Music, Brain, and Time - Peter Cariani, Boston University
We use music to regulate our mental states of emotion and mood, arousal, motoric activities (dance, exercise, work-music), cognition, motivation, analgesia, memory, spirituality, and even to induce modes of consciousness (sleeping, waking, meditating, trance, hypnotic, religious and spiritual states). Music in its many forms effectively modulates all of these neural circuits and modes of activity, and music therapies exist that can effectively use these modulations to intervene in each of these neural subsystems. What is the mind, such that it can be moved by music, and what is music such that it can move our minds in so many different ways?
We will first review what we hear when we listen to music and give an overview of some of the many ways that auditory neural codes and computations influence our percepts. Temporal coding of musical pitch and rhythm may have deep implications for our understanding of musical tonality and rhythm. Gestaltist mechanisms that organize perceptual scenes play key roles in structuring musical percepts, expectancies, and their violations. We will then take up questions of why we listen – what music does for us in terms of musical meaning, emotion, and pleasure and the various brain circuits involved.
We will then pose the question of what this might mean for understanding how brains work and will outline a theory of brain function based on neural time codes that are actively amplified and regenerated in global neural circuits. The contents of our conscious awareness are determined by the sets of neural signals that our attentional mechanisms select to be actively amplified at any given moment. Modes of consciousness are determined by the character of the regenerative dynamics.
If the “languages of the brain” do in fact involve temporal patternings of spikes, then music may in some sense speak those neural languages, such that it can facilitate and induce a wide variety of alternative mental states. Deep listening, as I understand it, is the process by which we allow our inner states to resonate with the sound patterns we hear.
Peter Cariani (B.S. 1978, biology MIT, 1978, M.S. 1982, Ph.D. 1989 systems science Binghamton University; URL: www.cariani.com) has a broad scientific and philosophical interests and has worked on a wide range of scientific and philosophical problems: aging in nematodes, computer modeling of protein folding, spinal cord regeneration, theoretical biology/biological cybernetics, biosemiotics, epistemology of self-modifying systems, neural basis of consciousness, auditory neurophysiology, neural coding of pitch in the auditory system, auditory scene analysis, neural timing nets, and music perception. Dr. Cariani is currently a Senior Research Scientist in the Hearing Research Center at Boston University and Clinical Instructor in Otology and Laryngology at Harvard Medical School. He teaches courses related to auditory neuroscience and the neuropsychology of music at Harvard, MIT, and Boston University.
Art of Listening Keynote #1, July 11th
StuArt of Listening: A Planetary Pleanote - Stuart Dempster, University of Washington
In my planetary plea I reference back to my maternal grandfather Everett Shepardson who knew John Muir (a prominent early deep listener!). My mother was a deep listener too, as I note in Training for Listening: A Lifelong Practice (in “Anthology of Essays on Deep Listening”). It was in the 1950s that I became aware of environmental degradation. Fast forward to early this century when there was beginning to surface talk of “global warming’ and what that might mean. Unfortunately, I am neither a math or science specialist, not withstanding my scientific father’s encouragement toward those fields. However, Al Bartlett was an amazing mathematician who has a multi-segment lecture on “Arithmetic, Population and Energy” that demonstrates profoundly what we have been facing and are facing with regard to how much human population the earth can sustain. This brings us to some possible options to consider in the “what to do differently” department, as against continuing doing what we are doing but doing it better however more and more incremental that “better” becomes. The EARth’s aura is “hurtin’” and it is time for some serious planetary Deep Listening. What better situation could there be than a Deep Listening Conference to foster discussion of possibilities as well as planning for action?
