On the Role of Embellishment Tones in the Perceptual Segregation of Concurrent Musical Parts
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Publisher:Empirical Musicology Review
Citation:Empirical Musicology Review, v2 n4 (October 2007), 123-139
An analysis of 50 chorale harmonizations by J.S. Bach shows that the use of embellishment tones is consistent with several principles known to contribute to the perceptual segregation of auditory streams. The results imply that a major role of embellishment tones may be to enhance the perceptual independence of the individual parts or voices. In addition, it is shown that Bach tends to distribute embellishment tones in alternating voices. This “turn-taking” is consistent with a single-channel model of attention where asynchronous onset cues are used to refresh the presumed auditory image for each voice.
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