In tone languages, alteration of lexical tone changes the intended meaning. This implies that composers should equally match lexical tone in their music for intelligible communication of the intended textual messages, a compositional approach termed Lexical Tone Determinants (LTD) in this study. Yet, in the Ìgbò language setting, some composers creatively disregard/mismatch lexical tone, which is branded as Musical/Creative Determinants (M/CD). It is believed that mismatched lexical tone in Ìgbò music alters listeners’ comprehension of the intended messages; on the other hand, it is argued that thorough match of lexical tone constrains musical creativity. Listeners’ perception of textual messages in LTD and M/CD music has not been empirically tested (side-by-side) to verify whether comprehension is lost or not, at least, in the Ìgbò language context. This empirical void gap is verified in this particular study to substantiate the propositions/findings using comparative measures to collect data through listeners’ perception in live-performance of newly composed LTD and M/CD pieces. Specifically, it examines whether mismatched lexical tone in Ìgbò music alters message comprehension or not. The data were collated, presented, and analyzed statistically with chi-square deployed to evaluate their difference in message comprehension.

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