Shepherd Faculty Publications

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    Phrase Rhythm and Loss in the Music of Maurice Ravel
    (Wiley, 2023) Blättler, Damian
    A particular subset of Ravel's output features a phrase-rhythmic technique wherein tonal and thematic returns are accompanied by surprisingly asymmetrical or ambiguous phrase rhythm. This defies both generic conventions linking thematic reprise and tonal closure to relatively stable phrase rhythm and specific expectations created by these works’ formal processes, and contrasts with trajectories moving from phrase-rhythmic instability to stability which Ravel deploys in other works. The set of pieces which features this technique includes À la manière de … Chabrier, the Menuet sur le nom d'Haydn, pieces from Le Tombeau de Couperin, the last of the Valses nobles et sentimentales, and the ‘Blues’ movement from the Violin Sonata. This study notes how themes of loss and distance connect these pieces, allowing for the phrase-rhythmic technique to be bound up with interpretative implications which can enhance our understanding of how phrase rhythm can carry expressive freight.
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    Defining Creativity: A View from the Arts
    (Taylor & Francis, 2021) Brandt, Anthony K.
    Over several decades, novel-and-appropriate has become established as the standard definition of creativity; while allowing for variations in the exact wording, the requirement that creativity requires external validation of value, utility, etc. is largely unchallenged. This functions well in high consensus fields in which value can be empirically verified. However, in low consensus fields such as the arts, value judgments are subjective, controversies abound, and it can take a long time to reach agreement. As a result, novel-and-appropriate needs to be revisited as a generalized definition. In its place, a successful definition should take into account that bringing something novel to life often requires taking the initiative long before there is external judgment of value or utility and, in low consensus fields, those external judgments can be a poor barometer. Synthesizing arguments by Simonton and Weisberg, the solution is to conduct separate analyses for personal production and public reception, and to remove utility from the definition of creativity. Advantages, risks, and implications of the recommended framework are discussed.
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    Music and early language acquisition
    (2012-09-11) Brandt, Anthony; Gebrian, Molly; Slevc, L. Robert; Frontiers Media
    Language is typically viewed as fundamental to human intelligence. Music, while recognized as a human universal, is often treated as an ancillary ability – one dependent on or derivative of language. In contrast, we argue that it is more productive from a developmental perspective to describe spoken language as a special type of music. A review of existing studies presents a compelling case that musical hearing and ability is essential to language acquisition. In addition, we challenge the prevailing view that music cognition matures more slowly than language and is more difficult; instead, we argue that music learning matches the speed and effort of language acquisition. We conclude that music merits a central place in our understanding of human development.