The Melody Lingers
The original seven pages of 'Tunes for Painted Caves' were written over the winter of 2000-2001. It was a fun project and I learned a lot. I've re-worked the pages and, I must admit, corrected a couple of typo's that have lain unattended for five years, as well as reformatting, so please bear with me while I get the stylesheet right. Now read on:
Lewis-Williams's book made a great impression on me, developing his earlier studies into a complete and coherent description of a potential use of cave art. Paul Bahn later commented that there was no firm evidence for much of it, but still pointied out that 'something was happening' and describing a more conservative picture approach. For my purposes, his less precise interpretation is, as Roy Dommett once commented: so 'very useful'.
However, a great deal of water has flowed under the proverbial bridge since then. Lewis-Williams has published 'The Mind in the Cave', deriving 'shamanic' contexts (I'm aware that the term has a very specific meaning but here I use it in the popular sense, as does Lewis-Williams himself) from Neolithic cave art. There's been a great deal more neuroscience published, much of it fascinating and thought-provoking. From a more personal point of view, some of you may have read my descriptions of Mechelen: this is one of several sites I've visited, with my wife and with friends, which lend credence to some of the neuroscience pointing towards effects on the brain of sound in the 110Hz region.
At the end of a very lean and frustrating couple of years, dusting off 'Painted Caves' as a further ongoing project may keep me sane. As you'll see, I'm working with spaces other than caves and considering the modern neuroscience studies relating to the perception of music in general. This is because, although we never did get to tryout the flute in the Long Barow or elsewhere, in the intervening period we've found several modern setting where effects much like those predicted for caves and barrows obviously do occur for some people.
The first page, a summary of where I'm at, is here:
I was probably going to do this anyway, but the catalyst was on 22 October 2005 when I attended 'Language, Poetry and the Brain' at Winchester, the latest in a series of 'Art and Mind' productions. I don't normally do banners, but if you've read my stuff, here's a date for your diary, and a link to the site.
The previous 'Religion, Art and the Brain' addressed sacred space, and the event in March will probably do so again. I hope to see you there.
all text and images copyright © Andy Anderson, 2000-2005,
unless otherwise stated
the moral right of the author is asserted