The Analysis and Cognition of Basic Melodic Structures

Eugene Narmour

The Analysis and Cognition of Basic Melodic Structures
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Eugene Narmour

443 pages | © 1990
Cloth $105.00 ISBN: 9780226568454 Published December 1990
Eugene Narmour formulates a comprehensive theory of melodic syntax to explain cognitive relations between melodic tones at their most basic level. Expanding on the theories of Leonard B. Meyer, the author develops one parsimonious, scaled set of rules modeling implication and realization in all the primary parameters of music. Through an elaborate and original analytic symbology, he shows that a kind of "genetic code" governs the perception and cognition of melody. One is an automatic, "brute" system operating on stylistic primitives from the bottom up. The other constitutes a learned system of schemata impinging on style structures from the top down.

The theoretical constants Narmour uses are context-free and, therefore, applicable to all styles of melody. He places considerable emphasis on the listener's cognitive performance (that is, fundamental melodic perception as opposed to acquired musical competence). He concentrates almost exclusively on low-level, note-to-note relations. The result is a highly generalized theory useful in researching all manner of psychological and music-theoretic problems concerned with the analysis and cognition of melody.

"In this innovative, landmark book, a distinguished music theorist draws extensively from a variety of disciplines, in particular from cognitive psychology and music theory, to develop an elegant and persuasive framework for the understanding of melody. This book should be read by all scholars with a serious interest in music."—Diana Deutsch, Editor, Music Perception
Part 1 - Conceptual Background
1. Introduction
2. The Problem of Style as a Perceptual Constant in a Theory of Melodic Implication
3. Incorporating Style in a Theory of Implication
4. Rejuvenating Gestalt Principles
5. Registral Direction, Intervallic Motion, and Pitch Specificity
Part 2 - Some Basic Structures
List of Most Common Symbols
6. Processive [P] and Duplicative [D] Structures
7. Denial of Registral and Intervallic Implication in Intervals of Continuation
8. Implication of Complete Reversal [R]
9. Intervallic Reversal [IR]: Denial of Registral Implication
10. Denial of Both Intervallic Motion and Registral Direction in Reversal Implication
11. The Criteria for Invoking Metric Differentiation (b) as a Structural Influence on Additive Melodic Patterns
12. Style Interference (ox, xs) Amplified: Gap Filling and Interval Filling as Style Structures
13. The Octave as Registral Transfer [8] and Retrospective Reversal [(R)]; More on Style-Structural Influence (os, xs)
14. Retrospective Reversal [(R)], Retrospective Intervallic Reversal [(1R)], Retrospective Process [(P)], and Retrospective Duplication [(D)]
Part 3 - Theoretical Background
15. The Intervallic (I) and Registral (V) Parametric Scales of Melody
16. The Scaled Materials of the Parameter of Melody
17. Motion on the Melodic Parametric Scales
18. Some Differences Among Various Parametric Scales
19. Style Learning and the Diversity of Scale Slotting
Part 4 - The Remaining Basic Structures
20. Registral Process [VP] and Registral Reversal [VR]
21. Intervallic Process [IP] and Intervallic Duplication [ID]
22. Exact and Near Registral Return [aba, aba1]
23. Dyadic and Monadic [M] Melodic Structures
Part 5 - Conclusion
24. Some Suggested Experimental Topics
Appendix 1: The General Hypothetical Theoretical Rules
Appendix 2: Glossary of Symbols
Index of Musical Examples
General Index
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