Key distance is a theoretical measure of the relatedness of two musical keys. Key-distance effects in melody recognition denote that perception of a transposed melody depends on the key distance between the keys of the original and transposed melodies. Although key-distance effects in melody recognition are often cited in support of the psychological reality of key distance, a reexamination of studies reporting the keydistance effect and the results of three new experiments suggest that key-distance effects are not robust, if they exist at all. However, our experiments do indicate that perception of melodies is influenced by the context within which the melodies are presented. These context effects operate at both local and large- scale levels.

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