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Cognition. 2006 May;100(1):131-72. Epub 2006 Jan 17.

Varieties of musical experience.

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  • 1Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155, USA. Jamshed.Bharucha@tufts.edu


In this paper, we argue that music cognition involves the use of acoustic and auditory codes to evoke a variety of conscious experiences. The variety of domains that are encompassed by music is so diverse that it is unclear whether a single domain of structure or experience is defining. Music is best understood as a form of communication in which formal codes (acoustic patterns and their auditory representations) are employed to elicit a variety of conscious experiences. After proposing our theoretical perspective we offer three prominent examples of conscious experiences elicited by the code of music: the recognition of structure itself, affect, and the experience of motion.

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