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Perception & Psychophysics 1994, 56 (3),301-312 Harmonic, melodic, and frequency height influences in the perception of multivoiced music CAROLINE PALMER and SUSAN HOLLERAN Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio Two experiments addressed the influences of harmonic relations, melody location, and relative frequency height on the perceptual organization of multivoiced music, In Experiment 1, listeners de- tected pitch changes in multivoiced piano music. Harmonically related pitch changes and those in the middle-frequency range were least noticeable. All pitch changes were noticeable in the high-fre- quency voice containing the melody (the most important voice), suggesting that melody can domi- nate harmonic relations. However, the presence of upper partials in the piano timbre used may have accounted for the harmonic effects. Experiment 2 employed pure sine tones, and replicated the ef- fects of Experiment 1. In addition, the influence of the high-frequency melody on the noticeability of harmonically related pitches was lessened by the presence of a second melody. These findings suggest that harmonic, melodic, and relative frequency height relationships among voices interact in the perceptual organization of multivoiced music. Many structural relationships mediate the perception of music in our culture. For instance, the roles of struc- tural factors such as rhythm, pitch contour, and pitch in- tervals in how listeners perceive single-voiced music have been well-documented (e.g., Cuddy, Cohen, & Mew- hort, 1981; Dowling, 1982; Kidd, Boltz, & Jones, 1984; Monahan, Kendall, & Carterette, 1987). Most Western tonal music, however, contains multiple parts or voices that are sounded simultaneously; the perception of mu- sical structure is often more complex in this case, due to interactions that can form among the simultaneous voices. Relatively little work has addressed the structural rela- tionships mediating the perception of multivoiced music. We describe two experiments that investigated the per- ception of multivoiced music with the goal of identify- ing important structural relationships among the simul- taneous voices. Recent attempts to study the perception of simultane- ously sounded musical events have focused on the struc- tural relationships among voices, including harmonic relationships that are explicit or implied among voices (Butler, 1992; Jones, Holleran, & Butler, 1991; Thomp- son, 1993). Harmony refers to the chordal or vertical structure of a musical piece formed by the interval rela- tionships among pitches, as well as the structural princi- This research was supported in part by NIMH Grant IR29-MH45764 to the first author, by NSF Grant SES-9022192, and by a fellowship from the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stan- ford, CA, 1993-1994, to the first author. The authors thank Carolyn Drake, Mari Jones, and two reviewers for comments on an earlier draft, David Butler and Kory Klein for assistance with stimulus materials, and James Klein for help with data collection. Correspondence con- cerning this article should be addressed to C. Palmer, Psychology De- partment, Ohio State University, 1885 Neil Ave., Columbus, OH 43210 (e-mail: [email protected]). pIes that govern their combination (Apel, 1972; Dahl- haus, 1980). Pitches bearing certain frequency ratio re- lationships are said to be of the same chord type and thus are harmonically related. Tests of explicit harmonic re- lationships demonstrate that harmonic contexts influ- ence listeners' goodness-of-fit judgments for pitches following a chordal progression (Krumhansl & Kessler, 1982). Tests of implied harmony, in which listeners re- spond as if certain harmonic events were (simultane- ously) present in a musical piece, reveal that listeners are best at detecting pitch changes that conflict with the im- plied harmonic relationships (Jones et a1.,1991). Finally, performance of multivoiced music also reflects har- monic relationships among voices; pitch-substitution er- rors (in which unintended pitches replace intended ones) are often harmonically related to the intended pitches they replace (Palmer & van de Sande, 1993). These find- ings suggest that harmonic relationships influence lis- teners' perception of multivoiced music, with a perceptual advantage (increased sensitivity) for tones harmonically unrelated to the musical context. Another influence on the perception of multivoiced music is that of the relative frequency heights of multi- ple voices, evidenced in tendencies to respond differen- tially to voices that occur in different relative frequency ranges (DeWitt & Samuel, 1990; Huron, 1989; Platt & Racine, 1990). Several sources of evidence suggest that listeners may have greater sensitivity for the highest- frequency tone among simultaneously presented tones. Experiments using a musical restoration paradigm, in which a single pitch from a chord is replaced with noise and the perception is that of hearing the original chord intact, suggested that listeners were more accurate at de- tecting changes that occurred in the highest-frequency voice (DeWitt & Samuel, 1990). Likewise, listeners' judgments of which chord component tone sounded most 301 Copyright 1994 Psychonomic Society, Inc.

