This article documents the use of pitch circularity and Shepard tones in Western art music, 1550–1990. My thesis is that composers have come to exploit the perceptual as well as musical aspects of pitch circularity. Jean-Claude Risset, whose orchestral work, Phases, I analyze in some detail, has been especially successful in both aspects. Additionally, I posit a theory correlating the presence or absence of pitch circularity in music with the aesthetic of formal closure.
Skip Nav Destination
Research Article| April 01 1995
Ira Braus; Retracing One's Steps: An Overview of Pitch Circularity and Shepard Tones in European Music, 1550–1990. Music Perception 1 April 1995; 12 (3): 323–351. doi: https://doi.org/10.2307/40286187
Download citation file: