Melody Perception

Melody consists of a sequence of pitches organized in time. In a melody, it is the pattern of relationships among the pitches that is important, and not the absolute pitch levels. That is, we can pick any pitch on the piano, and if we play a succession of pitches that goes up two semitones, up two semitones, down four semitones, and so on, we will have “Frère Jacques.” (To go up one semitone on the piano keyboard, just move one key to the right, including both black and white keys.) We could write the pitch pattern of “Frère Jacques” [+2 +2 −4 0 +2 +2 −4 +4 +1 +2 −3 +1 +2]. The zero indicates where we repeat a pitch. We could start anywhere on ...

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