Pitch Frames as Melodic Archetypes

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Empirical Musicology Review

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In our history we have recognized scales of some variety as keystones to music’s pitch structure. And yet, empirical studies of perception and archeological appraisals of human evolution confirm an unchanging cognitive/perceptual ground for the musical experience; they render the ragas and modes and tonoi and scales of the past to be understood only as "local" explanations for things better understood by the space/time kinetics of limited elements rather than by frozen note paradigms. This paper concludes that an empirical study of music from a broad variety of times and cultures argues for a more elemental basis: thus coinage of the tonality frame. This conceptualization reunites harmonic nucleus with temporal span, meshing as well with ancient and exotic conceptualizations of hierarchical patterning.



perception, melody, melodic, harmony, tonality, form, structure


Empirical Musicology Review, v1 n2 (April 2006), 85-102