ASA 125th Meeting Ottawa 1993 May

4aMU1. Auditory organization in music: Let the (defunct) composer speak.

Pierre L.Divenyi

Speech and Hear. Res., V.A. Med. Ctr., Martinez, CA 94553

Auditory organization of music as the stimulus must reflect to a large degree the organization and the structure of ``musical building blocks''---elements consisting of notes and simultaneous clusters of notes, as well as patterns built from successive elements---intended by the composer. One aspect of this organization is the internal cohesion of successive elements, i.e., the formation of a melodic structure or an auditory stream [A. S. Bregmann, Auditory Scene Analysis (MIT, Cambridge, 1991)]. Experimental and theoretical foundations of auditory stream cohesion and stream segregation, developed during the last two decades, make it possible to derive rules that are both solidly anchored in psychoacoustic reality and that, at the same time, are well-integrable with music theory (see the following paper by David Huron in this session). However, much can be learned from observing musical compositions to see how the composer makes the elements come together to form melodic entities, or to break up into separately audible voices (streams). While, for the most part, compositional practice confirms predications of psychoacoustic-auditory stream theory, not infrequently, the results are contrary to expectations and, sometimes, to common sense. Excerpts from pieces throughout Western music history will be shown and demonstrated in an effort to illustrate usual as well as unusual examples of melodic organization. [Work supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Veterans Affairs.]