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Music, Memory, and Memes in the Light of Calvinian Neuroscience

Jan, Steven (2011) Music, Memory, and Memes in the Light of Calvinian Neuroscience. Music Theory Online, 17 (2). pp. 3-50. ISSN 1067-3040

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This article explores the interface between evolutionary thought, cognitive science, and music theory. It focuses on how patterns hypothesized to function as memes in music are encoded neurobiologically, using ideas developed by the American theoretical neurophysiologist William Calvin. After recapitulating the precepts and predictions of Universal Darwinism and meme theory as to what might constitute a meme in music, I outline current understanding of the psychology of musical memory before summarizing Calvin’s general Darwinian-neurobiological perspective on information storage and recall. Then I relate memetics and psychology/neurobiology by hypothesizing how certain types of musical memes might be implemented by Calvinian mechanisms. I conclude by considering neural network models of memory, one system developed by Gjerdingen aligning broadly with certain aspects of Calvinian theory.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Schools: School of Music, Humanities and Media
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Depositing User: Cherry Edmunds
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2012 11:13
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2015 20:48


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