scispace - formally typeset
Search or ask a question
Author

George D. Sawa

Bio: George D. Sawa is an academic researcher. The author has contributed to research in topics: Middle Eastern music. The author has an hindex of 1, co-authored 1 publications receiving 9 citations.

Papers
More filters
01 Jan 1989
TL;DR: In this paper, the nature, process, and problems of oral transmission in Arabic music in medieval Iraq and twentieth-century Egypt were studied, particularly the work of Salwa el-Shawan, my own research in medieval Arabic music, and my training in early twentieth century Arabic music.
Abstract: In this article I shall study the nature, process, and problems of oral transmission in Arabic music in medieval Iraq and twentieth-century Egypt. The choice of areas and eras is dictated by the present state of scholarship pertaining to the subject of oral transmission in Arabic music, particularly the work of my colleague Salwa el-Shawan, my own research in medieval Arabic music, and my training in early twentieth-century Arabic music. The Medieval Period For the medieval period I shall rely on one source: the Kitāb al-Aghānī 1 (Book of Songs) of al-Iṣbahānī (d. 967). This anthology, written in anecdotal form, covers, in approximately ten thousand pages, poetical and musical practices as well as social and cultural history from the fi fth to the tenth century in Arabia, Persia, Syria, and Iraq. Among the many musical practices described in the KA, the processes of oral transmission are relevant to this study, and also the fact that the oral medium was by far the most popular.

9 citations


Cited by
More filters
Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is suggested that the experiment tapped into the cognitive and perceptual constraints operative in the cultural evolution of musical systems, which may differ from the mechanisms at play in language evolution and change.
Abstract: It has been proposed that languages evolve by adapting to the perceptual and cognitive constraints of the human brain, developing, in the course of cultural transmission, structural regularities that maximize or optimize learnability and ease of processing. To what extent would perceptual and cognitive constraints similarly affect the evolution of musical systems? We conducted an experiment on the cultural evolution of artificial melodic systems, using multi-generational signaling games as a laboratory model of cultural transmission. Signaling systems, using five-tone sequences as signals, and basic and compound emotions as meanings, were transmitted from senders to receivers along diffusion chains in which the receiver in each game became the sender in the next game. During transmission, structural regularities accumulated in the signaling systems, following principles of proximity, symmetry, and good continuation. Although the compositionality of signaling systems did not increase significantly across generations, we did observe a significant increase in similarity among signals from the same set. We suggest that our experiment tapped into the cognitive and perceptual constraints operative in the cultural evolution of musical systems, which may differ from the mechanisms at play in language evolution and change.

31 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This study introduces neurophysiological methods into research on cultural transmission and evolution, and relates aspects of variation in symbolic systems to individual differences in neural information processing.
Abstract: It has recently been argued that symbolic systems evolve while they are being transmitted across generations of learners, gradually adapting to the relevant brain structures and processes. In the context of this hypothesis, little is known on whether individual differences in neural processing capacity account for aspects of 'variation' observed in symbolic behavior and symbolic systems. We addressed this issue in the domain of auditory processing. We conducted a combined behavioral and EEG study on 2 successive days. On day 1, participants listened to standard and deviant five-tone sequences: as in previous oddball studies, an mismatch negativity (MMN) was elicited by deviant tones. On day 2, participants learned an artificial signaling system from a trained confederate of the experimenters in a coordination game in which five-tone sequences were associated to affective meanings (emotion-laden pictures of human faces). In a subsequent game with identical structure, participants transmitted and occasionally changed the signaling system learned during the first game. The MMN latency from day 1 predicted learning, transmission and structural modification of signaling systems on day 2. Our study introduces neurophysiological methods into research on cultural transmission and evolution, and relates aspects of variation in symbolic systems to individual differences in neural information processing.

21 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is suggested that the introduction of neurophysiology in cultural transmission research may provide novel insights on the micro-evolutionary origins of forms of variation observed in cultural systems.
Abstract: In recent years, there has been renewed interest in the biological and cultural evolution of music, and specifically in the role played by perceptual and cognitive factors in shaping core features of musical systems, such as melody, harmony, and rhythm. One proposal originates in the language sciences. It holds that aspects of musical systems evolve by adapting gradually, in the course of successive generations, to the structural and functional characteristics of the sensory and memory systems of learners and "users" of music. This hypothesis has found initial support in laboratory experiments on music transmission. In this article, we first review some of the most important theoretical and empirical contributions to the field of music evolution. Next, we identify a major current limitation of these studies, i.e., the lack of direct neural support for the hypothesis of cognitive adaptation. Finally, we discuss a recent experiment in which this issue was addressed by using event-related potentials (ERPs). We suggest that the introduction of neurophysiology in cultural transmission research may provide novel insights on the micro-evolutionary origins of forms of variation observed in cultural systems.

14 citations

DissertationDOI
01 Jan 2012
TL;DR: The Tarab trombone as mentioned in this paper is a type of Arabic music that can be used to play trombones and solos based on Arabic music, e.g. Arabic poetry.
Abstract: The Tarab trombone: trombone etudes and solos based on Arabic music. ii To my beautiful wife Allyss iii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This essay would not be possible without the guidance and support of Tareq

7 citations