Musical Information Beyond Measurement and Computation: Interaction, Symbol Processing and the Dynamic Approach

Musical Information Beyond Measurement and Computation: Interaction, Symbol Processing and the Dynamic Approach

Mark Reybrouck (University of Leuven, Belgium)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0270-8.ch006
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Abstract

This chapter elaborates on the concepts of music information and information processing by bringing together the fields of computation, cybernetics and the dynamic systems approach. It conceives of music users as autonomous agents that behave as adaptive devices that construct their musical knowledge as the outcome of continuous epistemic interactions with the sonic world. As such, it challenges the classical symbolic-conceptual approach to musical information in terms of static, discrete and objective categories in favor of a trans-classical model that relies on subjective, process-like and non-discrete categories of meaning. In an attempt to go beyond traditional dichotomies, it proposes a hybrid perceptual-conceptual approach that does justice both to the richness and fullness of perceptual experience and the plasticity of mental operations in a kind of symbolic play.
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Background And Main Focus

In what follows, the concept of musical information is first brought in relation to the particular listening strategies of individual listeners, relying on the conceptual tools of ecological psychology, cybernetics and dynamical systems theory. An operational framework is then introduced to equate the music user with an adaptive system, stressing the major role of interactions with the sounds. These interactions are considered from a dynamic point of view with a tension between an experiential-perceptual and symbolic conceptual approach, the latter being considered from a computational approach that stresses the role of symbolic play and the plasticity and reversibility of mental operations. It is argued, finally, that music should be processed both in a conceptual and experiential way.

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