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  • Perception & Psychophysics1994, 56 (3),301-312

    Harmonic, melodic, and frequency heightinfluences in the perception of multivoiced music

    CAROLINE PALMER and SUSANHOLLERANOhio State University, Columbus, Ohio

    Two experiments addressed the influences of harmonic relations, melody location, and relativefrequency height on the perceptual organization of multivoiced music, In Experiment 1, listeners de-tected pitch changes in multivoiced piano music. Harmonically related pitch changes and those inthe middle-frequency range were least noticeable. All pitch changes were noticeable in the high-fre-quency voice containing the melody (the most important voice), suggesting that melody can domi-nate harmonic relations. However, the presence of upper partials in the piano timbre used may haveaccounted for the harmonic effects. Experiment 2 employed pure sine tones, and replicated the ef-fects of Experiment 1. In addition, the influence of the high-frequency melody on the noticeabilityof harmonically related pitches was lessened by the presence of a second melody. These findingssuggest that harmonic, melodic, and relative frequency height relationships among voices interactin the perceptual organization of multivoiced music.

    Many structural relationships mediate the perceptionof music in our culture. For instance, the roles of struc-tural factors such as rhythm, pitch contour, and pitch in-tervals in how listeners perceive single-voiced musichave been well-documented (e.g., Cuddy, Cohen, & Mew-hort, 1981; Dowling, 1982; Kidd, Boltz, & Jones, 1984;Monahan, Kendall, & Carterette, 1987). Most Westerntonal music, however, contains multiple parts or voicesthat are sounded simultaneously; the perception of mu-sical structure is often more complex in this case, due tointeractions that can form among the simultaneous voices.Relatively little work has addressed the structural rela-tionships mediating the perception ofmultivoiced music.We describe two experiments that investigated the per-ception of multi voiced music with the goal of identify-ing important structural relationships among the simul-taneous voices.

    Recent attempts to study the perception of simultane-ously sounded musical events have focused on the struc-tural relationships among voices, including harmonicrelationships that are explicit or implied among voices(Butler, 1992; Jones, Holleran, & Butler, 1991; Thomp-son, 1993). Harmony refers to the chordal or verticalstructure of a musical piece formed by the interval rela-tionships among pitches, as well as the structural princi-

    This research was supported in part by NIMH Grant IR29-MH45764to the first author, by NSF Grant SES-9022192, and by a fellowshipfrom the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stan-ford, CA, 1993-1994, to the first author. The authors thank CarolynDrake, Mari Jones, and two reviewers for comments on an earlier draft,David Butler and Kory Klein for assistance with stimulus materials,and James Klein for help with data collection. Correspondence con-cerning this article should be addressed to C. Palmer, Psychology De-partment, Ohio State University, 1885 Neil Ave., Columbus, OH4321 0 (e-mail: [email protected]).

    pIes that govern their combination (Apel, 1972; Dahl-haus, 1980). Pitches bearing certain frequency ratio re-lationships are said to be ofthe same chord type and thusare harmonically related. Tests of explicit harmonic re-lationships demonstrate that harmonic contexts influ-ence listeners' goodness-of-fit judgments for pitchesfollowing a chordal progression (Krumhansl & Kessler,1982). Tests of implied harmony, in which listeners re-spond as if certain harmonic events were (simultane-ously) present in a musical piece, reveal that listeners arebest at detecting pitch changes that conflict with the im-plied harmonic relationships (Jones et a1., 1991). Finally,performance of multivoiced music also reflects har-monic relationships among voices; pitch-substitution er-rors (in which unintended pitches replace intended ones)are often harmonically related to the intended pitchesthey replace (Palmer & van de Sande, 1993). These find-ings suggest that harmonic relationships influence lis-teners' perception ofmultivoiced music, with a perceptualadvantage (increased sensitivity) for tones harmonicallyunrelated to the musical context.

