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Voice LeadingThe Science Behind a Musical Art$
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David. Huron

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262034852

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262034852.001.0001

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Auditory Masking

Auditory Masking

Chapter:
(p.41) 5 Auditory Masking
Source:
Voice Leading
Author(s):

David Huron

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262034852.003.0005

Auditory masking is described—the phenomenon by which sounds interfere with each other. A key concept is the notion of the critical band. Because masking reduces the effectiveness of the auditory system, it also tends to lead to auditory irritation or annoyance. Masking helps explain three musical practices. First, it explains why chords tend to be spaced with wider intervals in the bass region. Second, due to sensory dissonance, it provides one account of why some harmonic intervals are favored over others. Third, it explains the high-voice superiority effect—suggesting why musicians in nearly every culture tend to place the main melody in the highest voice.

Keywords:   music perception, voice leading, part writing, auditory masking, masking, critical band, high-voice superiority effect, melody, bass, soprano

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