SourcePerception and Psychophysics, 64, 4, (2002), pp. 631-639
Article / Letter to editor
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Perception and Psychophysics
The purpose of the present study was to map the suitability of melodic intervals for opening and closing a melody. Listeners (n = 13), belonging to two groups with different levels of expertise, rated the 25 within-octave intervals (unison plus the 12 nonunison intervals in ascending and in descending directions), for their suitability as openings; another, similarly subdivided group of listeners (n = 12) rated the intervals as candidates for closure. Both data sets were modeled by means of multiple regression. For openings, a three-factorial model (intervallic size, direction, and implicit harmony) provided a satisfactory description of the data; for closures, an extra factor (intervallic gravity) had to be added to the model. Differences involving level of expertise were established-notably, the importance of harmony for the experts, which played only a subordinate role in the responses of the nonexperts. The two sets of data were contrasted with those of closely related perceptual studies of openings and closures. In addition, the findings were discussed in relation to their contribution to insight into overlapping, a syntactical construction in which tones serve the double function of closing a musical phrase and opening the next one.
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