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PSYC56H3 (32)

music organization article summary

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Mark Schmuckler

Music Organization Introduction y Look at ways to describe local and global organizations of melodies y Two main issues o 1 address the way local features of melodies are grouped perceptually to form more global patterns o 2 since global musical patterns are extended in time look at the possible role of memory in cognition of musical pattern organizationo 3 consider hierarchical patterns of organization as a way in which events at the local and global levels might be linked Local Pattern Organization y Recall example 5a in which pitch separation between two temporally interleaved melodies allows either melody to be attended to and heard distinctly y If think of pitch and time dimensions in fig 51 as dimensions of a musical space then such examples become analogous to visual illustrations of perceptual organization formulated by gestalt psychologists o Gestalt principles serve as useful rules indicating what sort of pattern organization will be perceived given certain stimulus features o Amenable to translation from visual to auditory space where relatively brief spans of local stimulus organization are involved o Seem to describe aspects of stimulus organization that arise automatically from the operation of the sensory systems within involving more complex cognitive systems ie Memory o Visual illustrations of principles shown in fig 61Proximity yA set of eight dots seen as one wiggly row y Or B as two separate rowsSimilarityy C a row of four filled dots and a row of four open dotsCommon fate y D imagine arrows as indicating direction of movement configuration splits into two rowsone moving up and other downGood continuation pragnanz y E curved line and straight line o When extended in time with notes instead of dots patternillustrates organization according to common fate as well with trajectory of one melody passing through the path of the otherF more complicated as meaning and memory enter perception of both whole pattern and elements y Proximity predicts perception of word FONDLE y Similarity suggests two patterns F N Land O D E o Both occur ymoreover when organization breaks down into two smaller patterns o ODE more likely to be seen as figure pattern which perceiver attending to at the moment because is a meaningful word o while FNL likely to become ground everything else in stimulus y organizational principles of proximity similarity common fate and pragnanz indicate which aspects of stimulus are likely to be attended to as a figure o four gestalt principles add meaning as fifth source of pattern organizationy ch 5 provides auditory analogs of principles in fig 61 with exception of common fate o 5ad illustrate perceptual grouping based on pitch timbre loudness and location o 5e and 5f listener could attend to notes of familiar melody even though they are not differentiated from their background on any other basis than being parts of a meaningful configuration y In visual analogy would be as though word ODE were written in same color letters as the background yet remained perceptually salient y Turn discussion of further phenomena related to pitch proximity as a grouping principle Proximity y Importance of pitch proximity in audition is reflectedin fact that melodies everywhere use small pitch intervals from note to note y Fig 62 shows distribution of intervals in melodies from all societies data was obtainableo Cultures differ somewhat in which interval size they use but agree in avoiding intervals larger than 4 or 5 semitones o Tendency towards smaller intervals is a crosscultural universal and likely to derive from physiological structure of auditory systemviolations of the proximity rules octaves scrambled melodies in ch 5 led patternsthat were difficult to follow y Violations of proximity have been used in various periods and genres both Western and nonWestern music for variety of effects o Baroque period of Western musicpredilection for polyphonic counterpoint converged with tradition of writing solo pieces for singlemelodyinstrument playing aloneFission based on pitch proximity used to enrich texture so that out of single succession of notes two melodic lines could be heard o Eg 6a from the Prelude of Bachs Third Partita for violin solo Passages violate proximity and produce passion fig 6A alternative passages do not fig 6Bbut nowhere does the violinist play more than on note at a time
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