New research from the U of A Music Cognition Lab shows that listeners perceive repeated environmental sounds as music. Pictured: music professor Elizabeth Helmuth Margulis
Water dripping. A shovel scraping across rock. These sounds don’t seem very musical. Yet new research at the University of Arkansas shows that repeating snippets of environmental sounds can make them sound like music.
The new findings from the Music Cognition Lab at the University of Arkansas build upon research by Diana Deutsch and colleagues. These researchers showed that repetition can musicalize speech, a phenomenon they called “speech-to-song” illusion. Researchers at the University of Arkansas Music Cognition Lab have now demonstrated that repetition can also musicalize non-speech sounds. They call this a “sound-to-music” illusion.
This underscores the role of repetition in generating a musical mode of listening and shows that the effect does not depend on the special relationship between music and speech, but can occur for broader categories of sound.
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