Tag Archives: Cognition

Walk Like a Composer

Jonathan L. Friedmann, Ph.D.

Beethoven’s daily routine included vigorous walks with a pencil and sheets of music paper. Robert Schumann’s regular walks were punctuated with poetry writing and drawing sketches. Tchaikovsky took two walks per day: a brisk stroll in the morning and a two-hour hike after lunch. Benjamin Britten had company on his walks, during which he talked about music and after which he wrote it down. The list of strolling composers could go on and on. More than just mundane details of famous biographies, these examples give credence to Nietzsche’s overstated but still compelling aphorism: “All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.”

The link between walking and creativity is apparent across disciplines. Celebrated cases include John Milton, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Immanuel Kant, Sigmund Freud, and Eric Hoffer. Again, the list could stretch on without end. A skeptic might note that walking is a natural human activity: it is something that creative and not-so-creative people share in common. But this is walking of an intentional and recreational kind, not the humdrum mode of moving the body from place to place.

Until now, connections between walking and novel idea generation have come from historical and personal anecdotes. Britten working out a musical passage on a leisurely jaunt has parallel in the average person working out an average problem on a stroll around the neighborhood. Perhaps the benefits are so apparent that scientific confirmation is not needed. Be that as it may, the emerging science provides intriguing confirmation.

A recent paper in the Journal of Experimental Psychology outlines preliminary findings of four walking experiments. “Give Your Ideas Some Legs: The Positive Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking” (a highly technical study with a deceptively inviting title) shows that walking not only increases formation of creative ideas in real-time, but also for a period afterward. Without going into depth here, the experiments, conducted by Marily Oppezzo and Daniel L. Schwartz of Stanford University, record thought processes of people in various combinations of seating and walking. Not surprisingly, walking resulted in substantial creative boosts, with outdoor walking producing thought patterns of the highest quality and novelty.

Without jumping to premature conclusions, the authors predict that the walk-thought mechanism “will eventually [be shown to] comprise a complex causal pathway that extends from the physical act of walking to physiological changes to the proximal processes.” This is something we could have learned from Brahms, who was often seen walking around Vienna with hands folded behind his back. He gave this advice to Gustav Jenner, his only formal composition student: “When ideas come to you, go for a walk; then you will discover that the thing you thought was a complete thought was actually only the beginning of one.”

Visit Jonathan’s website to keep up on his latest endeavors, browse his book and article archives, and listen to sample compositions.

Music Complete and Incomplete

Jonathan L. Friedmann, Ph.D.

Søren Kierkegaard wrote, “Music, like time, is measured but immeasurable, is composed but indivisible” (Either/Or, 1843). A subject in William James’ The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902) compared a spiritual experience to “the effect of some great orchestra when all the separate notes have melted into the swelling harmony.” These quotations speak to the immediate and all-consuming effect of music. While musical elements can be distilled and analyzed through the study of a recording or score, their collective impact defies mechanical examination.

Such is the nature of musical completeness. In an instant too brief to quantify, the entirety of one’s being is affected by an indivisible sonic force. The congealed parts of the musical whole—pitches, rhythms, timbres, durations, dynamics—stimulate the inseparable components of the person—mind, body, emotions. It is a holistic experience.

Yet, there is also a sense in which music is incomplete. Both Kierkegaard and James’ subject allude to an attribute common to all music: evanescence. Much of music’s effect comes from its instantaneous materialization. It tends to enter our perception without warning and manipulate us with or without our permission. However, just as quickly as it enters our awareness, it disappears. Each passing beat, each successive phrase, each fleeting chord evaporates as soon as it is heard. The sounds emerge without physical substance, and leave no physical trace behind. Of course, efforts can be made to transcribe or stipulate a performance with written notation; but this is only an approximation. Every performance is unique.

Something similar occurs with recorded music (and to a lesser degree synthesized music). Though recordings can capture musical occurrences and replay them with near precision, the listener will never hear them the same way twice. Musical perception is influenced by the accumulated experiences leading up to a particular listening, not to mention what the listener is doing, thinking, and feeling when the recording is being played. Thus, permanence is lacking even in the most carefully fossilized music.

