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Über dieses Buch

How do we understand culture and shape its future? How do we cross the bridge between culture as ideas and feelings and physical, cultural objects, all this within the endless variety and complexity of modern and traditional societies? This book proposes a Physical Culture Theory, taking culture as a self-organizing impulse pattern of electric forces. Bridging the gap to consciousness, the Physical Culture Theory proposes that consciousness content, what we think, hear, feel, or see is also just this: spatio-temporal electric fields. Music is a perfect candidate to elaborate on such a Physical Culture Theory. Music is all three, musical instrument acoustics, music psychology, and music ethnology. They emerge into living musical systems like all life is self-organization. Therefore the Physical Culture Theory knows no split between nature and nurture, hard and soft sciences, brains and musical instruments. It formulates mathematically complex systems as Physical Models rather than Artificial Intelligence. It includes ethical rules for maintaining life and finds culture and arts to be Human Rights. Enlarging these ideas and mathematical methods into all fields of culture, ecology, economy, or the like will be the task for the next decades to come.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Part I

Frontmatter

Some Fundamentals of Musical Acoustics

Abstract
Friedrich Chladni tried to make the invisible visible.1 Sound can be heard but not seen. Guitar or violin bodies are moving when the instruments are played. Still, we cannot see these movements. When touching the surface, we can feel a movement, yet, we do not know how these surfaces are vibrating and how they are radiating these vibrations into the air around the instrument. Also, the sound in air is not visible. How does the vibration of the guitar come to our ears? We do not see the air vibrating, although there is influence over a distance.
Rolf Bader

Some Fundamentals of Music Psychology

Abstract
Justinus Kerner was trying to make the invisible visible. He believed in the spirits of dead ancestors still to be around and speaking to people able to recognize and understand them. Although he did not see them himself, he was sure they existed. People not persuaded were asked to spend a night in a small medieval tower in the backyard of his house in Weinsberg, southern Germany.
Rolf Bader

Some Fundamentals of Comparative Musicology

Abstract
If we find so many things in common in music, in terms of acoustics and psychology, general rules would need to be found in the tremendous diversity of musical cultures around the world. What has Techno music in common with Mozart, the Burmese hsain wain ensemble, African xylophone music, the Uyghur sashmaqam, or Balinese gamelan? What do the choirs of South Africa, Andalusian Flamenco singing, Beijing opera voices, or Mongolian throat singing have in common? Is electronic and experimental music produced in nearly all countries of the world the same? What about Global Hip-Hop, Mainstream Pop, and Electronic Dance Music?
Rolf Bader

Part II

Frontmatter

Impulses

Abstract
Musical instruments work with impulses. So does the human brain, it works with discrete neural spikes. The spikes in the human brain are very well studied, as we see later.
Rolf Bader

Turbulence

Abstract
Turbulence is still an unsolved problem in classical physics. When David Hilbert (1862–1943), one of the leading mathematicians at the turn to the 20th century, gave his famous lecture in 1900 at the Sorbonne in Paris about the remaining big problems in mathematics, the solution for turbulence was one of them. In 2000 the Clay Mathematics Institute was repeating the Hilbert problems, now with a 1 million dollar prize for the solution of one of seven problems to be solved within the next century (Hilbert had presented ten problems at his lecture, although he as 23 in mind.)
Rolf Bader

Saxophone

Abstract
The saxophone is showing most of the features we have discussed so far. It has many articulatory possibilities like most wind instruments have. Playing soft and low, hard and intense, rough and dirty, sliding tones in and out, changing pitches slightly, its sound possibilities are tremendous.
Rolf Bader

More Wind Instruments

Abstract
So until now, we have discussed wind instruments with a single reed, like the saxophone. The clarinet is very much alike in terms of the driving mechanism we are interested in. Basically, there are two other instrument families, the brass instruments and flutes or organs. To make our discussion not too long, we omit the brass instruments and take a closer look only at organs and flutes, as some new aspects appear here.
Rolf Bader

Friction Instruments

Abstract
Friction instruments are those whose mechanism of sound production includes a process of sticking and slipping one thing onto another. We have discussed some of them already below. The most popular are violin, cello, and their family members of bowed musical instruments, where the hair of a bow is gliding over a string in a process of constant sticking and slipping. Still, there are many others.
Rolf Bader

