When we see an object, we see it as bounded and separated from other objects in space. When we hear a sound, we are capable of discerning its beginning, its continuing flow, and its end in time. Despite this, the bounds of sound are not firm, but flow with the sound in time and cannot be fixed. We can perceive other sounds and events synchronously. Do we then perceive the bounds of acustic events on the basis of time, as is commonly supposed? How could the bounds in time not be real, but only notional (conventional), and on the basis of what do we distinguish sounds and silence? This article investigates (i) how we are able to perceive (distinguish) bounds, that is change in the context of a continous perception of sounds; and (ii) whether time enables us to distinguish the perceived event as a delineated whole, or rather as part of the continuous flow of sounds. The first question is developed from Leibniz’s thoughts about the emergence of consciousness, in so far as they issue from the aural model of perception. The second question is put into the context of Husserl’s analysis of the percept of melody and asks whether Husserl’s understanding of aural events (melody) as a whole is compatible with the fact that melodies occur in time gradually.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.