Music is, then, both complete and incomplete. In the micro-moment of perception, it is a single, wholly formed, and ineffable force. The listener’s response is likewise inclusive, engaging the mental, physical, and emotional realms. But when we zoom out to view the broader phenomenon, this completeness—so viscerally felt by the listener—begins to dissipate. What once seemed absolutely whole becomes fundamentally partial. The image of indivisible notes melting away into an all-embracing harmony is replaced with rapidly appearing and disappearing musical phrases, the effect of which changes in accordance with changes in the listener.

Visit Jonathan’s website to keep up on his latest endeavors, browse his book and article archives, and listen to sample compositions.

Scripted Thoughts

Jonathan L. Friedmann, Ph.D.

A song consists of words set to music for the purpose of being sung. This definition is so basic that it hardly needs mention. What is perhaps less obvious is the power that language exerts on the music to which it is set. Lyrics give musical sounds a specific character, turning a notoriously abstract art form into a delivery system for potential crystal clarity—potential because, depending on the subject’s accessibility and the intelligibility of the language, a song can approach a level of directness rarely achieved in other modalities.

To be sure, lyrics can at times seem superfluous, regardless of how poorly or finely crafted they are, or how well or badly they merge with the music. For some people, the words are merely a doorway into a musical experience, and have little attraction in and of themselves (I tend to fall in this camp). Songs are also multidimensional artifacts, saturated with cultural assumptions, subject to critical judgment, and filtered through personal lenses. Moreover, each individual has heard songs wearing different sets of ears, sometimes gravitating toward the words and other times not. Still, despite this diversity of engagement, the greatest strength of song remains its capacity for clarity.

Lyrics have a distinct advantage over other types of linguistic expression. The placement of words in musical confinement yields many clarifying constraints and devices, including: metered stanzas that regulate the number of syllables; recurring phrases that eliminate ambiguity; familiar idioms and clichés that provide instant messages; choruses that reiterate central themes; poetic tools like rhyme, assonance and alliteration, which help weed out extraneous language. Of course, some songs employ these elements better than others, and there is room for nuance and creativity (and miscommunication), even with these controls. But, taken as a whole, songs are uniquely adept at compressing, containing and conveying streamlined concepts.

This unclutteredness runs counter to the human condition, which condemns our minds to endless and often-disjointed thoughts. True, most of us can steer ourselves into clear thinking when needed; but it is impossible to harness the mechanism at all times. The thought motor is always running, even in our sleep.

I’m reminded of a scene in Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, when Mrs. Pefko complains to Dr. Breed, “You scientists think too much.” “I think you’ll find,” replied Dr. Breed, “that everybody does about the same amount of thinking. Scientists simply think about things one way, and other people think about things in others.” This is the blessing and burden of our species.

Songs embody the elusive ideal of lucidity. They are neatly packed containers, carefully arranged and efficiently delivered. They are, in short, the opposite of wandering words.

Visit Jonathan’s website to keep up on his latest endeavors, browse his book and article archives, and listen to sample compositions.

The Music Instinct

Jonathan L. Friedmann, Ph.D.

In 1933, fifty-eight-year-old composer Maurice Ravel suffered a stroke while swimming. The ordeal left him with aphasia, which robbed his ability to comprehend or express linguistic symbols. Because music composition, like language, utilizes a written system of signs, aphasia also silenced his creative output. Although Ravel retained musical mentation—the capacity to think musically—he was no longer able to translate musical thoughts into sounds. He could recognize tunes, identify errors in performance, and select a score by patterns represented on the page. But his analytical deciphering disappeared: note naming, sight-reading, dictation.

Contrast this with a more recent story of a sixth grader who was forced to give up sports after sustaining a concussion. The boy’s dream of becoming a professional athlete was dashed, but he suddenly discovered a new talent for music. He displayed little aptitude for music prior to the injury, and was even below average when it came to simple functions like matching pitches and predicting phrases. Now a high school student, he plays over a dozen instruments, including guitar, piano, accordion, harmonica and bagpipes—all by ear. It is possible that this talent was dormant before circumstances led to its discovery. But it may also be the result of the brain’s rewiring and overcompensating for capabilities lost in the trauma.

Losing or gaining musical genius in the aftermath of a head injury is exceedingly rare. However, these extreme cases do point to the innateness of music in humanity. Ravel, a once expert and meticulous musician, could still conceive of and enjoy music, though he could no longer create or perform it. The student athlete, once indifferent toward music, became musically hyper-expressive. Latent in both was a musical sense that exists in virtually everyone. An underlying musicality was preserved in Ravel, who was reduced to a passive receiver, and magnified in the boy, who was transformed into an active creator.

