Dibben PercepAtonal 1999

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    The Perception of Structural Stability in Atonal Music: The Influence of Salience,Stability, Horizontal Motion, Pitch Commonality, and DissonanceAuthor(s): Nicola DibbenSource: Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal,  Vol. 16, No. 3 (Spring, 1999), pp.265-294Published by: University of California PressStable URL: 30-07-2019 18:42 UTC   JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a widerange of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity andfacilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at University of California Press  is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extendaccess to Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal  This content downloaded from on Tue, 30 Jul 2019 18:42:59 UTCAll use subject to   Music Perception © 999 by the regents of the  Spring 1999, Vol. 16, No. 3, 265-294 university of California  The Perception of Structural Stability in The Influence of Salience, Stability, Horiz Pitch Commonality, and Dissonance  NICOLA DIBBEN  University of Sheffield  Two experiments that investigate the perception of structural atonal music are reported. The first experiment suggests th  may hear atonal music in terms of the relative structural im events and that listeners' hearing is greatly influenced by me durational structure. A second experiment reveals that, even sence of clear rhythmic, timbrai, dynamic, and motivic infor  teners infer relationships of relative structural stability betwee  the musical surface. The effects of three main variables (pitc  ality, horizontal movement, and dissonance) and two salien  (register and parallelism) are considered. The results indicate absence of a clearly differentiated surface structure, listeners' of stability are influenced by the dissonance of chords and th  movement of voices. It is concluded that salience (phenomen  voice-leading, and dissonance are potentially important fac  abstraction of relationships of relative structural importance, to any inference of prolongational structure in atonal music.  Lerdahl and Jackendoff (1983) have suggested that experienced listen- ers hear tonal music in terms of an underlying hierarchical organiza- tion. This event hierarchy, it is suggested, gives rise to the experience of  tension and relaxation in music, also described as movement toward or  away from goals. The abstraction of such relationships has been attributed  to the interaction of stability conditions (the relationships between pitches,  chords, and keys of the tonal hierarchy), rhythmic structure (meter and duration), and other salience criteria, such as dynamics, texture, and tim-  bre (Lerdahl 6c Jackendoff, 1983). However, what happens in the case of nontonal music? Does the absence of the stability conditions of the tonal  hierarchy mean that this music is not heard in terms of relative structural  stability? Or do other musical parameters compensate? Intuition suggests  Address correspondence to Nicola Dibben, Department of Music, University of Sheffield,  Sheffield S10 2TN United Kingdom, (e-mail:  265 This content downloaded from on Tue, 30 Jul 2019 18:42:59 UTCAll use subject to   266 Ncoa Dbben  that the sam msical exper  of a sene of departure andr if so howdoes the listener i  A a frst steptowrdan  investigate the perceptionof s  Aonal msic of the SecondV  researchbecause, althoughit  msic (eg, phrase structure, ptchorganzation Mreover perceptionof ths msic (e  Prevailingtheores of the pe  abstract anevent herarchy  surface Acordngto the g  Jckendoff 1983, listeners s  tim span accordngto mt  head(or mst imortant ev  eachtim spancontitutes th  ity andthe seres of heads, i  of proongational structure, connection across the msic The theoryassign a struct  predcts the experencedliste Mchemrcal researchhas perceptionof structural sta  tionof tonal event herarch  tion of GTTMare supported  the roe of tonal herarche  1979 Krumanl &c Kssler ture wthptchstructure ( searchdoes not drectlyadd  data is congruent wthit in  trbute to the structural im  of tonal herarches andeve suggests that listeners are s  tance, but to herarchcal rela  Dbben 1994. Evdence has betwenthe perceptionof e  tionof tenionrelaxations Lerdah, 1996 Krumanl, perceive events wthna tonal andthat the relative stab  proongational structure  1. Henceforth referred to as GTTM. This content downloaded from on Tue, 30 Jul 2019 18:42:59 UTCAll use subject to   Perception of Structural Stability in Atonal Music 267  Fig. 1. The form of the generative theory of tonal music (Lerdahl & Jackendoff, 1983).  A similar model has been suggested with regard to the perception of  atonal music (Lerdahl, 1989). According to this model, the perception of  atonal music is based on a similar process in which the stability conditions  of the tonal hierarchy are replaced with those of an atonal pitch space that is inherently less hierarchically organized. The form of the theory is shown in Figure 2.  In tonal music, stability conditions overcome the effect of salience such  that, for example, an appoggiatura is still heard as resolving to the tonally  more stable pitch event even though the suspension may be louder, in a  higher register, and in a stronger metrical position. Lerdahl suggests that  although, as a general principle, some form of atonal stability conditions  may operate in atonal pieces, stability conditions are far less important than salience conditions. Hence, Lerdahl (1989, pp. 73-74) suggests that  listeners infer an event hierarchy based on the relative salience of events: an event is deemed to have greater structural importance if it is  a. attacked within the region (i.e., within the time span) [3]2  b. in a relatively strong metrical position [1]  c. relatively loud [2]  d. relatively prominent timbrally [2]  e. in an extreme registral position [3]  f. relatively dense [2] g. relatively long in duration [2] h. relatively important motivically [2]  i. next to a relatively large grouping boundary [2]  j. parallel to a choice made elsewhere in the analysis [3]  2. The number in brackets to the side of each salience condition indicates the condition's  strength relative to the other conditions. For example, if one event in the time span is loud while another is in a strong metrical position, the theory predicts that the loud event will be preferred as the head of the time span. This content downloaded from on Tue, 30 Jul 2019 18:42:59 UTCAll use subject to
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