There is an important distinction to be drawn in the way different kinds of motivic relationships are perceived. Some relationships are detected quickly and automatically; other kinds are detected (if at all) only slowly and deliberately. There is a phenomenological difference here as well. These differences are nicely accounted for by Jerry Fodor's theory of modularity. It is argued that certain relationships are perceived in a "modular" fashion, and others are not. It is hypothesized that the relationships perceived in a modular way are those between segments that are (a) related by tonal transposition and (b) parallel relative to the metrical structure. This view accounts for the differences between perception of different kinds of relationships and also sheds light on metrical structure in general, the "rehearing" problem, and the issue of "mandatoriness" in musical perception.


Schoenberg (1950)
Reti (1951)
Epstein (1980)
Frisch (1984);
Tovey (1939)
Rosen (1971)
Monelle (1992)
Explaining Music (1973)
A Generative Theory of Tonal Music (1983), pp. 16-17 and 286-287.
Dowling and Harwood (1986), pp. 130-144.
Krumhansl, Sandell, and Sergeant (1987), pp. 51-52.
Meyer (1967), pp. 266-293
Browne (1974), pp. 395-401
Schoenberg (1950, pp. 107-114)
Morris (1987), pp. 233-237,299.
Paul Churchland, Scientific Realism and the Plasticity of Mind (1979)
Churchland's article "Perceptual Plasticity and Theoretical Neutrality: A Reply to Jerry Fodor," in the collection A Neurocomputational Perspective (1989)
Fodor's articles "Observation Reconsidered" and "A Reply to Churchland" in the collection A Theory of Content and Other Essays (1990).
The Modularity of Mind, pp. 94-97;
"A Reply to Churchland," p. 259.
Modularity in Knowledge Representation and Natural-Language Understand- ing (Garfield, 1987)
Jackendoff 's article "Musical Processing and Musical Affect" (1991).
Garman, 1990, pp. 185-191
Morris (1993).
Lerdahl and Jackendoff (1983), pp. 68-74.
Churchland's comments are found in "Perceptual Plasticity and Theoretical Neutral- ity: A Reply to Jerry Fodor," p. 260.
Fodor's response is in "A Reply to Churchland," pp. 255-257.
Emotion and Meaning in Music (1956), pp. 83-91
Explaining Music (1973), pp. 3-5.


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