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Reflections on the Musical MindAn Evolutionary Perspective$
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Jay Schulkin

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691157443

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691157443.001.0001

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Musical Expectations, Probability, and Aesthetics

Musical Expectations, Probability, and Aesthetics

(p.87) Chapter 4 Musical Expectations, Probability, and Aesthetics
Reflections on the Musical Mind

Jay Schulkin

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the human problem of grappling with the unexpected while sustaining the familiar, a core feature that underlies human experience and inquiry in general, but which is also essential, in part, to musical sensibility. One neurochemical that is often linked to expectations and the organization of behavior, including that of music, is dopamine. The chapter explains how musical expectations permeate diverse forms of problem solving, such as coping with “the shocks and instabilities, the conflicts and resolution” that we experience every day. It also discusses music and musical expectations in relation to aesthetics and aesthetic judgment, learning, probabilities, discrepancy, uncertainty, change, brain activation, statistical inference, abduction, emotions, and numbers. Finally, it explores the concept of musical meaning, musical order, and musical syntax.

Keywords:   musical sensibility, music, musical expectations, problem solving, aesthetics, probabilities, brain activation, emotions, meaning, syntax

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