Conceptualizing Music: Cognitive Structure, Theory, and Analysis

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Oxford University Press, 2005 - Music - 360 pages
3 Reviews
This book shows how recent work in cognitive science, especially that developed by cognitive linguists and cognitive psychologists, can be used to explain how we understand music. The book focuses on three cognitive processes--categorization, cross-domain mapping, and the use of conceptual models--and explores the part these play in theories of musical organization.

The first part of the book provides a detailed overview of the relevant work in cognitive science, framed around specific musical examples. The second part brings this perspective to bear on a number of issues with which music scholarship has often been occupied, including the emergence of musical syntax and its relationship to musical semiosis, the problem of musical ontology, the relationship between words and music in songs, and conceptions of musical form and musical hierarchy.

The book will be of interest to music theorists, musicologists, and ethnomusicologists, as well as those with a professional or avocational interest in the application of work in cognitive science to humanistic principles.
 

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One of the most important recent works to bridge the disciplinary interstice between musicology and psychology. Its exfoliation of contemporary scientific inquiry into categorization and syntax is authoritative and accessible, yet at the same time Zbikowski never loses sight of the basic humanistic concerns that underwrite music scholarship. As a musicologist myself, I've read the book cover to cover more than once, and often use it as a point of reference in my own work. Highly recommended. 

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About the author (2005)


Lawrence Zbikowski has taught music theory and analysis at the University of Chicago since 1993.

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