Studying phonological loop (which comes under MANY synonyms such as “buffer” that I need to list) can sometimes be frustrating as I’m studying it specifically as a MUSIC buffer in the working memory workspace, like a toy train that goes around a looping track and I can change cars or the track layout or I can jump in and ride it to get a first person POV, or change to a different train)… …but a lot of the research not only is surrounding SPEECH but much of it puts SPEECH on a huge PEDESTAL which THEN gets me to doubt my assumption that both speech AND complex sound uses the same pathways that we call the phonological loop. This study from 2020 confirms what I suspected and I can freely read the others knowing that music is also included, which will be particularly useful when studying online editing in the phonological loop, which I think is part of workspace theory and they call the loop something else.

Studying phonological loop (which
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Imagining new music. Best research I’ve found (2020) has it as being in a half-awake, half-asleep, partially hallucinatory state: a semi-conscious state that rides halfway between dreaming and waking. In control and also feeling as if guided by a muse. This matches with my experience. I’m satisfied with this explanation. Finally. —– A second point of comparison can also be offered which ties together many of the themes developed in this entry thus far: the comparison between the creative state and the dream state. As mentioned above, one of the most consistent statements of composers made about their creative processes is the foundational importance of a “dreamlike” generative state, in which “the best” ideas often come to them unbidden, and in the case of some composers (such as Mozart and Brahms) may even lead to the generation of an entire work, as long as this “semi-conscious,” dreamlike state of creation is not interrupted. Such descriptions of this generative compositional state more than superficially resemble the dream state: it is not simply that the feeling of this cognitive state is “semi-conscious” or “dreamlike,” but much more significantly that it is typified by the (seemingly) passive reception of mental contents—contents which some part of the composer/dreamer’s brain must of course be generating, but which seem to come from nowhere (or from a supernatural being, such as a god or devil). Dreams can on occasion be static and/or boring, but they are often interesting, even bizarre—and emotionally potent as well. When composers state that their “best ideas” come from such dreamlike states—or in Brahms’ words, “the themes that will endure in my compositions all come to me in this way” (Abell 1955, 6)—they seem to be saying not simply that ideas come easily in such states, but that the ideas generated in such states are actually better than those generated during normal waking consciousness—or what might be called “transformative” consciousness, the cognitive state characterized by the transformative phase. As stated previously, the generative phase is characterized most consistently by default-mode activity, while the transformative phase likely aligns mostly with executive network activity. It may be no coincidence, therefore, that the dream state is characterized by enhanced default-mode activity, and reduced executive-network activity. The neurochemistry of the dreaming brain is better understood than that of the creative (musical) brain, and therefore, it may also be productive to investigate whether and to what extent the neurochemical signatures of the dream state—high acetylcholine levels and low serotonin and norepinephrine levels—also typify and/or influence creative (musical) states. However, it should be noted that to be creative is not simply to be asleep! Composers and other artists have developed elaborate rituals for maintaining partial consciousness during their dream-like, content-generative reveries, and in seemingly all cases a kind of hybrid state between being asleep and being awake is described. Semi-conscious states may be multiple and varied, as indicated, for instance, by comparing brain activity in different types of meditative state (as described in a recent review by Rozalyn Simon and Maria Engström). In some cases default activity is increased, while in others it is decreased; similar observations would likely be found for executive network activity, and possibly salience network activity as well. There may be any number of “semi-conscious” states that practitioners of improvisation, composition, mediation, lucid dreaming, dream yoga, and the like are able to access. Quite possibly these correlate in some way either with activity levels in the networks described here, in their within-network connectivity, and/or in connectivity across networks (whether facilitative or inhibitory, or a mixture of the two). Together with the cognitive modes that may be more consciously vigilant (such as the executively “controlled” transformative phase) or open to external influence (such as the evaluative mode, afforded by the salience network), this eclectic view of the large number of ways the mind appears to be used during creative musical behavior bodes well for neuroscience’s contribution to the developing understanding musical creativity in the mind and brain. Neuroscience: Music and the Brain, David Bashwiner, and Donna Bacon (2020)

Imagining new music. Best
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“how does a brain generate a new melody,” i.e., a novel “note-and-duration sequence”? While seemingly simple, this question is still deceptively complex to be addressed, and arguably has not been satisfactorily answered by the existing neuroscientific evidence. However, by subdividing this larger question into sub-questions that have more direct answers, it is possible to speculate as to what might be going on in a human brain, mechanistically speaking, when a novel melody is created. The following sub-questions will be addressed in turn: 1. How does the brain represent a familiar melody? 2. How does the brain read from this internal representation to perform, i.e., “re-create,” the original melody (whether aloud or in the imagination)? 3. What might be different in a brain (or brain state) that would lead to the creation of a new melody rather than the re-creation of a familiar melody?

“how does a brain … [read full article]


Musical Creativity Versus Other Forms of Creativity While creativity shares features across fields, there are aspects of musical creativity that are relatively unique to it. 1. Speed. The act of creating music, particularly in the case of improvisation, is often extremely rapid. Such “real-time composition” (as improvisation is often called) requires not only a precise command of fine-grain musculature (e.g., the fingers, mouth, and/or larynx), but also the capacity to execute those commands at sub-second levels temporal precision. 2. Temporal extension. Like film, dance, and storytelling, but unlike painting, sculpture, and architecture, music is a temporal art, requiring time to unfold. Thus for both the composer/improviser and the listener, the working memory apparatus plays a critical role in assembling a mental representation of the whole of the musical work—since the whole does not really “exist” at any single point in time except in the form of memory (ignoring “prosthetic” memory representations such as written scores and audio recordings). 3. Symbolic structure. Just as spoken words and sentences are constructed from a limited set of phonemes, so too are musical melodies constructed from a limited set of notes and durations. In this sense they are both “symbolic,” i.e., composed of “symbols” (or “elements”) which in themselves have no meaning. However, an important distinction between speech and music is that phonemes, when combined in specific ways, do produce recognizable “words” which can refer to events and objects outside of the language system itself, and thereby take on meaning. In contrast, recombinations of musical elements only rarely refer to anything outside of the realm of music. The fact that these different combinations of musical elements can still feel “meaningful” to a listener, therefore, is a peculiarity of the art of music that is worthy of paying special attention to. Bashwiner, David, and Donna Bacon. “Neuroscience: Music and the Brain.” (2020).

Musical Creativity Versus Other … [read full article]


Absolutely satisfying study. Not mentioned was the usual suspect, subvocalizing, which is something I always found annoying because: I don’t generally subvocalize and yet words are loud and clear in my brain. That they’re already there in the mush ready for use whether internal or to be activated externally (such as filling in for vagueness) is satisfying and explains a lot for me.

Absolutely satisfying study. Not
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Transient! I think that’s the initial chaotic moment name I was looking. I can’t find any record of having researched it in the last seven years. Danced all around it but never saw it. A nice definition from Quora: “ When a system is disturbed from its equilibrium state, then the gap between the start of distortion in output and the time of attaining equilibrium is the period of instability. This instability is known as a transient. they are mostly prevalent in case of control systems.”

Transient! I think that’s … [read full article]