When we listen to music, we hear organized sounds. Starting with the sources of those sounds, following the waves that bring them to our ears, and moving on to our brains (where we perceive the sounds as music), we encounter processes that are amenable to scientific study. Much of the music itself is also susceptible to systematic analysis. Perception of consonance and dissonance, patterns in tone and in rhythm, and many other aspects of musical experience have been investigated by musicians, composers, musicologists, psychologists, physiologists, and physicists. Composers can create emotional responses in many ways. We will explore these ideas with an “ears-on, minds-on” approach, with musical examples from classical and popular sources. No specific scientific or musical background is necessary for understanding, learning from, and (I hope!) enjoying our demonstrations and discussions.
GROUP LEADER: Les Blatt is Professor Emeritus of Physics and Education at Clark University. His research interests include work in experimental nuclear physics, astrophysics, and modern approaches to learning science. In addition to courses in physics, he has presented science-teaching workshops and summer institutes for college-level education students and for teachers in Central Massachusetts public schools. He has offered a variety of courses at WISE, mostly in areas where the sciences intersect with other disciplines.
OPTIONAL BOOK: This is Your Brain on Music by Daniel J. Levitin, ISBN #978-0452288522
Worcester Institute for Senior Education (WISE)Assumption University, 500 Salisbury Street, Worcester MA 01609