Podcast 435 – “The Neuroscience of Music”


Guest speaker: Marina Korsakova

Marina Korsakova and Bruce DamerPROGRAM NOTES:

Today’s podcast features the 2014 Palenque Norte Lecture given by Dr. Marina Korsakova. Marina is a professional pianist and scholar in music cognition. Her research is focused on emotional responses to music and on the perception of melodic transformation. Currently, Marina teaches Music Cognition at Touro College. She performs regularly as a member of Union City Chamber Players, and she is an author of books and scientific papers. Her latest book, “Music as Magical Journey: A Story of Tonal Gravity, Melodic Objects, and Motion in Tonal Space,” makes a friendly introduction into the science of music.

COMMENTS by Marina Korsakova
When giving my talk, I was not always clear about important points.
Below are some elucidations and corrections.

7:05 When saying a “low level of music perception” I meant the low level of consciousness, which is required for processing the melodic elements that make music.

10:35 Vibration of a string (and an air column) generates a very long tail of soft sounds – overtones. But the consonant quality of different sounds is defined by the relationships among their strongest overtones – those overtones that are in the beginning of the overtone series.

11:58 The pleasant quality of consonant melodic elements (as compared to the dissonant) can be explained by the lesser cost of neuronal energy for their auditory processing. The economy happens thanks to the redundancy of important spectral information for the consonant sounds. Here we are dealing with the law of laziness: the less efforts for processing, the more pleasant an element of perception.

12:50 Music can have different layers of perception. Enjoyment with some of the layers may require an expert understanding, though the essence of emotional communication in music is available for everybody. It is the perception of music’s building material—the melodic elements—that does not require any intellectual efforts. We perceive melodic matter intuitively.

19:40 Everything around us and we ourselves are made of interactions of different force fields. Today we know four fundamental forces of nature: the gravitational force, strong interaction, electromagnetic force, and weak force.

22:40 “Sharing on the top” meant that music and psychotropic drugs might share the same neural substrate.

25:24 Our study found that people we no musical training can have fine understanding of the exquisite details of tonal field and even of musical styles. That data was illustrated with graphs (pictures).

27:05 Music can be explained as artful arrangement of levels of tonal energy along the arrow of time


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Marina Korsakova’s Website

The Universe of Music By Marina Korsakova-Kreyn

The Spirit of the Internet: Speculations on the Evolution of Global Consciousness by Lorenzo Hagerty (HTML format)

The Psychedelic Society of Ireland (first announcement)

The Women’s Visionary Congress

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