Sagan, Thaut

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” – Quote attributed to Carl Sagan

“Music unfolds only in time” (Thaut, 2008, p. 3). “Rhythmic structure allows for better perceptual gestalts to emerge, minimizing conflict and difficulty in perception, such as being confronted with stimuli that are hard to distinguish… Rhythm as temporal ordering process—especially in its narrower sense as cyclical, periodic phenomenon—creates anticipation and predictability. Prediction and anticipation are key terms in certain theories of emotion and meaning… Rhythms can form shape and memory” (pp. 5-6). “Exposure, learning, and training shape and develop the complexity of the neuronal architecture, the wiring scheme of the brain, into a more and more diverse and efficient executive system. Music can play an interesting dual role in this process; on the one hand, it is a part of the basic biological blueprint of the brain and, on the other hand, it is a strong environmental sensory stimulus able to influence changes in the brain. If we return briefly to the importance of temporal regulation for all our higher cognitive and motor functions, we may have very good reason to believe that rhythm in music, the element of temporal order, has a unique and profound influence on our perceptual processes related to cognition, affect, and motor function. Rhythm may enhance our brain operations through providing structure and anticipation in time. Rhythm may be one of the central processors to optimize our gestalt formation in the basic processes of learning and perception” (pp. 16-17).

Thaut, M.H. (2008). Rhythm, music, and the brain: Scientific foundations and clinical applications. New York, NY: Routledge.