Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 19 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The present chapter deals with tonal cognition, and more precisely with tonal hierarchies and how tonal hierarchies influence music perception in Western music. The 12 chromatic tones, on which Western tonal music is based, are organized in subsets of seven tones that define musical keys. Within a given key, some tones and chords are structurally more important than others, resulting in intra-key hierarchies. Inter-key distances also rely on tonal hierarchies. Keys are not only related because they share several tones, but also because hierarchically important tones in one key continue to be of importance in others. Two major models of tonal hierarchies are detailed: the Tonal Pitch Space Theory developed by Lerdahl and the MUSACT connectionist model proposed by Bharucha. Finally, a number of studies, showing how tonal hierarchies influence several aspects of music perception, are reviewed.

Keywords: tonal hierarchy, tones, chords, musical keys, music perception

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.