A model of melodic expectation

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97 Scopus citations


A model of melodic expectation is proposed. The model assigns ratings to the expectedness of melodic events. The ratings depend on the hierarchic implementation of three primary factors - stability, proximity, and direction - and one secondary factor-mobility. The model explicitly links expectancy ratings to aspects of listeners' experiences of tension in melody. An approach to temporal expectations is discussed but not quantified. The model is situated within a framework for thinking about a type of schematic melodic expectations. This article assesses the position of these expectations within the broader cognitive processes invoked in listening to music. It suggests methods for investigating the expectations empirically. Additionally, it outlines connections between the theorized expectations and the dynamic, affective contours of musical experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)663-714
Number of pages52
JournalMusic Perception
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Music


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