Vijay writes,
The dual theoretical frameworks of embodied and situated cognition ground our understanding of cognitive processes in physical and cultural realities. In this talk I review these viewpoints and discuss their implications for aspects of music perception. I argue that musical meter fulfills a specific cognitive function in a certain range of timescales, delimited by natural timescales of physical embodiment and human memory. Furthermore, I claim that meter perception is a cultural practice, requiring specific, culturally contingent decoding strategies. I continue with a discussion of rhythmic expression in African and African-American groove-based musics, focusing on a handful of specifically constructed musical examples. I discuss how expressive microtiming variations may be decoded as the sonic trace of a physical, culturally situated body.

Finally I speak of musical improvisation as a kind of dialectic between symbolic and situational constraints. Musical meaning in improvisation depends on temporal situatedness, a crucial aspect of embodiment. In conclusion I argue for an enlarged view of music perception, incorporating the body, temporality, and culture.

Vijay Iyer is a pianist, composer, and bandleader recently described by Amiri Baraka as "an oncoming phenomenon, already up to his fingers in the most advanced music of this wildly contradictory age." In addition, he has had a unique academic career in tandem with his musical pursuits. He received a B.S. in mathematics and physics from Yale and a Masters in Physics from U.C.
Berkeley. Then he merged his passions and assembled his own academic program focusing on the scientific study of music. In 1998, he earned an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Technology and the Arts at U.C. Berkeley. He now resides in New York City, where he works as a freelance musician, writer, and scholar.

Add to iCal
Find on Google Maps

Wednesday, January 19, 2000, 11:00pm to Thursday, January 20, 2000 1:00am