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Fwd: Re: The Bach Choral Dilemma

Title: Fwd: Re: The Bach Choral Dilemma
Date: Thu, 30 Jan 2003 17:50:27 -0500
From: Eliot Handelman <eliot@generation.net>
X-Accept-Language: en
To: Piet Vos <vos@NICI.KUN.NL>
Subject: Re: The Bach Choral Dilemma

Piet Vos wrote:

> A nice
> and unfortunately rather underexposed form of the ambiguity in
> question concerns the so called overlap phenomenon. It refers to the
> fact that a certain tone,more precisely interval, (chord, or chord constituent) functions both
> as the END of a phrase / theme / motive, and simultaneously as the
> BEGINNING of the next phrase etc.

Another extremely simple example of non-hierarchical structure in music
is the modulation (ie, change of key). A common way to do this is
to go through a zone which is interpretable in both keys (the so-called
"pivot"). A smooth modulation is one where the "pivot" acquires its
as pivot only by reinterpretation, after it's been heard. So there are
in this case two listening processes at work -- one anticipatory (ie,
the sense we will persist in this key) and another retro-interpretative,
each with its own dynamic segmentation or parsing. The interplay of
two processes is (if I may just say so apodictically) clearly part of
music is all about.

You are right with your modulation example as another ubiquitously present manifestation of nonhierarchical structure in (Western tonal) music. Modulation is a "piece de resistance" for key-finding models: at one hand, such a model has to be stable in face of "pseudomodulations" like chromaticisms and on the other, it should be sensitive to true modulations. The Vos & van Geenen (1996) Parallel processing Key-finding model (PPM) proved rather succesful in dealing with the tonal interpretation dilemma in question.
Piet G. Vos
section Perception NICI, U. Nijmegen
P.O.Box 9104
6500 HE Nijmegen NL
tel: +31 24 36126 31/20; fax: +31 24 361 60 66; vos@nici.kun.nl
home-page: http://www.nici.kun.nl/~vos

et altissimus humilissimum facere debet