[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Minor third

Dear List,

Jeremy Day-O'Connell wrote (via Pierre Divenyi):
"My own hypothesis is that the minor third represents a compromise between
two opposite tendencies, one vocal, one perceptual: 1) the _smaller_ the
interval, the easier to produce a consistent vocal tone on the two notes;
2) the _larger_ the interval, the easier the task of melodic "scene
analysis" in noisy real-world situations."

Regarding the second point, I would imagine that the opposite would be
true:  the larger the interval, the more difficult it would be to track the
sequence in a noisy real-world situation.  Small intervals favor coherence;
in an A-B sequence, the larger the interval between A and B (i.e., the
smaller the similarity between them), the greater  the likelihood that one
of the sounds (A or B) will find a more similar sound to group with than
the other sound of the A-B sequence.

This means that BOTH the vocal ease and the perceptual coherence would
favor small intervals.


Albert S. Bregman,
Emeritus Professor
Psychology Dept., McGill University
1205 Docteur Penfield Avenue
Montreal, Quebec
Canada  H3A 1B1

     Voice: +1 (514) 398-6103
     Fax:     +1 (514) 398-4896