    Another influence on the perception of multivoicedmusic is that of the relative frequency heights of multi-ple voices, evidenced in tendencies to respond differen-tially to voices that occur in different relative frequencyranges (DeWitt & Samuel, 1990; Huron, 1989; Platt &Racine, 1990). Several sources of evidence suggest thatlisteners may have greater sensitivity for the highest-frequency tone among simultaneously presented tones.Experiments using a musical restoration paradigm, inwhich a single pitch from a chord is replaced with noiseand the perception is that of hearing the original chordintact, suggested that listeners were more accurate at de-tecting changes that occurred in the highest-frequencyvoice (DeWitt & Samuel, 1990). Likewise, listeners'judgments ofwhich chord component tone sounded most

    301 Copyright 1994 Psychonomic Society, Inc.

  • 302 PALMER AND HOLLERAN

    similar to that chord showed preferences for highest-frequency tones (Platt & Racine, 1990). Detection ofvoice entrances in multivoiced music also provided ev-idence that outer voices (those in highest- and lowest-frequency ranges) were detected best and that innervoices were detected worst (Huron, 1989); analyses ofcontrapuntal (multivoiced) musical pieces likewise sug-gested that composers avoid inner-voice entrances(Huron & Fantini, 1989). Study of pitch errors duringpiano performances indicated that fewer errors wereproduced in the highest-frequency voice than in othervoices (Palmer & van de Sande, 1993). These findingssuggest that the relative frequency heights of differentsimultaneous voices may influence listeners' perceptionofmultivoiced music, with a perceptual advantage for thehighest-frequency voice and a disadvantage for middle-frequency voices.

    Relationships among simultaneous musical voicesplay an especially important role during music perfor-mance, in which the melody-the primary or most im-portant voice-is often accentuated over others throughuse of expressive variations. For instance, the melody isoften played louder and sooner than other voices notatedas simultaneous (Palmer, 1989; Rasch, 1979). As ex-pected, listeners' identification of the voice intended asmelody by the performer is aided by these expressivevariations (Palmer, 1988). Study of piano performancesindicated that fewer errors were produced in the voiceinterpreted by performers as melody than in nonmelodicvoices (Palmer & van de Sande, 1993). These findingssuggest that melodic relationships influence the percep-tion of multivoiced music, with a perceptual advantagefor tones in the melodic voice over those in simultane-ous voices.

    Another aspect of multivoiced music that may influ-ence its perception is the compositional structure, or therelationships specified among the various voices by thecomposer. Homophonic and polyphonic compositionsoffer one comparison: Homophonic music typically con-tains one melody, or primary voice, and additional voiceswith similar harmonic or rhythmic properties that pro-vide accompaniment; polyphonic music tends to containmultiple melodies of varying importance with differentrhythmic properties. In polyphonic music, the voicesmay be perceived in alternation, whereas in homophonicmusic, the melody may be perceived as figure and theharmonic accompaniment as background (Wolpert,1990). Related evidence from the perception of voiceentrances indicated that the more polyphonic voices thatwere present, the greater the difficulty listeners had inidentifying voice entrances (Huron, 1989). Also, analy-ses of piano performances indicated that harmonicallyrelated substitution errors were more likely to occur inhomophonic than in polyphonic performances, suggest-ing stronger harmonic relationships between voices inhomophonic music (Palmer & van de Sande, 1993). Thus,the compositional structure may also influence the per-ception of relationships among multiple voices, withstronger harmonic relationships in the homophonic

    structure and stronger melodic relationships in the poly-phonic structure.

    Some of the performance-based findings discussedabove, such as the emphasis given to the melodic voice,may reflect constraints specific to the planning and ex-ecution of performance that may not apply to perception.For instance, melodic emphasis (such as temporal andintensity fluctuations) may be necessary in performanceto indicate the relative importance of voices, which isoften unspecified by the composer; the greater accuracyseen in pianists' reproduction of melodic events may re-sult from such emphasis. However, the perceptualprocesses that apply to melodic and nonmelodic voicesmay not differ. Thus, the previous findings of melodyand high-frequency advantages in music performancemay be specific to performance goals or constraints, andmay not pertain to perception.

    Alternatively, music perception and performance mayrely on the same organizational principles to communi-cate musical ideas among listeners and performers. Ac-cording to a related view, music comprehension requiresa correspondence between the composer's intentions andthe perceiver's mental capabilities (Lerdahl, 1988). Sim-ilarly, influences seen in music performance may reflector parallel constraints on perception of multivoicedmusic. For instance, performance findings such as higheraccuracy for reproducing melodic events (Palmer & vande Sande, 1993) may have a perceptual analogue, suchas higher accuracy in detecting changes in the melodicvoice. The questions arise as to whether different influ-ences interact and whether, when they conflict, one orthe other dominates perceptually. Would melodic influ-ences, for instance, dominate harmonic relatedness,such that harmonically related changes (which are lessoften detected) and unrelated changes (which are moreoften detected) are detected equally often when theyoccur in a melodic voice? We examine these questionsby comparing listeners' sensitivity to harmonic, melodic,and frequency height relationships with findings re-ported in music performance.

