Article

Studying musical imagery: Context and intentionality

Article

Studying musical imagery: Context and intentionality

If you want to read the PDF, try requesting it from the authors.

Abstract

The phenomenon of a conscious 'inner hearing' of music, when this music is not actually present, is known as musi- cal imagery. Of interest to music cognition are when, where, why, what and how particular music is imaged. Given the methodological difficulties of imagery research, these questions have only just begun to be addressed. The research to date has begun to suggest fruitful areas to ex- plore and useful methods to achieve this. This paper re- views converging evidence of musical imagery experience from a sampling study, interviews, and laboratory experi- ments. Relevant findings from a study that sampled the everyday occurrence of having a 'tune on the brain' are presented (Bailes, in press) as an introduction to some of the prob- able factors linked to the occurrence of an involuntary mu- sical image. Analyses highlight the influence of recent ex- posure to particular music on what is subsequently imaged. Following this, an experimental study is described which measured the point of recognition (POR) of 120 melodies by 32 participants, with the goal of predicting POR as a function of different subjective measures of familiarity with the stimuli, and melodic distinctiveness. Results point to the complementary roles of perceptual exposure and memory when participants intentionally generate a mental image of music. Although musical imagery is an intangible phe- nomenon, this paper argues that by examining converging evidence it is possible to discern commonalities worthy of further study. This overview also underlines the changing nature of imagery experience dependent on the contextual factors of the intention to image music and musical task.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the author.

ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Article
Full-text available
Two studies investigated the similarity of metronome settings to perceived and imagined familiar songs by subjects unselected for musical ability. In Study 1, mean tempo settings in the two tasks were about 100 beats per minute. Songs with slower perceived tempos tended to be faster in the imagery task and vice versa. In Study 2, subjects set fastest and slowest acceptable tempos for the same set of songs in the imagery mode. These settings were positively correlated with the preferred tempo for the song. Most subjects thought that there were limits on how fast or slow a song could be imagined. These results suggest that tempo is explicitly represented in auditory imagery.
Article
Full-text available
Auditory imagery for songs was studied in two groups of patients with left or right temporal-lobe excision for control of epilepsy, and a group of matched normal control subjects. Two tasks were used. In the perceptual task, subjects saw the text of a familiar song and simultaneously heard it sung. On each trial they judged if the second of two capitalized lyrics was higher or lower in pitch than the first. The imagery task was identical in all respects except that no song was presented, so that subjects had to generate an auditory image of the song. The results indicated that all subjects found the imagery task more difficult than the perceptual task, but patients with right temporal-lobe damage performed significantly worse on both tasks than either patients with left temporal-lobe lesions or normal control subjects. These results support the idea that imagery arises from activation of a neural substrate shared with perceptual mechanisms, and provides evidence for a right temporal-lobe specialization for this type of auditory imaginal processing.
Article
Little is known about the prevalence or nature of the everyday experience of imagining music in the “mind's ear”. An obstacle has been the reliance on indirect, retrospective reporting. Musical imagery research to date has been limited to the experimenter-centred environment of laboratory studies. This paper considers the use of Experience-Sampling Methods (ESM) to explore musical imagery as it occurs in everyday life. A pilot study applied ESM to determine when musical imagery might occur and how it is experienced. Eleven music students were cued to fill out an experience-sampling form (ESF) at random times throughout a seven-day period. Likert scale items probed the strength of imagery for different musical dimensions, while more general questions explored respondents' current activities, interaction with others and mood. Participants reported hearing externally sounded music for 47% of these episodes and imagining music for 35%. A high rate of return and the depth of information provided by respondents suggest that ESM techniques are an effective way of exploring musical imagery in ecologically valid conditions. It is argued that this method could be used to explore mental imagery for music in a wider population. Refined sampling techniques may offer a way to test specific hypotheses concerning characteristics of everyday imagery for music. Exploring auditory imagery in naturalistic as well as laboratory settings may lead to a clearer understanding of the influence of context on our mental imagery of music.
Article
'Musical imagery' is the experience of imagining music in the 'mind's ear'. A study was conducted to explore the prevalence and nature of musical imagery for music students in everyday life, using experience-sampling methods (ESM). As a group, music students reported that imagining music was a very frequent form of musical experience. Participants reported individual variation in their imagery experience but also common differences between the strength of imagery for different musical dimensions. For instance, melody and lyrics were rated as being more vivid components of the image than timbre and expression. Another clear pattern was the influence of hearing music on musical imagination, one indicator being that 58 percent of sampled episodes described having heard or performed the music recently as a possible reason for currently imagining it. Copyright