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September 2021

Rhythm and pitch in music cognition

Journal/Book: Psychol Bull. 2000; 126: 159-79.

Abstract: Rhythm and pitch are the 2 primary dimensions of music. They are interesting psychologically because simple, well-defined units combine to form highly complex and varied patterns. This article brings together the major developments in research on how these dimensions are perceived and remembered, beginning with psychophysical results on time and pitch perception. Progressively larger units are considered, moving from basic psychological categories of temporal and frequency ratios, to pulse and scale, to metrical and tonal hierarchies, to the formation of musical rhythms and melodies, and finally to the cognitive representation of large-scale musical form. Interactions between the dimensions are considered, and major theoretical proposals are described. The article identifies various links between musical structure and perceptual and cognitive processes, suggesting psychological influences on how sounds are patterned in music.

Keyword(s): Auditory Perception. Cognition. Human. Models, Psychological. Music/psychology. Periodicity. Psychoacoustics


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