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The Cognitive Neuroscience of Music$
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Isabelle Peretz and Robert J. Zatorre

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198525202

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198525202.001.0001

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The sounds of Poetry viewed as Music

The sounds of Poetry viewed as Music

(p.412) (p.413) Chapter 27 The sounds of Poetry viewed as Music
The Cognitive Neuroscience of Music

Fred Lerdahl

Oxford University Press

As way of illustration, the sounds of a short poem by Robert Frost are treated entirely in musical terms. The poem is assigned a phonological stress grid and then musical grouping and meter. These structures enable a durational realization. Phonological stress also helps assign the poem's normative melodic contour. Finally, the similarities and differences in sound repetition are given hierarchical structure by means of musical prolongational theory. These formal parallels suggest a corresponding realization in brain localization and function. Evidence from the neuropsychological literature is cited in support of this view. The picture emerges that grouping, metre, duration, contour, and timbral similarity are mind/brain systems shared by music and language, whereas linguistic syntax and semantics and musical pitch relations are systems not shared by the two domains.

Keywords:   poetry, music, sounds, Robert Frost, phonology, sound repetition, brain, language

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