RE: What is music ... = spirals

Subject: RE: What is music ... = spirals
From: Eldad Tsabary (
Date: Mon Nov 21 2005 - 01:54:59 EST

Kenneth Wrote:

"Hmmm... I wonder if we're conflating objective features with subjective
(perceptual) here? Color and pitch are both percepts and both have a
"circular" nature: the circular nature of perceived color and the
circular nature of octave equivalence. Both color and pitch can be
represented as frequencies but neither of these frequency
representations imply circularity."

Perhaps the circular nature of pitch is strictly limited to music. For
example, Al Bregman's research of audio stream segregation shows that the
farthest apart in pitch the tones in a sequence of alternating high and low
tones are, the stronger the stream segregation - with no effect caused by
octave equivalence. Increasing the separation has a strictly linear effect
on our perception regardless of what we would possibly consider a strong
tonal relation.

On a color-related note, I'd like to share an amusing experience. I visited
the MET in New York a few years ago with a color-blind friend and we both
stopped to look at a work in the twentieth century art section (I cannot
recall the name of the artist). The work of art was a series of large color
panels - each panel with a single color - laid on a wall in such order
giving the sense of a gradual shift from one color to another (through many
others) - a very linear perceptual experience. My friend's color-blindness
is not complete black and white but is rather a distortion that I cannot
fully categorize (for example instead of seeing red-yellow-green in a stop
light he sees red-red-white). He explained to me how interesting this work
was for its symmetrical nature :) He saw the two ends as having identical
colors and very symmetrically shifting towards the shared center. My
description caught him by complete surprise. Although both our experiences
were linear in nature, they were fundamentally different in direction.

I found this experience to be an amusing example of how perception is the
key for our experience


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