Chapter

Perceiving Melodies

Stephen Davies

in Musical Understandings and Other Essays on the Philosophy of Music

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199608775
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191729669 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608775.003.0011
Perceiving Melodies

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The visual perception of objects and events and the audible perception of melodies are comparable with respect to the recognitions involved. Observers can identify objects presented at different orientations and can frequently identify an item as the same despite changes in its appearance, for example by ageing. These cases are paralleled in music listening. Thematic ideas can (sometimes, but not inevitably) be recognized when they are inverted or played backwards. In addition, within music it is crucial that various musical statements, including ones that differ in their intervallic sequence, are sometimes recognized as versions of a single theme.

Keywords: music; melody; inversion; recognition; audible perception; ageing

Chapter.  4447 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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