It is rarely acknowledged that the absence of musical skill or training does not correspond to a lack of musical capacity. Just as one need not be a writer to appreciate a well-written book, one need not be gifted or educated in the musical arts to be moved by a well-executed piece. Likewise, the musically inclined and disinclined benefit from music in essentially identical ways, the difference being one of degree rather than kind. Whatever our talents or limitations—and whether our musical adeptness increases, decreases or stays stagnant over time—we remain musical creatures.

Visit Jonathan’s website to keep up on his latest endeavors, browse his book and article archives, and listen to sample compositions.

What You See is What You Hear

Jonathan L. Friedmann, Ph.D.

Much has been written on the role of paralinguistic gestures in communicating linguistic content. Hand movements, postures, facial expressions and the like give context to spoken words and shade their meaning in significant ways. The non-verbal amplifies the verbal, conveying emotional information that may or may not be overt in the language alone. Something similar occurs in music performance.

Like verbal interaction, musical communication is a complex activity engaging multiple sensory modalities. Listening by itself does not extract all that a performance can disclose. This is especially so with instrumental music, a category of performance unaided by the (usual) clarity of words. No matter how formulaic or accessible, instrumental music is at best an abstract language. Thus, the full message and impact of a performance often relies on accompanying gestures, body movements and other paramusical signals.

It should be noted that research on music and emotions typically falls into three main categories. The most regularly explored is the influence of culture in shaping emotional responses. Schematic expectations and tonal patterns trigger stereotyped reactions among participants in a specific music-culture. The second most widely explored area is the effect of listening conditions. Settings and circumstances in which music is heard, along with the listener’s mental and physical states, contribute to how sounds are emotionally received. The third most commonly examined aspect is the impression of movement, form and imagery in musical passages. Such symbolism evokes emotions through mimicry, with slow phrases suggesting lethargy, ascending sequences implying elation, etc.

Visual cues deserve a place beside these conventional explanations. Cognitive studies have exposed the limits of emotional conveyance through strictly auditory features, like vibrato, tempo and dynamics. By itself, aural processing can and does open the pathway to music-induced emotions. However, the strength of music’s effect increases considerably and assumes added dimensions when a performance is both heard and seen.

Jane W. Davidson, a musicologist at the University of Western Australia, has examined the extent to which visual communication affects emotional perception. For a 1994 experiment, she had musicians play a piece in three distinct manners: restrained, with little to no physical expression; standard, with natural body and facial movement; and exaggerated, with effusive movement and facial cues. Just listening to the audio of these performances, participants were unable to detect which was played in which fashion. But when the performances were viewed, the intensity of emotional responses was proportional to the amount of gesturing, postural adjustments and facial signals observed. The more demonstrative the playing, the more emotional it seemed. A similar study conducted by Bradley W. Vines, et al. (2011) concludes that emotional ambiguity in atonal music can likewise be resolved through a player’s mannerisms.

Two additional observations deserve mention. The first is that musicians and non-musicians are equally unable to detect changes in performance manner when music is only heard, and are equally swayed by physical displays when performances are both heard and seen. The second is that the less familiar one is with a composition, the more one relies on sight in determining its emotional content. The grand takeaway is this: visuals are an underappreciated and immensely potent medium for enhancing, complementing and clarifying emotions in music.

Visit Jonathan’s website to keep up on his latest endeavors, browse his book and article archives, and listen to sample compositions.

The Role of the Listener

Jonathan L. Friedmann, Ph.D.

In The Role of the Reader: Explorations in the Semiotics of Texts (1979), Umberto Eco carefully elucidates “the cooperative role of the addressee in interpreting messages.” When processing a text, the reader derives meaning(s) based on his or her linguistic and cultural competencies. Eco explains that the text itself is never a finished or enclosed product. Its essence is incomplete until it meets the readers’ eyes. And each time it does so, it assumes a new and person-specific character.

This observation fits into Eco’s wider theory of interpretative semiotics, in which words and other signs do not disclose a full range of meaning, but invite readers to construct signification from them. As Eco writes elsewhere, “Every text, after all, is a lazy machine asking the reader to do some of its work. What a problem it would be if a text were to say everything the receiver is to understand—it would never end” (Six Walks in Fictional Woods, 1994). Among the types of signs open to individualized interpretation are natural languages, secret codes, formalized languages, aesthetic codes, olfactory signs, cultural codes, tactile communication and visual input.

