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Presentation by Dr. Diana Raffman

Listening vs Looking, and the Problematic of 12-Tone Music

Abstract: The literatures in music, psychology, and philosophy reveal an ongoing debate over the artistic merit (some would say ‘integrity’) of 12-tone or serial music. Critics of serialism often appeal to psychological research suggesting that even trained listeners cannot recover most 12-tone structure, but just why this should pose an artistic problem is not entirely clear. I think the aural unrecoverability of 12-tone structure does pose an artistic problem, and I suggest several possible reasons why.

Bio: Diana Raffman is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto. She has published a number of papers in the philosophy of mind, primarily about consciousness and perception, in the philosophy of language, primarily about vagueness, and in the philosophy of art, primarily about music. She is the author of two books: Language, Music, and Mind (MIT/Bradford, 1993) and Unruly Words: A Study of Vague Language (Oxford, in press).


Dec 05 2013


4:00 pm - 5:00 pm




BRAMS - 0120
1430 boul Mont Royal



BRAMS (International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research) is a unique laboratory dedicated to research excellence in the study of music and auditory cognition with a focus on neuroscience. BRAMS is located in Montreal and jointly affiliated with the University of Montreal and McGill University.


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