Episode 5: Cross-culture variation in preferences for consonance, with Dan Shanahan and guest Josh McDermott

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Music Theorist Daniel Shanahan recommends “Indifference to dissonance in native Amazonians reveals cultural variation in music perception” by Josh H. McDermott, Alan F. Schultz, Eduardo A. Undurraga, and Ricardo A. Godoy, published in Nature Letters in 2016. Dan and Finn interview Josh about the musical culture of the Tsimane people, adapting music cognition experiments for cross-cultural studies, and what the absence of preference for consonant intervals (over dissonant intervals) in the people of one culture means for theories of music cognition more broadly.

Time Stamps

  • [0:00:00] Introduction with Dan
  • [0:13:16] Interview with Josh and introduction to the Tsimane and their music culture
  • [0:22:41] Experiment Design on Preference for Consonance and Dissonance
  • [0:28:04] Experiment results and the distinction between melodic and harmonic intervals
  • [0:32:53] Cross-culture study methodologies and follow up studies
  • [0:38:39] Implications of results on experiences of western music listeners
  • [0:42:04] Relationship of these results to other studies of preference for consonance
  • [0:48:16] Closing with Dan

Show notes

Credits

The So Strangely Podcast is produced by Finn Upham, 2018.

Audio samples of Tsimane singing and experiment stimuli are taken form the Supplementary materials (samples 3, 4, 8, and 1) to the recommended article. Included with permission from Prof. McDermott.

The closing music includes a sample of Deutsch’s Speech-Song Illusion Sound Demo 1.

29 episodes