Abstracts of issue 22 (2015)

Stylianos Tsakalidis

Mental auditory image and music, thought and speech, complementary cognitive processes in the service of music performance

The analogy between mental auditory image and music and thought and speech has been commonly accepted by scholars and performers for many years. Now, however, the observation and research in laboratory studies of the brain using modern technologies has shown that both thought and auditory image follow similar formation mechanisms. The practical consequence of this observation is that we can profit from the relationship between thought and speech in the music performance practice. When we understand a language, we can read a text silently, without involving the external organs of speech. After we have understood the text, we can refer to its contents without having read it aloud or heard it. Our thesis refers to the way in which a musician will be able to use this basic speech mechanism in the form associated with the musical performance, which is the mental auditory image. The way of using the mental image lies in its role as a basic guide in the process of performance practice. In a similar way that thought guides speech, mental auditory image indicates to the body what to perform, while at the same time checks the accuracy of the performance. In order to write or talk, one should have a complete thought to become meaningful to one’s listeners. Similarly, in music performance we must have a comprehensive mental auditory image of the work, to be able to convey the musical text with fullness to the audience.

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