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Journal Article

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Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal





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Part 1 briefly recounts the influence of social unrest and the explosion of knowledge in both psychology and the humanities circa 1970-1990. As the sciences rely on explicit top-down theories connected to bottom-up maps and models, and whereas the humanities build on bottom-up differences within malleable top-down “theories” (approaches, themes, theses, programs, methods, etc.), the changes in the sciences during this period contrasted sharply with the changes in the humanities. Part 2 discusses in detail how these two social transformations affected the histories of music theory and cognitive music theory. The former fractiously withdrew from its parent organization (AMS), whereas the latter was welcomed into SMPC. Inasmuch as both music theory and cognitive music theory rely on maps and models, Part 3 examines the metatheoretical importance of these terms for music cognition, music theory, and cognitive music theory. Part 4 speculates about the future—how music cognition, cognitive music theory, and music theory contribute to the structure of musical knowledge. The intellectual potential of this unique triadic collaboration is discussed: psychology provides a commanding empirical framework of the human mind, while music theory and cognitive music theory logically model moment-to-moment temporal emotions and the auditory intellections at the core of musical art.

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Published as "Our Varying Histories and Future Potential: Models and Maps in Science, the Humanities, and in Music Theory," Eugene Narmour, Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Vol. 29 No. 1, September 2011; (pp. 1-21) DOI: 10.1525/mp.2011.29.1.1. © 2011 by the Regents of the University of California. Copying and permissions notice: Authorization to copy this content beyond fair use (as specified in Sections 107 and 108 of the U. S. Copyright Law) for internal or personal use, or the internal or personal use of specific clients, is granted by the Regents of the University of California for libraries and other users, provided that they are registered with and pay the specified fee via Rightslink® or directly with the Copyright Clearance Center.


history, humanities, sciences, theory, epistemology

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Music Theory Commons



Date Posted: 11 October 2016

This document has been peer reviewed.