Posted by alimasana on February 15th, 2020
and we look at physical reactions in the body and brain reactions using brain scanning technology, and of course we just ask people what theyíre feeling - a tried and true psychological method. Douglas Goldstein: Does it cut across different cultures? Daniel J. Levitin: In North America of course, music is somewhat homogenous in the Western tradition. In Israel, you have the benefit of Western music, but also Middle Eastern music. Someone raised here whoís been pretty insulated and only heard Western music, whether itís classical, pop, or jazz tends to think that major chords are happy and minor chords are sad. I always have to point out that if you listen to Middle Eastern music or Klezmer music, itís almost all in minor keys, but it isnít all sad, so this major-minor distinction is entirely cultural and entirely learned. Douglas Goldstein: We have a lot of guests from other countries, including some of those from the lost tribes of Jews that settled in China a couple of thousand years ago. They now live in the city of Kaifeng. One of the interesting things is that when we sing around the Shabbat table, theyíre the most out of key of anyone. They donít hear the melodies that we are singing, they hear other melodies. Daniel J. Levitin: There is a different scale system in Chinese music, so whatís out of key for them and whatís out of key for us are different things and also is culturally determined. Itís interesting to compare our auditory sense with our visual sense for this purpose. When we look at a rainbow, there is less of a physiological problem. We see the same colors. We see red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet and we can look at pantone chips or other color samples and this is more or less determined by the physiology and the chemical sense of the eye. This is cross culture, thatís what I mean about color. Thereís no cross cultural universality for pitches of the infinity of tones that are available to use. Different cultures have selected a subset that they call their scale, and the auditory system isnít chemically based. Itís based on vibrations, which are continuous in nature and not discrete.
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