The neo-Pythagorean view of musical structure in the light of music psychology
The aim of this paper is to show why the neo-Pythagorean claims concerning musical structure are out-of-date and require the incorporation of contemporary psychological knowledge. The neo-Pythagorean view of musical structure has been analyzed and confronted with the contemporary neuropsychological view of music perception. It has been also suggested that musical intervals exist solely in human brains as a kind of interpretation of acoustic sounds. These sounds can be interpreted differently depending on many factors, which the popular speech-to-song illusion clearly illustrates. Another example of neo-Pythagorean ideas about musical structure that need psychological knowledge is tonal hierarchy, which also exists solely in human brains. Therefore, the popular musicological description of musical intervals in terms of mathematical proportions is misleading. It has been proposed that current musicological theories should always be confronted and consistent with contemporary psychological knowledge. This implies closer cooperation between musicology and the psychology of music.
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