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The Auditory Object


Rivista di Estetica (3/2017)

Advisory Editors

Elvira Di Bona (The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute)

Vincenzo Santarcangelo (University of Turin)

Mail to:

  • elviradibona@gmail.com

  • vincenzosantarcangelo@yahoo.it

  • rivista.estetica@gmail.com

Deadline for submission

December 30th, 2016

Description

The concept of “auditory object” has recently attracted much attention among neuroscientists, neuropsychologists, and philosophers. Although an auditory object is a sense-specific concept, it “raises fundamental questions about the nature of object perception in all sensory systems” (Griffiths and Warren 2004). The auditory object has been investigated in comparison with the visual object. Such analyses revealed not only how ontologically different the two objects are—since, while the visual object is often identified with material objects, the auditory object is equated with streams or events—but also how similar for certain aspects they appear—for the fact that both objects have perceptible qualities (i.e. colour, dimension and size for the visual object, and pitch, loudness and timbre for the auditory object).

Within Gestalt Psychology, the auditory object (in gestaltic terms the “perceptive whole”) has been often examined with reference to the musical object—for example, a psychologist like Von Erhenfels (1890) studied auditory objects such as a melody. Nevertheless, it seems that there should be differences between the auditory object and the musical object, since the musical object is characterized by an aesthetic dimension. For instance, a trivial environmental sound like the slamming of a door might become a musical object when inserted in a music composition, as in the piece “Variations pour une porte et un soupir” by Pierre Henry and, in general, as in the music genre of the musique concrète.

The objective of this special issue of Rivista di Estetica is to investigate the ontological nature of the auditory object, its specificity as an object of perception and its relation to the visual and the musical object.

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