8 episodes

Music, Language, Mind, Evolution, a series of free Monday/Wednesday evening lectures with eminent scholars from a variety of disciplines — music, music cognition, biology, and language — exploring the fundamentals of why and how we make and hear music. Part of the course Music 007 taught by Professor Larry Polansky.


Art Dean Lecture Series 2015 UC Santa Cruz

    • Arts

Music, Language, Mind, Evolution, a series of free Monday/Wednesday evening lectures with eminent scholars from a variety of disciplines — music, music cognition, biology, and language — exploring the fundamentals of why and how we make and hear music. Part of the course Music 007 taught by Professor Larry Polansky.


    • video
    Art Dean's Lecturer: Rex Cocroft

    Art Dean's Lecturer: Rex Cocroft

    Rex Cocroft started his academic career as a piano major, and after graduation decided to pursue a longstanding interest in the biology of amphibians and reptiles. He leveraged a childhood love of turtles into a research assistant position in the Smithsonian herpetology department, where he went on field trips to the forests of Peru and Venezuela. Those trips were meant to document the diversity of Amazonian frogs; and because differences in mating songs often reveal hidden diversity in otherwise similar species, recording those songs became an obsession. Rex then went to graduate school, fascinated by the evolutionary dance through which communication systems, the glue that unites members of a population, become a wedge that divides one population from another. Graduate school opened new doors, one of which led to the hidden world of vibrational communication in plant-dwelling insects—a world that contains the largest 'evolutionary library' of acoustic diversity on earth, and an auditory treasure trove of new sounds and soundscapes. He is now a professor of biology at the University of Missouri and still hopes to become a pretty good classical piano player (at least for a biologist).

    • 1 hr 2 min
    • video
    Art Dean's Lecturer: David Huron

    Art Dean's Lecturer: David Huron

    Is music an evolutionary adaptation? This lecture doesn't answer that question. Instead we consider some of the tools available for addressing the issue. One of the foremost tools is "following the money" of pleasure: Adaptive behaviors are encouraged through a combination pleasure and pain. By examining the specific pleasures evoked by music, we can better infer what adaptive functions might be served through music-making.

    David Huron is Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor at the Ohio State University, where he holds joint appointments in the School of Music and in the Center for Cognitive and Brain Sciences. Trained as a performer, Huron worked for several years as a composer before turning to research. Over the course of his career he has produced some 130 scholarly publications, including two books. Among other distinctions, Dr. Huron was the Ernest Bloch Visiting Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, the Donald Wort Lecturer at Cambridge University, and the Astor Lecturer at Oxford. Apart from laboratory-based research, Dr. Huron's activities have also involved field studies among various cultures in Micronesia.

    • 1 hr 21 min
    • video
    Art Dean's Lecturer: Christian Wolff

    Art Dean's Lecturer: Christian Wolff

    Christian Wolff is widely acknowledged as one of the most important American composers of the 20th century. He was born in 1934 in Nice, France, and has lived in the U.S. since 1941. He studied piano with Grete Sultan and, briefly, composition with John Cage. His association and friendship with Cage and with Morton Feldman, Earle Brown, and David Tudor helped set the direction of his work, as did later association with Frederic Rzewski and Cornelius Cardew.

    Since 1952 he has been musically connected to Merce Cunningham and his dance company. In addition to his composing (over 200 works to date) he has been a sometime performer and improviser with, among others, AMM, Larry Polansky, Kui Dong, Keith Rowe, Christian Marclay, Takehisa Kosugi, and Steve Lacy.
    His music is published by C.F. Peters and much of it as been recorded. Academically trained as a classicist, he taught at Harvard from 1963 to 1970, and at Dartmouth College from 1971 to 1999, in the music and classics departments. He is currently a full-time independent musician.

    • 1 hr 42 min
    • video
    Art Dean's Lecturer: Thalia Wheatley

    Art Dean's Lecturer: Thalia Wheatley

    Thalia Wheatley, Ph.D., is an associate professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Dartmouth. Dr. Wheatley completed her doctoral training in social psychology with Timothy Wilson and Daniel Wegner at the University of Virginia. After graduating, she received neuroimaging training as a postdoctoral NIH research fellow with Alex Martin, Ph.D. in the Laboratory of Brain and Cognition directed by Leslie Ungerleider. Her research focus is human social intelligence and how that intelligence is achieved by repurposing evolutionarily older neural systems. She has published numerous behavioral and neuroimaging studies on mind perception, social relationships, and emotion, asking such questions as “why are dolls creepy?” and “why is happy music ‘bouncy’?”

    • 53 min
    • video
    Art Dean's Lecturer: Aniruddh Patel

    Art Dean's Lecturer: Aniruddh Patel

    Aniruddh Patel joined Tufts University in the fall of 2012 as an associate professor of psychology. Previously he was a senior fellow at The Neurosciences Institute in San Diego. As a cognitive neuroscientist, he conducts research that focuses on the relationship between music and language, using this interface to explore the mental foundations of both of these distinctively human abilities. He has used a range of methods in his research, including human brain imaging, theoretical analyses, acoustic research, and comparative work with other species. Patel has served as president of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition (www.musicperception.org), is the 2009 recipient of the Music Has Power Award from the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function in New York City, and is the author of a scholarly book, Music, Language, and the Brain (Oxford University Press), which won a Deems-Taylor award from ASCAP in 2008. Patel received a Ph.D. from Harvard University in organismic and evolutionary biology and a B.A. in biology from the University of Virginia. He serves on editorial boards for Cognition, Music Perception, and Empirical Musicology Review.

    • 1 hr 11 min
    • video
    Art Dean's Lecturer: Douglas Repetto

    Art Dean's Lecturer: Douglas Repetto

    Douglas Irving Repetto is an artist and teacher. His work, including sculpture, installation, performance, recordings, and software is presented internationally. He is the founder of a number of art/community-oriented groups including dorkbot: people doing strange things with electricity; ArtBots: The Robot Talent Show; organism: making art with living systems; and the music-dsp mailing list and website. Douglas teaches at Columbia University where he is the director of the Sound Arts MFA program in the School of the Arts and Computer Music Center. He lives in New York City with his wife, writer Amy Benson; their young son; two cute/bad cats, Pokey and
    Sneezy; and many plants.

    • 1 hr 28 min

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