I have noticed that if you play three chords all of which contain a particular note, it is harder for the brain to hear the note that remains the same. It's easier for it to track that which is in motion / changing.
But that which stays the same definitely goes in. Look at the adverts etched onto the grass in the Rugby World Cup. Because your brain is following the ball you don't notice them, if someone asked you what they were afterwards you would probably say ' what adverts? '. But they have gone in nonetheless.
I wonder if this analogy extends to music; because your focus is engaged with the musical movement, the actual notes themselves are maybe as invisible as this gorilla.
Thoughts and responses regarding the research at acousticlearning.com.
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