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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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Connecting the Dots

Connecting the Dots

Chapter:
(p.63) 6 Connecting the Dots
Source:
Voice Leading
Author(s):

David Huron

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262034852.003.0006

This chapter considers how successive pitches can give rise to a sense of line. Three key concepts are described: acoustic continuity, pitch proximity, and pitch comodulation. Both pitch distance and tempo are shown to influence whether successive tones tend to be heard as a single stream. We always hear one stream when the amount of pitch change is small (within the trill boundary). We always hear two streams (beyond the yodel boundary) when a pitch/time trajectory violates Fitts’s law—a law of how things move. The sense of connectedness in a musical line is shown to share a close kinship with the perception of movement in vision, and how bodies actually move.

Keywords:   music, music perception, music cognition, voice leading, part writing, proximity, continuity, comodulation, Fitts law, line

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