Jon Gallant wrote:
>There exists a small psychological literature on children who were
>isolated during the language-learning window of early childhood, and
>hence had to learn proper language late (discussed a little in "A Brief
>History of The Mind" by William Calvin). My recollection of the book
>is that these children are never able to learn the complex syntax of
>grammatical language; and also show deficiencies in generalization, in
>symbol manipulation, and in visualizing long sequences of actions---the
>latter being the peculiarly human trait that Calvin argues is connected
>to syntactical language. From the point of view of this discussion, it
>would be interesting to know how these children respond to music.
No idea: but children in these situations seem to have a lot of other
problems to inhibit them. On the other hand, feral children have been
known to relate to the non verbal "language" of wolves or whatever raised
them. It is an interesting thought, perhaps someone can help on. People
don't acquire language til about 15 months before which time they were
certainly learning lots of other non verbal clues, like how to crawl,
how to feed, etc. Even foetuses in the womb respond to non language -
including music. Maybe the terminology doesn't really express what we've
talking around. Maybe its a kind of communication that crosses boundaries.
Recently there have been studies of the phsyiology of Neanderthals,
indicating theat they possibly "sang" for pleasure as well as expression.
So if there are languages without words, are there languages which don't
depend on strict verbal form? Is the basis of music (and other creative
arts) communication,? Whatever the form of expression that's used? No
doubt there are people who really believe music means nothing but sound,
but as Steve and others have said, that's not been the reality of music
for the most part, indeed it's more a kind of affectation. Even if a
musician isn't quite sure "what" he's communicating, he's communicating
something, even on a purely intuitive level.
What interests mne a lot at the moment is the correlation between seeing
and hearing, plastic arts and music, and how limiting recorded music is.
As someone mentioned, the notational form we use probabaly affects how
we intuit music: other societies with different notations or none at
all. Why shouldn't a composer "write" diagrammatically and in colours.
It may need to be translated so conventionally trained musicians can
perform it, but it can, and has been done. The idea is that communication
is a creative process, involving many participants - composers, musicians,
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