Eco distinguishes these systems from music (or “musical codes”), which he considers to be resolutely indeterminate. In his view, there is no depth to the semantic levels produced by musical syntax. A musical line, even when conventional, reveals no real baseline or essential undercurrent for the interpretive process. Virtually everything we extract from the listening experience is culturally conditioned and subjectively filtered. To be sure, this issue is less indicative of song, which is actually a species of text, or “music with a message.”

The abstractness of music is evident whenever an instrumental piece is performed. Take, for example, Vivaldi’s “Spring.” Though it is programmatic—linked by title to a seasonal theme—its Baroque pleasantries can inspire an endless slew of associations, even for listeners familiar with the intended subject matter. It can conjure images of horseback riding, a morning cup of coffee, aristocratic tea parties, falling snowflakes, frolicking dinosaurs, a tray of cupcakes, a journey to Mars. Along with these representations are companion feelings, such as relaxation, invigoration, exhilaration and boredom. The possibilities are as numerous as the individuals who hear it. And, because music is a living and continuously unfolding art, any future listening can evoke an assortment of different connotations.

The vagaries of music make the listener’s role even more crucial than that of the reader (or the receiver of other semiotic stimuli). Not only is musical meaning absent without someone to derive it, but music’s very existence depends on ears to detect it. Operating in the amorphous medium of sound and traveling through the invisible element of air, it needs sensory organs to hear it, bodies to feel it and imaginations to engage it. It has no material form; it takes shape inside the listener. And it is in that materialization that meaning is born.

Visit Jonathan’s website to keep up on his latest endeavors, browse his book and article archives, and listen to sample compositions.

The Body Thinks

Jonathan L. Friedmann, Ph.D.

The scene is not uncommon. A group gathers to study the ancient language of a scriptural passage or liturgical text. As they delve into the themes and imagery, judgments are made and ideological lines are drawn. One person accepts it as unquestioned truth. Another finds it hopelessly linked to a distant time. Someone else searches for hidden meaning. Another relates it to current events. The points they argue and sides they take reflect the group’s composition: a traditionalist, a rationalist, a mystic and a political activist. As always, their lively exchange ends in respectful disagreement. They put down their books, finish their coffee, shake each other’s hands, walk into the sanctuary, and disperse among the congregation. In a few minutes, they will be singing the words they were just debating. And they will be happily absorbed in the melody.

To the casual observer, this scene illustrates the dichotomy between study and song. The first is an intellectual activity, inviting scrutiny, deconstruction, reconstruction and reasoned dispute. The second is an emotional experience, disarming the analytical urge and inviting the flow of passions. Because the first involves critical thought and the second uncritical feeling, studying is generally viewed as more virtuous. To be moved by music containing words we struggle with is a case of lower capacities overtaking higher faculties.

There is, however another, less hierarchical way of looking at it. Anthropologist Michelle Rosaldo challenged us to appreciate emotions as “embodied thoughts.” They are not, she contended, involuntary or irrational exertions of the animal self, but the result of a deliberate and engaged body. Like cognition, emotion is a genuine and considered expression of who we are. It is the body’s way of reasoning.

As word-centric beings, we tend to dismiss the non-verbal realm of feelings as primal or crude. We take a dualistic stance, dividing thought and emotion into firm categories. We appraise the mind as literally and figuratively above the body. The intellect is the basis of our superiority as a species; feelings arise from our base biology. According to Rosaldo, this viewpoint is a reflection of culture rather than reality. While the mind processes information in words, the body processes information in sensations. One is not necessarily better or more efficient than the other. Both constitute our humanity.

This perspective helps us decipher the liturgical scenario above. Despite the differing views expressed around the study table, the heterogeneous group joins in the joyful singing of passages they had argued over moments before. Objections they raised with the text and one another remain unresolved. But as the words melt into music, so do their intellects melt into feelings. Their thinking brains are quieted, their thinking bodies stimulated. The debate is put on hold until next time.

Visit Jonathan’s website to keep up on his latest endeavors, browse his book and article archives, and listen to sample compositions.

