Components of melodic processing

Mark A. Schmuckler

in Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780199298457
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Components of melodic processing

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Melody is the most ubiquitous form of musical structure, with which listeners come into contact on a daily basis. Mirroring the prevalence and importance of melody, research in music cognition has focused extensively on the processes involved in perceiving and remembering melodic structure. Despite these years of study, however, our understanding of pitch structure in melody can be described simply, with respect to the two components of tonality and pitch contour. Although the importance of these two components has been recognized over the years, it is only recently that workable models of these components have been proposed. This article describes such models of tonality and melodic contour, and discusses the role of these components in listeners' perceptions of and memory for melody.

Keywords: melody; music cognition; melodic structure; tonality; pitch contour; perception; memory

Article.  7013 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology

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