, and Cultural Perspectives, edited by David Clarke and Eric Clarke, 215-230. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


If you think anything should be added to this text, please drop a hint or a link for future editors.

Unless stated otherwise Content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. See licensing details