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Musical shape and feeling

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMusic and Shape
EditorsDaniel Leech-Wilkinson, Helen Prior
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199351442
ISBN (Print)9780199351411
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameStudies in Musical Performance as Creative Practice
PublisherOxford University Press

King's Authors


The concept of shape is widely used by musicians in talking and thinking about performance, yet the mechanisms that afford links between music and shape are little understood. Work on the psychodynamics of everyday life by Stern (2004, 2010) and on embodiment by Johnson (2007) suggest relationships between the multiple dynamics of musical sound and the dynamics of feeling and motion. Recent work on multisensory and precognitive sensory perception, and the role of bi-modal neurons in the sensorimotor system, helps to explain how shape, as a percept representing changing quantity in any sensory mode, may be invoked by dynamic processes at many stages of perception and cognition. These processes enable ‘shape’ to do flexible and useful work for musicians needing to describe the quality of musical phenomena fundamental to everyday musical practice and yet too complex for practitioners to analyse or specify.

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