It is something of a paradox that language excludes even as it communicates. The European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music (ESCOM) project to translate seminal European literature on psychology and music is based on the belief that only with a translation into English, the lingua franca of scientific discourse, will these texts reach the widest readership at first hand.
Historical distance has proven the value of Carl Stumpf’s writings and their enduring relevance. The two texts included in this inaugural volume, The Origins of Music (1911) and Self-Portrait (1924), are both summary texts of a kind, and bear upon a variety of academic and intellectual circles, frog the various brands of the study of music, including the cultural anthropology of music, to the cognitive sciences, psychoacoustics, and the history of philosophy. With his research into sound perception, Stumpf became a pioneer in experimental psychology and effectively detached the discipline from its close traditional relationship to philosophy (though Stumpf’s lifelong interest in epistemology underscores the fact that he did not identify himself as an experimental psychologist). He was convinced that psychophysics and physiology are fundamental methods of psychology, but he was equally convinced that they were unable to answer the fundamental question: ‘How do we perceive the world?’
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