Guitars and Plucked String Instruments

Abstract
We have seen the wind instrument and the bowed and friction instrument family to be self-organizing by nature. But how about plucked string instruments like the guitar? We would not expect it to be self-organizing, as there is a string that vibrates with its frequencies on its own, and there is no way to find any nonlinearity in this. Also, all other features for a self-organizing process are missing, like the sudden onset of a pitched musical tone out of previous noise, hysteresis loops, or more complex sounds coming from the instrument. No matter how soft we pluck the string, it always sounds harmonic.
Rolf Bader

The Human Voice

Abstract
We found so far several musical instruments mimicking singing, animal songs, or screams, expressive articulation. So to close the section about musical instruments and then turn to the human brain and perception of music, we need to have a look at the human voice. We would expect it to be a self-organizing system too, and indeed it is. It shows all aspects of self-organization, a complex physical system that can produce perfectly harmonic sounds but can also sound rough or like noise.
Rolf Bader

Neurophysiology of Music

Abstract
Music perception and production happen in the brain. Although a tremendous amount of research has been devoted to the brain when listening to or producing music, the mechanisms are not at all understood in full.
Rolf Bader

Music and Consciousness

Abstract
How consciousness comes into place is not really known and very much under debate until now. We distinguish consciousness from unconsciousness, the state where we sleep dreamless or where we are knocked out because of illness, a hard stroke on the head, by anesthesia, or medical treatment. Then there are states in between, where consciousness is fading away, like when going to sleep. There are states of mediation or other kinds of so-called altered states-of-mind. Psychoactive drugs are able to extend our consciousness and make things blur, flow, or very colorful.
Rolf Bader

Reconstructing Impulses—The Ear and the Auditory Pathway

Abstract
The way the acoustic sound wave, entering the ear, is processed until it reaches the neocortex in the primary auditory cortex is indeed very complex and not yet understood in full. Basically, the waves travel through the outer and middle ear, enter the inner ear through the tympani, and is transferred into electrical neural spikes in the inner ear, the cochlear. Then it goes through several neural nuclei, regions of neural cells, like the cochlear nucleus right behind the inner ear, the trapezoid nucleus, the medial geniculate, and several others.
Rolf Bader

Timbre

Abstract
Until now, no generally accepted music theory of timbre exists. This is in strong contrast to pitch, where we have several music theories, like the functional harmonics (Funktionsharmonik) of Hugo Riemann [220] with terms like tonic, dominant, subdominant, and the like mainly used in Europe, or like Schenkerism [78], deriving skeleton melodies and chords from a musical piece, more based in the USA. Although there also have been several suggestions to understanding timbre, there is no generally accepted theory here.
Rolf Bader

Rhythm, Musical Form, and Memory

Abstract
A musical phrase is most often about 3–5 s long. The reason is that it needs to fit into the short-term memory, which is about this size, as we have seen above. Longer melodies need a different form of memory, the long-term memory which seems to work in a different way. Short term memory is most often understood as the brain echoing a sound input. The nervous cells are triggered by the cochlear, which transmits the input to the neocortex via the auditory pathway, as we have seen already. The neurons are heavily connected, therefore, the longer the neurons transmit the first sound impulse in the brain, the more it fades out and vanishes.
Rolf Bader

Part III

Frontmatter

Music, Meaning, and Emotion

Abstract
There is no culture without music. There is also no culture that does not have the octave as a frame interval. No culture exists which does not use musical instruments without a harmonic overtone structure. Some use more, like Western music, some use less, like Indonesian gamelan. In all cultures, there is a sense of timbre, rhythm, and form. All perceive loudness, all perceive pitch, all hear different instruments in ensemble music and can identify them.
Rolf Bader

Physical Culture Theory

Abstract
Music is part of what we call art and culture. We have seen that music is a self-organizing system by its very nature. Self-organizing systems are more than ‘dead matter’, they are living. So at least this part of our culture is a life we have invented as living beings. The musical instruments we have invented, the timbre we have created, pitches, chords, as well as musical meaning and emotion, are all part of a whole system, which is alive.
Rolf Bader

Backmatter

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