Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Repetition in music pulls us in, together

Date:
November 5, 2013
Source:
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Summary:
A researcher explores the psychology of repetition in music, across time, style and cultures.

In On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind, Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis of the University of Arkansas explores the psychology of repetition in music, across time, style and cultures. Hers is the first in-depth study of repetitiveness in music, which she calls “at once entirely ordinary and entirely mysterious” and “so common as to seem almost invisible.”

Related Articles


Repetition in music can be a motif repeated throughout a composition or a favorite song played again and again. It can be the annoying earworm burrowed into the brain that just won’t go away.

Music, she writes, “is a fundamentally human capacity, present in all known cultures, and important to intellectual, emotional and social experience.” And repetition is a key element in music, one that both pulls us into the experience and pulls us together as people.

In her research, Margulis drew on a range of disciplines, including music theory, psycholinguistics, neuroscience and cognitive psychology, to examine how listeners perceive and respond to repetition. She worked with ethnomusicologists to understand the place of music and its repetitive features in cultures around the world.

On Repeat is published by Oxford University Press. The Kindle version is available already, and the hardback publication will ship on Nov. 11, 2013.

A repeated musical motif can build pleasurable expectations in the listener, pulling them into the experience of the piece of music.

“Repetition makes it possible for us to experience a sense of expanded present, characterized not by the explicit knowledge that x will occur at time point y, but rather a déjà-vu-like sense of orientation and involvement,” Margulis writes.

Through repeated playing, a work of music develops an important social and biological role in creating cohesion between individuals and groups. Margulis points to children in nursery school singing a cleanup song each day or adults singing Auld Lang Syne at midnight on New Year’s Eve.

“Repeatability is how songs come to be the property of a group or a community instead of an individual,” she writes, “how they come to belong to a tradition, rather than to a moment.”

On Repeat offers new insights into the relationship between music and language, the nature of musical pleasure and the cognitive science of repetition in music. While the book will be useful to scholars and students, it is written for specialist and non-specialist alike.
Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis is associate professor of music in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis. On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind. Oxford University Press, 2013

Cite This Page:

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. "Repetition in music pulls us in, together." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131105093118.htm>.
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. (2013, November 5). Repetition in music pulls us in, together. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131105093118.htm
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. "Repetition in music pulls us in, together." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131105093118.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) — Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) — A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) — Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins