“Music takes place in time, but repetition beguilingly makes it knowable in the way of something outside of time.”
How and why this happens is precisely what cognitive scientist Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis, director of the Music Cognition Lab at the University of Arkansas, explores in On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind (public library).
Music takes place in time, but repetition beguilingly makes it knowable in the way of something outside of time. It enables us to “look” at a passage as a whole, even while it’s progressing moment by moment. But this changed perspective brought by repetition doesn’t feel like holding a score and looking at a passage’s notation as it progresses. Rather, it feels like a different way of inhabiting a passage — a different kind of orientation.In On Repeat, a fine addition to these essential books on the psychology of music, Margulis goes on to explore how advances in cognitive science have radically changed our understanding of just why repetition is so psychoemotionally enticing.
HT Open Culture.