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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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Ear Teasers

Ear Teasers

(p.195) 16 Ear Teasers
Voice Leading

David Huron

The MIT Press

This chapter addresses the “what for” question regarding voice leading. Experiments show that listeners perceive adding streams to a texture as pleasurable. At the same time, increasing the textural density makes it more difficult for listeners to parse an acoustic scene. This chapter suggests that the brain rewards itself for successfully parsing scenes and that the evoked pleasure is proportional to the scene’s complexity. Inspired by the concept of the brain teaser, this phenomenon is dubbed ear teasing. In addition to explaining why passages constructed according to voice-leading principles would be heard as sounding better, ear teasing also provides a plausible explanation of the preference for reverberant musical sounds (in contrast to speech) and stereo reproduction (in contrast to mono).

Keywords:   music perception, music cognition, voice leading, part writing, pleasure, ear teaser, ear teasing, reverberation, Africa, stereo

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