Musical correlates of perceived tonal hierarchies

Carol L. Krumhansl

in Cognitive Foundations of Musical Pitch

Published in print November 2001 | ISBN: 9780195148367
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199893201 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Psychology Series

Musical correlates of perceived tonal hierarchies

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This chapter asks what objective properties of music are correlated with the tonal hierarchies measured in the experiments. Two possibilities are examined in detail: tonal consonance and the statistical distribution of tones in tonal-harmonic music. Strong correlations are found between the tonal hierarchies and the durations and number of occurrences of tones in various compositions, suggesting a mechanism through which the tonal hierarchy is internalized.

Keywords: musical tones; tonal consonance; tonal hierarchy; tonal distribution

Chapter.  9889 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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