A Generative Theory of Tonal Music by Fred Lerdahl

By Fred Lerdahl

This paintings, which has develop into a vintage in track idea seeing that its booklet in 1983, versions tune knowing from the point of view of cognitive technological know-how. the purpose of departure is a look for a grammar of song by way of generative linguistics. the speculation, that's illustrated with quite a few examples from Western classical tune, relates the aural floor of a bit to the musical constitution unconsciously inferred through the skilled listener. From the perspective of conventional track idea, it bargains many inventions in notation in addition to within the substance of rhythmic and reductional conception.

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These cases require special treatment. For now we merely acknowledge their existence and notate them as at i where appropriate. 4. 3. The beginning of the scherzo of Beethoven's Sonata op. 2, no. 3a) shows a typical, regular kind of grouping structure in classical music: a 4-bar antecedent phrase is balanced by a 4-bar consequent phrase; both phrases divide internally into 1 + 1 + 2 bars, and, at the next larger level, into 2 + 2 bars. 3b) is an instance of a less symmetrical, more complex grouping structure: although there are regular 4-bar groups at the smallest level indicated, measures 5 12 group together (because of thematic parallelism) at the next larger level to counterbalance measures 1 4, and to produce at the still next larger level a 12-bar phrase.

The richness of rhythm can then be seen as the product of their interaction. The first rhythmic distinction that must be made is between grouping and meter. When hearing a piece, the listener naturally organizes the sound signals into units such as motives, themes, phrases, periods, theme-groups, sections, and the piece itself. Performers try to breathe (or phrase) between rather than within units. Our generic term for these units is group. At the same time, the listener instinctively infers a regular pattern of strong and weak beats to which he relates the actual musical sounds.

6b, on the other hand, the middle and right circles are seen as grouped together and the left circle is separate. 6 The principle behind this grouping obviously involves relative distance: the circles that are closer together tend to form a visual group. 7b. 7c, no particular grouping intuition emerges. 7 As Wertheimer 1923 observes, similar effects exist in the grouping of musical events. 8. 7. 8e has no particular perceived grouping. These examples make it evident that on a very elementary level the relative intervals of time between attack points of musical events make an important contribution to grouping perception.

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