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The Cognitive Neuroscience of Music$
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Isabelle Peretz and Robert J. Zatorre

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198525202

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198525202.001.0001

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The Roots of Musical Variation in Perceptual Similarity and Invariance

The Roots of Musical Variation in Perceptual Similarity and Invariance

(p.78) (p.79) Chapter 6 The Roots of Musical Variation in Perceptual Similarity and Invariance
The Cognitive Neuroscience of Music

Stephen McAdams

Daniel Matzkin

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses in a general way the notions of musical material, musical variation, perceptual similarity, and perceptual invariance, and then what these all suggest for the development of the notion of form-bearing dimensions in music as originally proposed in McAdams. Subsequently, preliminary experiments on musical similarity that have been conducted are reviewed. In this work, pitch and duration variations are studied for both tonal/metric and nontonal/nonmetric musical systems. A number of theoretical issues are finally developed in the hopes of stimulating and orienting further work in this area, notably concerning: the nature of the representation of musical materials and transformation processes, modularity and dimensional interactions within the realm of music cognition, parallelism and associative structures in music, and the notion of musical development and musical process. From the data, it is clear that the space of possible variation of thematic material that still maintains a link of perceptual similarity to the original is limited.

Keywords:   musical material, musical variation, perceptual similarity, perceptual invariance, form-bearing dimensions, musical similarity, pitch, duration

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