Stuart Dempster, sound gatherer, trombonist, composer, didjeriduist, et al. and professor emeritus at University of Washington, has recorded for numerous labels including Columbia (Sony), Nonesuch, Deep Listening, Important, Taiga, and New Albion. The latter includes In the Great Abbey of Clement VI at Avignon—a "cult classic"—and Underground Overlays from the Cistern Chapel consisting of music sources for a 1995 Merce Cunningham Dance Company commission. Grants are several, including being a Fulbright Scholar to Australia (1973) and receiving a Guggenheim Fellowship (1981). Dempster’s landmark book The Modern Trombone: A Definition of Its Idioms was published in 1979.* (Also, there is an insightful, well-indexed interview of Dempster by Abbie Conant.**) Golden Ear Awards were received from Deep Listening (2006) and Earshot Jazz (2009) and he received an International Trombone Association Lifetime Achievement Award (2010). As a founding member of Deep Listening Band, he produced the first three recordings as well as three most recent recordings, including Great Howl at Town Haul CD and two LP projects from the January 2011 DLB residency at Town Hall Seattle. DLB celebrated its 25th year on 5 October 2013 with Dunrobin Sonic Gems in a spectacular concert near Ottawa in the amazing “Dunrobin Sonic Gym” (think five foot gongs!).
Listening through the brush - Suiren, a.k.a. Renko Ishida Dempster
Listening through the brush is a sacred act awakening in me a perfect state of being. All my senses of sight, sound, touch and taste open up to what is. In this way, a beautiful current of energy flows through me, manifesting itself through the brush. It is in that one instant moment embodying all - the past, present, and future - that becomes totally alive on paper. Its honesty and truthfulness are inescapable.
Suiren, her given artist name, a.k.a. Renko Ishida Dempster, is influenced by Japanese aesthetics and Buddhist philosophy inherited from her parents. She has had various exhibitions in the Northwest, such as Seattle’s Northwest Asian American Theater’s RAW Gallery “Celebrating Year of the Dragon”; Jack Straw New Media Gallery “Dream–Time–Pieces”; Commencement Gallery in Tacoma “Drawn From…” (all in 2000); and “Painted Word Exhibition” Evergreen State College, Olympia WA (2005-06). Her art also appears on CD covers of Echoes of Syros (2008), Traveler’s Todi (2010), inner sleeve of Flightpatterns (2010); cover of Issue #1, Trio Triticalli, NYC (2011). She was an Associate Artist-in-Residence at Atlantic Center for the Arts creating a body of work for the Dome Project (2005). Suiren’s Seattle and Northwest real-time drawing performances include multi-arts collective ROOM (2000-2002); ARTKOAMIA (2003-06); Tanabata Remix concert, Chapel Performance Space (2007); “Portable Sanctuary” at Union Station’s Great Hall; and “Authorship” at The Project Room with Stuart Dempster and Paul Kikuchi (2011). Other real-time performances include with Deep Listening Band and dancer for Sound Symposium, St. Johns Newfoundland (2002); Deep Listening Convergence artist at Lifebridge Sanctuary, High Falls NY (2007); “Abundant Sound Gardens: In Memory of Toyoji Tomita” at San Francisco’s Meridian Gallery (2009); and “Ring Sketcher” in Pauline Oliveros’ Tower Ring at Ann Hamilton Tower, Geyserville, CA (2011). She was a featured artist for “Art on the Wall” as part of “Women & Identity” (2011) archived at: http://vimeo.com/21467571
The Deep Listening: Art/Science conference organizers welcome applications for the second international conference on Deep Listening. This conference provides artists, educators, and researchers an opportunity to creatively share ideas related to the practice, philosophy and science of Deep Listening. Developed by composer and educator Pauline Oliveros, Deep Listening is an embodied meditative practice of enhancing one’s attention to listening. Deep Listening began over 40 years ago with Oliveros’ Sonic Meditations and organically evolved through performances, workshops and retreats. Deep Listening relates to a broad spectrum of other embodied practices across cultures and can be applied to a wide range of academic fields and disciplines.
Calendar: Call for Conference Presentations Open: January 10, 2014
Call for Festival Performances/Presentations Open: January 10, 2014
Submission Deadline: April 2, 2014
Conference Registration Open: April 9, 2014
Notification of Acceptance: May 5, 2014
Pre-Conference Workshop: July 7-9, 2014
Conference & Festival: July 10-13, 2014