Pitch Relations and the Formation of Scalar Structure


The experimental study of the perception of pitch structure in music requires the use of a framework that is not necessarily tied to a particular musical culture or period. This article describes three sets of experiments in which rules governing the production of musical sequences are formally defined in terms of a closed system, the “circle of fifths.” Experimental results indicate that important aspects of musical judgment are well accounted for by logical consequences of such formal definition, without the necessity of invoking either simplicity of frequency ratios or musical “well-formedness”. © 1985, The Regents of the University of California.