PSYCHOACOUSTICS AND SONIC ILLUSION
Join us for a journey through musical illusion, subjective experience of psychoacoustic listening scenarios and explore your incredible, unperfect auditory system.
This series considers your computer as psychoactive audio-visual delivery system: one that can transform your domestic and / mobile environment using sound and light. We will be walking an experimental path where the Zoom presentation format will be explored as a new domain of ambient sensory experience, critical discourse and collective experience.
Episodes 1 & 2 are missing from the archive but will be reinstated in Jan 2021
Episode 3: Cognitive Psychology and Music
This 60 minutes builds upon the two previous episodes which introduced variable conceptions of, firstly, sound, and secondarily, the ear and the auditory brain. We will now move deeper into human consciousness and explore the internal mental representation of external sonic phenomena. The work of Roger Shepard, after whom the sonic illusion of the Shepard tone is named, is central to the themes and scope of this episode. Cognitive scientist, author and artist in his own right, his universal law of generalisation and his association with Max Mathews at Bell Labs from the late 1950’s, suggests that the scope of his interests encapsulate well the range of issues associated with this week’s topic.
Keywords: Shepard tones, Bell Labs, Max Matthews, phenomenology, Helmholtz, unconscious inference, spatial and temporal inversion, perceptual completion.
Episode 4: Ambiguity, Paradox and Musical Illusion
This episode focuses upon the discoveries of musical illusions by psychologist Diana Deutsch. Her fascinating work is contextualised by the work of Roger Shepard, whose work we explored last episode, and subsequently compared and contrasted with the complementary perspectives of musical neuroscientist Daniel Levitin and Oliver Sachs work on musical hallucination.
Episode 5: Illusion in Speech and Language
Over this hour we will be exploring a small selection of the many perceptual idiosyncrasies associated with the relationships of sound, speech, music and language perception and interpretation.. We will hear two examples that illustrate sonic illusions based upon our misperception of repeated speech patterns. For these, a pen and paper will add to your enjoyment of the experiment. These introductory examples are based on Professor Deutsch’s ongoing research as available on her website. Following this experiential and experimental introduction we will be moving through such areas as the Civil Rights era compositions of Steve Reich, jazz scat singing, audio-visual speech and sensory integration and various other psychoacoustic phenomena, contact with the dead, sound art dealing with endangered languages in Sub-Saharan African and an 21st century acousmatic composition exploring the relationship of speech, dialect and music.
J MILO TAYLOR is an artist, musician, producer and researcher, and is course leader for the BA (Hons) Sound Arts course at London College of Communication. Milo’s teaching is informed by contemporary approaches to cybernetic theory and pedagogic / paragogic practices. This implies constant and productive movement between teaching, research and art making.