Musicians can choose between various “historicist” or “presentist” ways of performing works from the past. Music scholars who study early music sometimes are forced to make similar choices. If one thinks of corpus studies in music as an objective form of counting the “elements of music,” the question of what constitutes an “element” can involve similar historicist/presentist dilemmas. The article examines three historically significant characteristics of European art music—three historicist features—that are not always recognized in presentist corpus studies. For an illustrative example, a comparison is made between how the cadenza doppia in a Bach toccata for organ might be represented in a corpus study as either a two-voice framework or a series of Roman numerals in the tradition of Allen McHose (1947). Because that type of cadence was a commonplace in Bach’s time and in Bach’s compositions, a corpus analysis should be able to detect its multiple occurrences as a core element of the music.
In addition to preserving a record of tones, chords, intervals, and other musical features, the historical text known as Mozart's Keyboard Sonata in Et Major, K. 282 (189g), also preserves traces of complex musical behaviors that were developed and replicated within eighteenth-century court society. The article focuses on several musical behaviors that would have been obvious to courtiers in Mozart's time and relates his presentation of them in K. 282 to courtly norms.
A great deal of the motion perceived in music is apparent rather than real. On the piano, for example, no continuous movement in frequency occurs between two sequentially sounded tones. Though a listener may perceive a movement from the first tone to the second, each tone merely begins and ends at its stationary position on the frequency continuum. Recent advances in the modeling of apparent- motion effects in vision provide a starting point for the modeling of the strong apparent- motion effects in music. An adaptation of the Grossberg- Rudd model of apparent motion in vision, when given input representing the strengths of pitch sensations positioned along a one- dimensional frequency continuum, can simulate important musical phenomena of auditory stream segregation, van Noorden's melodic- fission/ temporal- coherence boundaries, various Gestalt effects, aspects of dynamic attending, and Narmour's predicted categorical distinction between musical intervals implying a continuation and those implying a reversal of direction.
If one hypothesizes rhythmic perception as a process employing oscillatory circuits in the brain that entrain to low-frequency periodicities in the neural firings evoked by an acoustic signal, then among the conceptually purest probes of those oscillatory circuits would be acoustic signals with only simple sinusoidal periodicities in the appropriate frequency range (perhaps from 0.3 Hz to 20 Hz). Such signals can be produced by the low- frequency amplitude modulation of an audible carrier wave by one or more sinusoids. The resulting rhythms are "smooth" in that their amplitude envelopes are smoothly varying with no obvious points of onset or offset. Because preliminary experiments with smooth rhythms have produced some unexpected results, and because smooth rhythms can be precisely controlled and varied (including, for example, the digital filtering of their Fourier components in the frequency domain), they are proposed as versatile stimuli for studies in rhythmic perception.
Simulations of self-organizing neuronlike networks are used to demonstrate how untrained listeners might be able to sort their perceptions of dozens of diverse musical features into stable, meaningful schemata. A presentation is first made of the salient characteristics of such networks, especially the adaptive- resonance-theory (ART) networks proposed by Stephen Grossberg. Then a discussion follows of how a computer simulation of a four-level ART network—a simulation dubbed L'ART pour l'art—independently categorized musical events in Mozart's six earliest compositions. The ability of the network to abstract significant voiceleading combinations from these pieces (and in fact to detect a possible error in the New Mozart Edition) suggests that this approach holds promise for the study of how ordinary listeners process music's multidimensional complexity. In addition, the categorizations produced by the network are suggestive of alternative conceptualizations of music's hierarchical structure.
The early hopes for the Seeger melograph, a device for recording the pitch and intensity of vocal performances, have not been realized because musicologists found the graphic traces of pitch and intensity too difficult to interpret. In this article, proposals are advanced for redesigning the melograph to provide researchers with more symbolically meaningful information. This involves abandoning the notion of fully separable parameters, relaxing the constraint that representations be culturally neutral, and developing ways to represent musical motion qua motion. The discussion is illustrated with redesigned melograms drawn from analyses of a particularly florid excerpt of South- Indian singing. Comparisons between the performances of a South-Indian singer and the performances of two of her students suggest ways in which cultural conditioning can affect vocal performance.