A perceptual study investigated the ability of scale degrees to evoke qualia, and the impact of harmonic context in shaping a scale degree’s qualia. In addition, the following questions were addressed: What role does music training have in shaping qualia? Are listeners consistent in their descriptions? Are experiences similar across participants, or are they individual and subjective? Listeners with or without music-theoretic training were asked to rate the qualia of scale degrees following various chord progressions, each ending with a different final harmony. Scale degrees were found to exhibit relatively consistent musical qualia; however, the local chord context was found to significantly influence qualia ratings. In general, both groups of listeners were found to be fairly consistent in their ratings of scale-degree qualia; however, as expected, musician listeners were more consistent than nonmusician listeners. Finally, a subset of the musical qualia ratings were compared against Krumhansl and Kessler’s (1982) scale-degree “profiles.” While profiles created from the present data, overall, were correlated with the K&K profiles, their claim that tonal stability accounts for the high ratings ascribed to tonic triad members was found to be better explained by the effect of the local chord context.
Research Article| February 01 2018
A Perceptual Study of Scale-degree Qualia in Context
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Claire Arthur; A Perceptual Study of Scale-degree Qualia in Context. Music Perception 1 February 2018; 35 (3): 295–314. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/mp.2018.35.3.295
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