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Thank you guys so much.
Also, I'd like to thank Shawn Roggenkamp
for the slides and this photography,
but you should know the good slides that she did,
the bad photography is all me.
So, a lot of time I hear people talk about classical music
the way they talk about broccoli.
There's the sort of vague sense that it's good for us,
and we should probably have more of it,
but it's also kind of boring sometimes,
and we'd rather have our high fructose pop song.
And even when we get into the concert hall,
I often see people also with a look on their face,
they're like: "Wow, this is pretty, this is still pretty,
how long is this going to be pretty for?"
So, why is this so hard?
I think it's okay to admit that sometimes classical music
can be a little bit boring.
But there's two kinds of boring:
There's "This is too easy, I-already-know-it boring,"
and there's "This is too-hard-to-follow boring."
And I would submit that classical music is the second kind.
There's a lot of information coming out at us at the same time
and it's hard to keep track of how it fits into the big picture.
I say information, because I think listening to classical music is a learning task.
I think you're trying to feel all the things of the piece for the first time.
You're trying to get the characters, you're trying to get the world,
things are repeating, you're trying to remember them.
And you're often trying to do it on your first listen.
And the challenge with learning anything
is that your brain gets overwhelmed pretty quickly.
When you first learn something, it's going into your head
in a working place that you call,
neuroscientists call working memory.
And that's sort of like your mental scratch pad,
where you keep things like telephone numbers,
only for a few minutes, though,
before you can put in some other larger context.
And the problem is, you have a limited capacity to store new information.
It's like trying to keep track of too many objects.
And that's what it's like when you listen to something overwhelming.
So your brain, luckily, has a neat trick.
You can put things into groups, or chunking information.
And now you no longer see this as 12 objects.
You see this as 3 groups and that's a lot less information.
That frees up room in your working memory for more new things.
And this is why clear writing uses punctuation,
and why music has phrases that repeat to show you those groups.
So, say you're trying to learn a telephone number that's ten digits,
The first thing you do is you make groups,
and that may not seem like a big deal,
but if you've ever been in a country that has different grouping
you know how confusing that is,
and how much we rely on this as an expectation.
Next, if you know the area code you're in luck,
because this is now one piece of information, not 3 numbers.
And if you're over 40, you know that 867-5309 is Jenny, and good for you.
And this is not just true of numbers, this is true of language as well.
So consider the phrase:
Fly me to the moon and let me play among the stars.
Now, if you're familiar with the song and the phrase,
this is only one piece of information,
you're very easily understanding it, you're ready to move on.
But if you don't know the song, well, these 12 words
represent 12 different pieces of information,
and that's a little bit harder.
And if you didn't know English,
then you'd be dealing with a level of symbols,
and you have 39 different symbols.
And that's a really overwhelming task,
but I think that's exactly what it's like
when we're listening to a piece of classical music for the first time.
We often don't know the words and we don't know the symbols,
and thats what makes it so difficult for us.
The trick to this, though, is whenever you want to use this chunking
you have to walk into the room with some previous information.
You have to know already there are letters,
you have to know there are words,
you have to know the phrase of "Fly me to the moon."
And knowing each of these things, again, tremendously reduces that.
That's what allows you to take a huge amount of information
and put it into smaller chunks.
And so the difficulty with music is that
I think we're stuck at that level of 39 symbols.
We don't know that these things exist.
But in fact, music does have words, and music does have phrases.
And if we can see how, in fact, music is quite organized.
That, I think, unlocks a lot of stuff for us.
That's what allows a meaningful engagement in music.
So, at Oberlin College I did study neuroscience and music theory,
and what I want to share with you today
is how that combination changed the way that I understand music.
So first let's consider a phrase as a musical idea.
And this is building off on some work that William Kaplan did in the 1990s
and later other scholars extended it to all sorts of other music.
But we can really apply this, not only to classical music,
but to modern pop music
and anything you want to do.
Basically a phrase is a musical idea that introduces
some sort of tension and then release.
It arrives somewhere, like a ball being thrown and then caught.
So let's start with an example of some music with words,
and we'll try and follow along and see if there's a phrase to it,
and just look for a sense of there being tension
and there being release.
So we're going to start with a group, OC Times,
a barber shop group, a good friend of mine.
Let's hear it.
All right, I hope you can hear some sense of arriving somewhere.
So let's see what happens next.
All right, so, that's basically the same material,
I mean, the words are different, but the music sounds the same.
And so we can call this an A section.
We can give it a letter, and since it's the first thing that we heard,
we'll call it A.
So, I'm going to play the next part and I want you to tell me
if you think it's the same section or different section,
and I'd also invite you to close your eyes.
I think you'll absorb a lot more information from music.
You'll be surprised, I think, at how much you'll hear more of it.
All right, let's go.
Ok, same thing or different thing? Right.
So, this is the next thing we've heard, you guys are all fantastic.
So, the next thing we've heard and we're going to call it the B section,
and now I want you to keep both of these sections in mind
in your working memory,
and tell me what happens next.
All right, what do we have?
Ah, so, it's mostly A material coming back,
but it is a little bit different,
we do have some changes, so we can call it A prime.
But the gist I want you to get is that it's essentially A material,
it's pretty similar, it should be more similar to that than anything else.
It's not totally new, it's not totally the same.
All right, let's take us home.
What was that? It wasn't exactly anything we've heard before.
It kind of summarizes a little bit of the piece,
but it also shows off with some fancy chords,
so we can call it a coda, which means a tail,
it's sort of a little bit at the end of it.
So when we put this together you see
there's really a very simple overall structure.
And in music theory we call this a binary form.
Binary, because it has two basic parts to it.
We have an idea, we showed you that again,
we moved on to something else,
and we came back a little bit changed,
And you don't just have to have 2 parts.
In fact you can have 3 parts and that's a classic pop song.
But before that, though, we can subdivide these phrases as well,
and I'm just going to highlight in red
all the parts where he says "All I wanna do".
And you can tell that it comes at the end of every A section,
and the coda is just chock-full of it.
So, like I said, we can have 3 sections, as well.
Oops, all right, so, before we get to that,
we're now ready for a Schubert waltz,
and I would like to invite you again to close your eyes.
All right, so, this time there are no lyrics to help you out,
It's classical music, but we hear the first 2 sections
are note for note the same.
And that's because they're also both A sections.
So here what we have so far.
All right? And after that it got really exciting,
we had this thing that was new material,
and it subdivides in itself to 2 little parts that are repeating.
And I hope you recognized that at the end,
we came back to a little bit more of A material,
and then the concluding part was just doing the same thing again.
We also have a binary form.
This is a classical phrase analysis of music.
And so, like I mentioned, you can also have 3 parts.
And now we just call them verse and chorus,
and that hipster whistling part in the middle is a bridge.
And you don't even have to go there.
Sometimes you can just get away with just 2.
They never introduce a third theme,
and if you subdivide these,
you'll see each of these going
to a call and response theme pretty easily.
Like I said, this applies to a lot of different kinds of music.
I found that reggae is a little bit more disorganized
and I won't speculate on why.
Now, until I mapped out Friday I'm in Love,
I didn't realize there's this acually kind of cute parallel.
In the beginning and the very end
there are these 2 instrumental sections.
And if you're feeling really generous to The Cure, you can say:
This is all a little repetitive, but it's metaphorically suggestive
of a bleak emotional week leading up to Friday.
But I'm not really,
I don't know if I'd give them that much credit,
because that's actually what they're talking about Saturday,
it doesn't really fit.
I love Ben Folds.
I think his music is much more complicated,
which you can even see a little bit from his pictures.
The first thing, he starts you off with these 3 different sections.
You can already tell just from here.
You actually don't get a repeated note until about a minute into the song.
And when you start, even at the end of the song,
he's introducing this explosive piano section
in the middle, which I put in red,
and he's giving you new material, even by the end.
He keeps introducing new themes,
it's not just one thing and repeating it over.
And we start looking at the bigger structure,
something else also kind of interesting happens.
You see, this A B C is like a little rotation.
You start ABC, ABC, ok, this is an expectation,
I know how that goes.
He gives you the A, huge piano solo,
and then finishes out with C,
and you realize this isn't random.
The piano solo part is taking the place of that middle section.
It's sort of exploding, it's stretching out the piece,
and by the end, the structure entirely falls apart.
It's a very angry song that's sort of exploding in the middle,
and it collapses the structure of the song.
If you listen to it again, I think you might hear it this way.
All right, so music has structure.
Why do we care?
Because these are simple examples, even with Ben Folds.
And when we get to the level of a symphony,
this bubble diagrams start becoming extremely powerful.
I have some examples from Mahler, you can do this with anyone,
but I just happened to work with Mahler a lot as an undergrad.
And you can see it's chock-full of these themes and organization structure.
This is part of what makes music challenging to listen to,
but also so worth listening to multiple times.
This is from a short song that Mahler wrote.
And you can see, again, it's packed with a lot of stuff.
I couldn't even fit it all in here.
And now, I love Foster the People, but the 3-minute pop song
is designed so that you'll understand it on your first listening.
They only introduce 2 or 3 themes, 5 if you're really fancy and your name is Ben Folds.
But this stuff introduces a ton of new stuff.
That's what makes it, I think, more challenging,
but also in some ways more rewarding.
And these themes will develop and will play with each other.
They'll develop, and like characters in a book they'll grow.
So you'll often see also in great classical music,
you can have a single idea sprout into all these different themes.
The themes are not randomly made.
They are all related to each other.
You can have one thing grow and then
become the basis of an entire symphony.
And that is also why music repeats,
because it wants to show you the structure.
The composer is saying: what you just heard was a structure.
And here it is again, so you can get familiar with it,
because in a second I'm going to play with it.
And if you know what it's supposed to be,
you know those changes are going to be meaningful.
So, what I want to do is unlock music for everyone.
And it's not just about enjoying music.
I said before that working memory is limited.
Working with music like this, this way, in fact
increases your working memory.
It will expand that. And there's a lot of effects
this can have on your life.
And I think we as a society can benefit from it.
But first, whenever you hear about the effects of music
on the brain, a lot of people think the Mozart effect,
and this was some study that was done 20 years ago,
that showed that listening to some pieces of Mozart
temporarily boosts cognitive function.
And from there, the media and parents got really crazy
and wanted to get all of their kids into Carnegie Melon
by listening to music.
Now, it turns out that passive listening
does not really make you smarter.
I wish there were a cheap fix like that.
But studied and practiced music,
what we found 20 years later is that
the actual studying and practicing of music on a regular basis,
actually becomes extremely useful,
it helps you process sounds better.
That may not sound like a big deal,
but that's useful to paying attention to things
in a lecture where there's other noise going on,
it's useful to following conversation,
it's useful to remembering audio information,
It's very useful for learning languages and accents.
Mandarin Chinese is a fantastic example,
where a different tone will change the meaning of a word,
from scold to horse, to mother.
So, in fact, there are different parts of the brain
that are involved in processing many elements of music.
There are parts that are processing pitch, and rhythm, and harmony,
and according to Oliver Sacks, "more of the brain is involved
in perception and response to music than to language, or anything else."
I think that's astonishing.
In fact, if you start doing these brain imaging studies,
as a consequence of this you can start to tell
the difference between musicians and non-musicians,
because the changes in their brain are so large
you can observe them with the naked eye alone.
You cannot say that of mathematicians,
and you can't say that of visual artists,
but you can say that of musicians.
And yet, public officials often treat music classes
as things that are superfluous and things that can be cut.
As Sir Ken Robinson observed in his TED Talk,
we have in every education system of the world
a hierarchy of the information.
We have mathematics and natural sciences on top,
we have languages, and then we have the arts.
So here is where I want to go with this:
I think we at CMU have such a talented group of people.
We have musicians, we have artists,
we have programmers, we have arts managers.
I think that we can build an interactive website,
a place where people can come together and learn about this.
They can listen to their favorite songs, you can scroll back and forth,
and hear how the sections relate to each other,
and in another section you can make those diagrams yourself.
And together we can build an interactive, collaborative library of music
that I think we can work to interpret together.
So I build these with a modified version of Variations Audio Timeliner,
it's a free open-source program, and I think it's a good start,
but I think we can improve on it and make it better.
And my point with this is that music is an art form
that we've been working on as a species
for over a thousand years.
And there's a whole world out there that you can unlock.
And it's a beautiful world, it's not just pretty.
It's passionate, it's fiery.
Beethoven's Appassionata Sonata was written
as he realized that he was going deaf,
and he was contemplating suicide.
And in the end of the process of writing this piece
he decided to live.
And so I think music can be unlocked with this sort of
visualization and this sort of understanding,
and I think you will find that music is a full-course meal.
It's not just broccoli.
Thank you very much.


【TEDx】以神經科學揭開音樂世界 (Unlocking music with neuroscience | Ardon Shorr | TEDxCMU 2012)

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songwen8778 發佈於 2016 年 7 月 29 日
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