Volume 8 · Number 3 · Pages 351-357
Enactive Music Cognition: Background and Research Themes

Jakub Ryszard Matyja & Andrea Schiavio

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Context: The past few years have presented us with a growing amount of theoretical research (yet that is often based on neuroscientific developments) in the field of enactive music cognition. Problem: Current cognitivist and embodied approaches to music cognition suffer, in our opinion, from a too firm commitment to the explanatory role of mental representations in musical experience. This particular problem can be solved by adopting an enactive approach to music cognition. Method: We present and compare cognitivist, embodied and enactive approaches to music cognition and review the current research in enactive music cognition. Results: We find that, in general, the enactive approaches to human musicality are capable of explaining the basic relationship between a musical subject and a musical object according to a pre-conceptual and pre-linguistic form of understanding related to bodily motor expertise. This explanation does not rely on on sophisticated forms of representation. Implications: Proponents of enactive music cognition should, in our opinion, focus on providing a consistent explanation of the most basic level of musical understanding. Constructivist content: We hope to invite the constructivist community to engage with the discussions on the intersection between music and enactivism.

Key words: Music, cognition, embodiment, enactivism, musical understanding


Matyja J. R. & Schiavio A. (2013) Enactive music cognition: Background and research themes. Constructivist Foundations 8(3): 351-357. http://constructivist.info/8/3/351

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