Musical imagery from an embodied and enactive approach – IAS Research Seminar by Ximena Gonzalez

Ximena Gonzalez will be giving a talk entitled ‘Musical imagery from an embodied and enactive approach‘.

Date and place: 11th of December 2012, at 11.00, Room B14, Carlos Santamaría Building.

Abstract: From a representationalist approach, musical imagery has been explained as the mental state that makes possible having a tune or melody stuck in the head, as a mental representation, in the absence of the auditory stimulus (Halpern, 2001). However, from this explanatory framework, there is no assumptions for (1) the phenomenology of the subject when is imagining music, (2) the moving and vibratory nature of music, as explanatory units; and in his explanans musical imagery can’t happen when the stimulus is present. Musical imagery is a form of cognition that by definition is not directly available to actual experience. That is, there are no actual physical “auditory frequencies and vibrations” to be measured. So, can we explain musical imagery from an embodied and enactive approach without appealing to internal mental representations? The objective in this presentation is suggest that from an embodied and enactive approach we can get a more coherent explanation of musical imagery experience in real time.

The coherence comes from the fact that most of human beings do and experience is best understood in terms of dynamically unfolding interactions with the environment in present time. It is argued that the nature of music is a sound/vibration phenomenon that comes from the evident spatial and temporal patterns that music induces and the fact that these sonic and vibration forms really cause movement when interacting in a direct impact on human body. This presentation highlights the importance that music evoke corporeal resonances giving rise to action and embodied signification. The musical sense-making can be addressed in terms of interactions with the moving musical phenomenon, at the level of perception, action and musical imagery, as being fundamentally inseparable, built on bodily sensibility and that the feeling of that body is possible through proprioception. It also allows the listener to experience their musical environment with their bodies and their senses, correlating multisensory contingencies through elaborate mechanisms of feedback among the sensory and motor apparatus, and feedback between imagery and motor apparatus, matching those in a whole experiential loop. (Reybrouck, 2012; Krueger, 2009). More precisely, our goal is to lend support to an enactive thesis that holds, (1) that musical imagery is an experience grounded to the lived body, that happens when the subject interact with organized sound/vibrations patterns from and sonic/vibrating environment (musical umwelt) and, (2) take account of the ideomotor (imagery-motor) regularities that emerge from propioceptive, kinesthetic and auditive-motor patterns and their feedback from auto-organized nervous system, affording a continuous energetic loop.