Pots and Pans

Jonathan L. Friedmann, Ph.D.

When Ulysses S. Grant was asked what music he liked, he replied: “I know only two tunes. One of them is ‘Yankee Doodle’—and the other isn’t.” At first reading, this seems like a snarky pronouncement of musical stubbornness. Perhaps Grant considered “Yankee Doodle” the apex of musical achievement, and nothing else deserved mention alongside it. This attitude is not uncommon. It is human nature to put certain music on a pedestal and confidently assert that it is better than the rest (though our “pedestal music” is usually more sophisticated than a patriotic ditty). But that was not the meaning of Grant’s remark. His words were much more cynical—and much more literal.

From an early age, the great general (and not-so-great president) professed an intense dislike for music. He was extremely tone deaf: he could not hum, recognize or remember even the most popular airs of his day. Perhaps his inability to retain or reproduce music was so frustrating that it spilled over into animosity. Or maybe music truly sounded awful to his ears. Whatever the reason, his was an almost pathological aversion to musical sounds. He never went to concerts, refused to dance and had a particular (and ironic) hatred for military bands.

Grant most likely suffered from congenital amusia, an anomaly that begins at birth and affects roughly four percent of the population. (There is also acquired amusia, which occurs as a result of brain damage.)  The primary symptom is a deficit in fine-grained pitch discrimination. Amusics cannot detect pitch changes when the distance between two successive pitches is small, and thus cannot internalize musical scales. This impairs the person’s ability to enjoy or respond to melodies, most of which consist of slight interval changes.

However, while amusics typically cannot distinguish one musical selection from the next, they often do recognize a single piece, usually one that involves strong rhythms and some sort of fanfare. Many patriotic songs fit this description, with their accompanying parades, flag waving and ritualized gestures. That would explain how Grant could identify “Yankee Doodle” and nothing else.

Music can also be a severe annoyance for some amusics. Their problem is not just a failure of recognition. Music as they hear it is comparable to the banging of pots and pans or some other cacophonous irritant. This also seems to describe Grant’s condition.

Nevertheless, Grant was sensitive to how the majority responds to music, even as he could not comprehend their enjoyment. After graduating from West Point, he was assigned to duty with the Fourth U. S. Infantry. In those days, regimental bands were paid partly by the government and partly by regimental funds, which were set aside for luxuries such as books, magazines and music. Grant accumulated money for the fund by ordering the Infantry’s daily rations in flour instead of bread (at a significant savings), renting a bakery, hiring bakers and selling fresh bread through a contract he arranged with the army’s chief commissary. Much of the extra income went to secure a bandleader and competent players, whose music boosted the soldiers’ morale (and punished Grant’s ears).

Grant’s neurological wiring prevented him from being a music lover. In fact, it made him a music hater. He did not process music as music, and could not feel it as most of us do. Yet he was perceptive enough to observe the musical pleasures of others, and gentleman enough to give fellow soldiers the music they yearned for.

Visit Jonathan’s website to keep up on his latest endeavors, browse his book and article archives, and listen to sample compositions.

Heart Song

Jonathan L. Friedmann, Ph.D.

The heart and mind are in some ways theoretical constructs. Though both can be located within physical space—the chest and cranial cavities respectively—they have deeper significance in metaphysical discourse. The heart is not just a vital organ pumping blood around the body. In Western and some non-Western cultures, it is the seat of passion, empathy, love, conviction, intuition and emotional impulses. The mind is not just the locus of high-level cognitive activity—consciousness, perception, memory, etc. It is viewed as somehow separate from the brain (and physical existence in general). In popular usage, the mind represents self-awareness and intellect, which are considered distinct from the emotion-based attributes assigned to the heart.

Whether rational and emotional states can truly be separated is a subject of ongoing debate. Judgments, convictions, sensations and decision-making derive from a mixture of thoughts and sentiments. Feelings inform cognition; cognition informs feelings. Nevertheless, the heart and mind remain useful (and inescapable) metaphors for a complex entanglement of functions and traits.

A case in point comes from Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967), an influential twentieth-century composer, ethnomusicologist and educator. Kodály spent his early career on the Hungarian countryside collecting phonograph cylinder recordings. From that experience, he concluded that human beings have two native tongues. One is the language spoken at home. The other is folk music. Verbal communication is the language of the mind: the principle medium of thought and sensory processing. Folk music is the vocabulary of the heart: a storehouse of emotions and longings.

