Perception of musical structure

What characteristics of a melody help it make “sense” as we listen to it and help us remember it later? Various projects have explored the way in which serial trajectories formed by melodic (pitch-related) and/or rhythmic (time-related) change in a melody provide for the listener a higher-order time frame (e.g. meter) that guides melodic processing. The core hypothesis of this work is that melodies are more easily perceived, attended to, and, as a result, remembered when this higher order structure is temporally stable and matches time-based expectancies in the listener.

Theoretical goals of this research include a better understanding of the role of stimulus structure in perception and cognition, contributions of dynamic (pattern-related) and schematic (memory-related) structures to music listening, and comparisons between the perception of pitch and time in the context of musical patterns.

Applied goals include a better understanding of what compositional techniques may yield more or less memorable melodies, and components of similarity in music.