What I enjoyed the most about this reading was thinking about attention, which Levitin parenthetically equates with volition. It’s an interesting aside, because in my mind attention is what so much of this book is about. Thinking about music by breaking it down into specific components requires some very distinct and varied levels of focus. It certainly is an act of volition to break apart our conditioned, gestalt perception of a piece of music in distinct sounds, tempo, instruments, integer ratios, etc.
It reminds me of an article I read pretty recently that describes APD, which often is confused with ADD:
“Auditory processing disorder (APD), also known as central auditory processing disorder (CAPD), is a complex problem affecting about 5% of school-aged children. These kids can’t process the information they hear in the same way as others because their ears and brain don’t fully coordinate. Something adversely affects the way the brain recognizes and interprets sounds, most notably the sounds composing speech.
Kids with APD often do not recognize subtle differences between sounds in words, even when the sounds are loud and clear enough to be heard. These kinds of problems usually occur in background noise, which is a natural listening environment. So kids with APD have the basic difficulty of understanding any speech signal presented under less than optimal conditions.”
And mulling over where sounds go after they hit our ears reminded me of Binaural Meditation.
“Binaural beats or binaural tones are auditory processing artifacts, or apparent sounds, the perception of which arises in the brain for specific physical stimuli. This effect was discovered in 1839 by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove, and earned greater public awareness in the late 20th century based on claims that binaural beats could help induce relaxation, meditation, creativity and other desirable mental states. The effect on the brainwaves depends on the difference in frequencies of each tone, for example, if 300 Hz was played in one ear and 310 in the other, then the Binaural beat would have a frequency of 10 Hz.”