A Generative Theory of Tonal Music

MIT Press, 3 jun. 1996 - 384 páginas

A search for a grammar of music with the aid of generative linguistics.

This work, which has become a classic in music theory since its original publication in 1983, models music understanding from the perspective of cognitive science.The point of departure is a search for the grammar of music with the aid of generative linguistics.The theory, which is illustrated with numerous examples from Western classical music, relates the aural surface of a piece to the musical structure unconsciously inferred by the experienced listener. From the viewpoint of traditional music theory, it offers many innovations in notation as well as in the substance of rhythmic and reductional theory.


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El libro es muy interesante que es una guia muy buena para los análisis estructurales de obras musicales, enfocando en los elementos básicos del desarrollo interpretativo musical.

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A very important book in the world of music cognition. Leer reseña completa


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Página 293 - I have endeavoured to shew that the construction of scales and of harmonic tissue is a product of artistic invention, and by no means furnished by the natural formation or natural function of our ear, as it has been hitherto most generally asserted.
Página 17 - By phenomenal accent we mean any event at the musical surface that gives emphasis or stress to a moment in the musical flow.
Página 8 - As an initial overview we may say that grouping structure expresses a hierarchical segmentation of the piece into motives, phrases and sections. Metrical structure expresses the intuition that the events of the piece are related to a regular alternation of strong and weak beats at a number of hierarchical levels. Time-span reduction assigns to the pitches of the piece a hierarchy of 'structural importance' with respect to their position in grouping and metrical structure.
Página 44 - And they placed them on the heavenly tablets, each had thirteen weeks; from one to another (passed) their memorial, from the first to the second, and from the second to the third, and from the third to the fourth.
Página 3 - In our view a theory of a musical idiom should characterize such organization in terms of an explicit formal musical grammar that models the listener's connection between the presented musical surface of a piece and the structure he attributes to the piece.
Página 37 - GWFR 1 Any contiguous sequence of pitch-events, drum beats, or the like can constitute a group, and only contiguous sequences can constitute a group.
Página 3 - experienced listener" is meant as an idealization. Rarely do two people hear a given piece in precisely the same way or with the same degree of richness. Nonetheless, there is normally considerable agreement on what are the most natural ways to hear a piece. A theory of a musical idiom should be concerned above all with those musical judgments for which there is substantial interpersonal agreement. But it also should characterize situations in which there are alternative interpretations, and it should...
Página 18 - In sum, the listener's cognitive task is to match the given pattern of phenomenal accentuation as closely as possible to a permissible pattern of metrical accentuation; where the two patterns diverge, the result is syncopation, ambiguity, or some other kind of rhythmic complexity.
Página 4 - ... that privileged being whom the great composers and theorists presumably aspire to address. It is useful to make a second idealization about the listener's intuition. Instead of describing the listener's real-time mental processes, we will be concerned only with the final state of his understanding. In our view it would be fruitless to theorize about mental processing before understanding the organization to which the processing leads.
Página 13 - If confronted with a series of elements or a sequence of events, a person spontaneously segments or 'chunks' the elements or events into groups of some kind. The ease or difficulty with which he performs this operation depends on how well the intrinsic organization of the input matches his internal, unconscious principles for constructing groupings.

Sobre el autor (1996)

Frd Lerdahl is Fritz Reiner Professor of Musical Composition at Columbia University.

Ray Jackendoff is Seth Merrin Professor of Philosophy and Codirector of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. He is the author of many books, including Foundations of Language.

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