    We describe two experiments in which we manipu-lated each of these factors, namely, harmonic, melodic,and relative frequency height relationships amongvoices, in multivoiced music. Listeners were asked todetect pitch changes in three-voice musical pieces, whichincluded homophonic and polyphonic compositionscontaining melodic and nonmelodic voices. In differentcompositions, the location ofthe melody occurred in thehighest or lowest of the three voices. On some trials, asingle pitch was altered in one of the three voices. Thealtered pitch was either harmonically related to the orig-inal pitch (from the same chord) or unrelated, and oc-curred in the voice at the highest-, the middle-, or thelowest-frequency height. The previous findings suggestthat changes harmonically unrelated to the originalpitch, changes occurring in the melody, and changes oc-curring in the highest-frequency voice should be de-tected most easily. We also investigated which influencedominates in cases of conflict-for example, whether a

  • harmonically related change (which may decrease chancesof detection) is perceived more easily when it occurs ina high-frequency voice (which may increase chances ofdetection).

    The use of a pitch-change-detection task resemblesan error-detection task often used with proofreading. Afamiliar paradigm in psychology (Sloboda, 1976; Wolf,1976), the task reflects a tendency for incorrect items tobe overlooked when the errors "fit" well in the context.In a study of music reading, Sloboda (1976) presentedpianists with an unfamiliar musical score that containedalterations of certain pitches in the original score. Be-cause the alterations were "implausible alternatives," pi-anists tended to misplay the alterations as they wereoriginally notated in the score. Although this study mayhave reflected extraperceptual processes (input pro-cesses from sight-reading musical text, as well as outputprocesses from performing two-handed music), the find-ings suggest that performers relied on knowledge ofmu-sical structure to predict what pitches were likely in cer-tain musical contexts. We follow the same logic here,using a pitch-change-detection task to infer what knowl-edge ofmusical structure listeners apply to predict whatpitch relationships are likely in multivoiced music.

    EXPERIMENT 1Pitch-Change Detection With Acoustic Piano Tones

    MethodSubjects. Twelve listeners with moderate musical training were

    recruited from the Ohio State University community (mean age = .24.3 years). They had a mean of 8.8 years ofprivate instruction ontheir primary instrument (range = 3-17 years) and all passed ashort test that demonstrated their knowledge of musical notation,major and minor chord components, and time and key signatures.Some received course credit in an introductory psychology coursefor their participation.

    Stimulus materials. Four musical pieces were composed for theexperiment, and were based on harmonies and rhythms commonin simple keyboard music of the Western common practice era.Each piece contained three voices and approximately the samenumber of chords (9-10) and individual note events (33-36), andeach piece was five measures long and in 2/4 time. Twoof the pieceswere of homophonic compositional structure, while the other twowere polyphonic. They were designed to be similar to those usedin the piano performance study described earlier (Palmer & vande Sande, 1993). The pieces generally followed traditional com-mon practice period principles of part-writing (Piston, 1978), in-cluding patterns of chordal progression and movement among in-dividual voices. The musical pieces were constructed as follows:Twomelodies ofthe same length were composed, one in the high-est-frequency range and one in the lowest-frequency range. Thesemelodies will be referred to as "primary" melodies. A two-voicehomophonic and a two-voice polyphonic accompaniment werethen created for each primary melody (in the lowest- and midd1e-frequency ranges for the high-frequency melody and in the highest-and middle-frequency ranges for the low-frequency melody). Thehomophonic accompaniments consisted of two nonmelodicvoices, providing chordal accompaniment. The polyphonic ac-companiments consisted of one nonmelodic voice (in the middle-frequency range) and a second melodic voice, which is referred toas a "secondary" melody. The secondary melody was constructedto have approximately the same number of note events as the pri-

    PERCEPTION OF MULTIVOICED MUSIC 303

    mary melody it accompanied, as well as the same amount ofvari-ation in pitch and note durations. This yielded a total offour stim-ulus pieces in which melody location was varied so that one of thepieces in each compositional structure contained the primarymelody in the highest-frequency voice, while the other containedit in the lowest-frequency voice. Figure 1 displays one of the ho-mophonic and one of the polyphonic pieces based on the same pri-mary melody.

