Dr. Mark Schmuckler, Department of Psychology, University of Toronto at Scarborough, Canada

Thursday, October 27, 2022 - 12:30pm

Musical Surface and Musical Structure: The Role of Abstraction in Musical Processing

Because of its temporal nature, music presents a unique challenge to the perceptual systems. To understand music one must infer underlying musical structure based on a musical surface that is constantly changing. Accordingly, a central component of musical behavior, and psychological processing more generally, involves the abstraction of underlying musical structure from the musical surface. This talk discusses the central importance of such abstraction, looking at examples of the role of abstraction based on a variety of underlying representational structures. These examples support the idea that musical understanding is fundamentally driven by the apprehension of structural patterns, and not necessarily by auditory surface information.