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10                            An Expected Musical Note

Listeners' encephalograms have been recorded during song-tune experiments. Enough tune was played for the listener to know what should come next, but the expected note was slightly delayed and then played. The resulting electric pulse or peak resembles the peak recorded when a subject is shown for a second time a picture that was already shown once a few minutes earlier.

        In the musical experiment, the two things that match are something expected and something encountered; in the other experiment, the two things that match are something remembered and something encountered. I think that with music, it is fairly definite that when, note after note, one's expectations keep being met, that is part of what makes listening a pleasure. So we have here a small clue to how the matching of two items produces pleasure: some brain-process occurs that gives that particular kind of electric pulse. The straight arrow in this picture represents a process about which almost nothing is known. The Central Idea is that some process occurs and is felt as pleasure, but this electric pulse is the nearest we have yet come to tracking it.

 

 

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