Ecological Constraints of Timescales, Production, and Perception in Temporal Experiences of Music


  • Rolf Inge God University of Oslo, Department of Musicology



temporal experience, ecological constraints, contexts, abstract-concrete


In trying to structure our discussions of temporal experience in music, it could be useful to have a look at some basic ecological constraints of timescales, produc­tion, and perception of music. This may hopefully help us to distinguish between on the one hand readily perceived features of sound and music-related body motion, i.e. con­crete sonic, kinematic, and proprioceptive features, and on the other hand, more generic, amodal, and abstract elements in musical discourse, manifest in various symbolic representa­tions such as notation, numbers, and diagrams. Given easily accessible music tech­nologies, it is actually possible to experiment with different editions of musical works, i.e. concatenate fragments in different order and then evaluate the emergent contex­tual effects in listening experiments. Also, given the faculties of musical imagery (de­fined as our ability to mentally re-experience musical sound and body motion in the ab­sence of physically present sound and body motion), we can at will recombine chunks of music in our minds and mentally scan through large musical works. The contention here is that such recombination in actual re-editing of musical sound or in musical im­agery, will still be related to the basic ecological constraints of the timescales, production and perception in music.