100 Days of Something: 62

What are the building blocks that music shares with other capacities?

I came across this video1 of Fred Lerdahl’s lecture on Musical Syntax and Its Relation to Linguistic Syntax. Of particular interest to me since I’ve based a number of pieces of music directly on transcriptions of speech. Lerdahl also covers some interesting points worth considering when thinking of the common ground between music and other (art) forms.

This was the first of a series of three lectures. I haven’t been able to find videos of the following two: The Sounds of Poetry Viewed as Music and Tonal Space, Motion, and Force, but there is a PDF of the second available on Lerdahl’s website.

100 Days of Something: 59

I attended an unusual concert this afternoon: children playing the avant-garde. Compositions by no less than Simon Steen-Andersen and Henning Christiansen, a text score by Carl Bergstrøm, and a large work specially composed for the Suzuki Institute by Peter Due. Rather than having the “see what the children can do” aspect in the foreground, I found myself caught up in experiencing the music.

Earlier in the day I happened to listen to a podcast with Steven Pinker – the cognitive psychologist well known for his theories on language. He had some thoughts on children being able to master a greater complexity of language than hitherto thought possible – and how this plays itself out in children’s books, for example.