Michael Daniel Core C – Jordain 2/1/2006 The main idea of the 3 chapters of Jordain’s book that we read was

that there is a distinction between active listening where we pay attention to the music and passive hearing where the music is just background noise that we don’t pay much attention to. Some people have preferences for melody, harmony, rhythm, or phrasing. When we pay attention to music we get more pleasure from it because we get more information from the music because information is conveyed by a piece when expectations are set up and then unfulfilled. Music effects us emotionally and can lead to what Jordain calls, “ecstasy”. Music can also be used to treat Parkinson’s and make people more intelligent. The most common problem with this reading was the author’s use of the word, “research”. If an argument is made that requires one to bring up research to back their claims then they should cite that research. Jordain seems to think that he can invoke “research” without citing what research he is speaking of. For example, he said that, “parallels between music and language are still very much a topic of research.”, and “Research has affirmed that we cannot possibly follow several lines of speech.” Jordain seems to regard himself as a neurologist when I understand him to be a fine arts critic. He spends pages going over the neurology of music when it isn’t appropriate for him to do so. He could have simply said that music effects us more when we pay attention to it and it effects us in certain ways. I would have accepted that. When he uses neurology to back his claims he stumbles over his own two feet. On page 274 Jordain writes, “We’ve seen how right-brain auditory areas favor tonal analysis just as left-brain areas favor speech consonants.” Not only have we not

seen that, but later on in the reading he contradicts himself when he says that, “it is flatly wrong to conceive of music as channeling exclusive to the right brain and language to the left.” He then says that when an activity uses both sides of the brain then the activity is considered, “lateralized”. When somebody has their brain split to fix epilepsy then they have problems with different activities because they can’t lateralize, which is supposed to bolster his claim that music descends from language. It bolsters nothing because I don’t see any reason to believe that we can learn about healthy brains from studying damaged brains until we know more about exactly how healthy brains work. Until then we can not control for damage properly. Jordain misused the word “lateralized” when he said that, “some functions are so strongly lateralized that only one side of the brain can manage them on it’s own.” If something is strongly lateralized, by his own definition, then it can only be done when the two sides of the brain work together. Jordain tries to tie structuralism into his argument using Chomsky and Schenker. The problems with this are that Chomsky did not research music and Schenker’s research into music’s deep structures was deeply flawed. In the pink panther an expectation is built up for a certain phrase to be played but it is not played and that is what makes the piece interesting to Jordain. Jordain’s writing has a similar effect on me as the pink panther has on him. Jordain builds up in me an expectation for insight and then breaks the expectation thru the clever use of fallacy. Fallacy is almost rhythmic in this work. In chapter nine he builds to a kind of a drum solo of fallacy. Unfortunately, I don’t have space to refute all of it here.