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When the Leading Tone Doesn't Lead: Musical Qualia in Context
Arthur, Claire

2016, Doctor of Philosophy, Ohio State University, Music.
An empirical investigation is made of musical qualia in context. Specifically, scale-degree qualia are evaluated in relation to a local harmonic context, and rhythm qualia are evaluated in relation to a metrical context. After reviewing some of the philosophical background on qualia, and briefly reviewing some theories of musical qualia, three studies are presented. The first builds on Huron's (2006) theory of statistical or implicit learning and melodic probability as significant contributors to musical qualia. Prior statistical models of melodic expectation have focused on the distribution of pitches in melodies, or on their first-order likelihoods as predictors of melodic continuation. Since most Western music is non-monophonic, this first study investigates whether melodic probabilities are altered when the underlying harmonic accompaniment is taken into consideration. This project was carried out by building and analyzing a corpus of classical music containing harmonic analyses. Analysis of the data found that harmony was a significant predictor of scale-degree continuation.

In addition, two experiments were carried out to test the perceptual effects of context on musical qualia. In the first experiment participants rated the perceived qualia of individual scale-degrees following various common four-chord progressions that each ended with a different harmony. While scale-degrees were still shown to elicit relatively stable qualia, there was a significant effect for the role of the local chord context. Importantly, this experiment was carried out using participants both with and without music-theoretic training, supporting the notion that the identification of scale-degrees was not responsible for the evoked qualia. This experiment also partially replicated a component of Krumhansl and Kessler's (1982) study examining the "goodness of fit" of scale-degrees within a key. However, the authors' claim that scale-degrees 1, 3, and 5 were best "fitting" due to the tonal stability of the tonic triad could not be fully supported here. In fact, the results from the present study found that the "goodness of fit" effect could perhaps be better explained by other factors.

In the second experiment participants rated the perceived qualia of either composed inter-onset patterns or recorded song clips presented in different metrical contexts. Both inter-onset interval pattern and meter were shown to be significant influences on judgments of qualia. In addition, syncopation was found to be a strong predictor for certain components of qualia.

The overall results from these studies show that musical context is an important contributor to musical qualia, and therefore, while isolated musical events may still be capable of creating relatively "stable'" qualia, in real musical contexts these may change dramatically.
David Huron (Advisor)
David Clampitt (Committee Member)
Anna Gawboy (Committee Member)
165 p.

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Arthur, C. (2016). When the Leading Tone Doesn't Lead: Musical Qualia in Context. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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Arthur, Claire. "When the Leading Tone Doesn't Lead: Musical Qualia in Context." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2016. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 21 Jul 2017.

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Arthur, Claire "When the Leading Tone Doesn't Lead: Musical Qualia in Context." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2016. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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