Rather than getting bogged down in ambiguities surrounding what is and what is not folk music, we can broaden Kodály’s comment to include all music that is “indigenous” to an individual. Most of us possess an assortment of musical selections that are folk-like: they capture our spirit, embody our history and encapsulate our identities. Hearing or performing them helps ground us in our pasts, situate us in our surroundings and remind us of who we are. To use a symbolic term somewhat analogous to the heart, a personal soundtrack is the record of one’s soul. In a pre-rational yet undeniable way, it puts us in contact with our interior selves.

Of course, the impact of such music is not purely emotional or otherwise ineffable. It stirs memories, images and ideas—things usually ascribed to the mind. This demonstrates the difficulty of demarcating between feelings and thoughts (heart and mind). The notions, imagery and recollections aroused by our favorite music tend to be feeling-laden: they are attached to sentimental moments in our lives, and inspire emotionally infused concepts and mental pictures.

This brings us back to Kodály’s observation. Whatever standards are used to identify music as “folk,” the qualifying sounds typically evoke regional and/or ethnic pride, rich communal associations, and the shared sentiments and experiences of a specific population. All of this constitutes a multi-layered heart—one comprised of nuanced and particularistic feelings. It is not an unthinking seat of emotions; it has an identity. These aspects are easily adapted to individual playlists. Like the “people’s music” of a culture or subculture, personally meaningful pieces forge a connecting line to one’s inner life. They speak the language of the heart.

Visit Jonathan’s website to keep up on his latest endeavors, browse his book and article archives, and listen to sample compositions.

Music and Coherence

Jonathan L. Friedmann, Ph.D.

Religious faith is commonly conceived of as a cognitive process. Those who are drawn to beliefs and practices are, by implication, convinced of their hypotheses, evidence and/or explanatory reasoning. Adherents accept the claims—or many of the claims—as consistent with reality, and assert the overall truth of the religious system. While this intellectual component is certainly crucial, a religion’s emotional resonance is nearly (if not equally) as important. Believers pressed to justify their allegiances frequently bypass logical arguments altogether, citing instead confirmatory experiences. These might include a personal encounter with otherness, a feeling of profound consolation, or some other sensation that evades scientific validation but is felt to be real. To quote eighteen-century preacher and theologian Jonathan Edwards, “True religion in great part consists in the affections.”

There is a growing body of psychological and neurological studies showing the extent to which we attach emotional attitudes to concepts. When appraising the value of an idea, we rely not only on reasoned thought but also on the sentiments we ascribe to that idea. Thus, the discerned accuracy or inaccuracy of a religious concept hinges in part on its ability to address specific human needs, such as social bonding, avoidance of anxiety, moral certainty and life after death. This is not mere wish fulfillment, but a rational choice informed by irrational and usually subconscious desires. As philosopher Paul Thagard puts it in his theory of emotional coherence, “people adopt and maintain religious beliefs for a combination of evidential and emotional reasons that provide satisfaction of cognitive and emotional constraints.”

Worship music is one area in which the intellectual and sentimental regularly converge. For reasons still not fully understood, combinations of pitches, timbres, rhythms, durations and dynamics effortlessly penetrate the seat of sentiments. When words are added to music, they tend to take on the character dictated by the tones. In most cases, the songwriter seeks to match a text with corresponding sounds, thereby reinforcing the thematic content. However, the force of music is such that upbeat lyrics sung to a sad melody will be perceived as sorrowful, while melancholy words set to a gleeful tune are felt, on some level, to be uplifting.

Whether the music matches the basic meaning of the language or shades it in a particular direction, the emotions stirred act as a type of confirmation. In devotional settings, this effect serves as affirmation of themes and ideas present in a prayer. With the aid of melody, a prayer of peace becomes a sensation of peace, a prayer of hope becomes a sensation of hope, a prayer of compassion becomes a sensation of compassion, and so on. Worship music can satisfy more general concerns as well, like the need for communal bonding and connection to heritage.

In these instances and more, exposure to music creates or enhances the emotional coherence of a religious system. It is an area of experience wherein cognition and affections seamlessly merge, and truth is as much a matter of feeling as it is of thought.

Visit Jonathan’s website to keep up on his latest endeavors, browse his book and article archives, and listen to sample compositions.