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Schoenberg, Serialism and Cognition: Whose Fault If No One Listens?

Posted: 25 Apr 2011  

Philip Ball

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: March 2011

Abstract

Atonal compositions based on the 12-tone method devised by Arnold Schoenberg remain, in some cases a century after they were written, largely unpopular with music audiences. Research on the science of music cognition may now offer some clues to why this is. Schoenberg's method of atonal composition actively undermines some of the basic cognitive principles that allow our brains to turn notes into music. Unless 12-tone music is granted other aids to cognition, it may thus fail to create a cognitively coherent auditory experience, but becomes a mere collection of sounds.

Keywords: Music, Cognition, Perception, Atonality, Psychology

Suggested Citation

Ball, Philip, Schoenberg, Serialism and Cognition: Whose Fault If No One Listens? (March 2011). Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, Vol. 36, No. 1, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1817535

Philip Ball (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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