    Three types of pitch-change variation were created for each ofthe four original pieces: no change, harmonically related, and har-monically unrelated. The no-change variations had no pitchchanges (they were identical to the originals), and formed one-third of the variations. The harmonically related variations con-tained a single pitch change harmonically related to the chord oc-curring at that serial position (i.e., from the root, third, or fifthscale steps in the chord), and formed one-third of the variations.The harmonically unrelated variations contained a single pitchchange that was not the root, third, or fifth of the chord at that se-rial position; all harmonically unrelated changes were chosen fromthe diatonic key ofthe piece, in order to produce a natural-soundingalternative. The following constraints were placed on all pitchchanges: (1) as much as possible, they retained the duration, pitchcontour, and interval size of the context ofthe original pitch (whenthis was not possible, the size of the change was larger in the har-monically related condition than in the unrelated condition); (2)they occurred on chords whose harmonic content was unambigu-ous in the original pieces (those containing the root, third, andfifth scale steps) and approximately equally often on chords thatcontained the root, third (first inversion), or fifth (second inver-sion) in the lowest-frequency voice; (3) they occurred in the sameposition within a measure (the second beat); and (4) they did notcreate repeating pitches, or minor second, augmented fourth, orseventh intervals (which can yield a dissonant sound).'

    The pitch changes occurred equally often at each of the threefrequency heights represented by the three voices (highest, mid-dle, and lowest frequency) and were placed in one of three ran-domly chosen serial positions throughout the piece (in the second,third, or fourth measures of each piece). Thus, nine variationswere created for each of the harmonically related and unrelatedpitch changes, and the chord context surrounding the pitchchanges was identical in homophonic and polyphonic pieces. Nineno-change variations were also included, yielding a total of 27stimuli for each of the four original pieces. Examples ofharmon-ically related and unrelated pitch changes in each of the threevoices are shown in Figure 1.

    Apparatus. All musical stimuli were sounded on an acousticYamaha Disklavier piano controlled by a personal computer, andthe hammer velocities (controlling amplitudes) and interonset du-rations (set to 700 msec per quarter-note) of all note events wereset equal. An acoustic piano timbre was employed in the first ex-periment in order to compare findings with the predictions of thepiano performance studies that implicated the same variablesunder study. The subjects' (listeners') view of the piano keyboardwas blocked to prevent perception of the depressed keys duringplayback.

    Procedure. Each subject was run individually and was seatednext to the piano in front of a computer keyboard, which recordedthe subject's responses. The design of the experiment included alearning phase and a testing phase, adapted from previous studiesusing pitch-detection paradigms (Edworthy, 1985; Smith & Cuddy,1989). Learning and testing trials were blocked by each of the fouroriginal pieces.

    In each learning phase, the subjects (listeners) learned a singlemusical piece during repeated exposure to it. Each learning phasecontained six standard-comparison trials, in which one of the fouroriginal stimuli was used as the standard and some of its 27 pitch-change variations were the comparisons. The listeners were in-structed to learn to recognize the standard. On each trial, a stan-

  • 304 PALMER AND HOLLERAN

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    Herrnontceuuraleted chenge

    Hermontceugunrelated chllnge

    Figure 1. Experiment 1: Musical notation of homophonic and polyphonic stimuli, with harmoni-cally related and unrelated pitch changes.

    dard was preceded by a 500-msec high-pitched warning tone andwas followed by a 3000-msec pause before the comparison sounded.The listeners were asked to respond in terms ofhow sure they werethat the comparison was the same as or different from the standard,on a scale of I to 9, where I = very sure same and 9 = very suredifferent. The next trial began 2 sec after the response (or after12 sec had elapsed, whichever came first). There was a total of sixlearning trials, which contained at least one instance of each typeof pitch change (no change, harmonically related, and unrelated)and of each frequency height of pitch change (highest-, middle-,and lowest-frequency voice). Trials were randomly ordered in eachlearning phase.

    In each testing phase, the listeners were presented with com-parisons only (those corresponding to the standard presented in theprevious learning phase). The listeners indicated whether or noteach comparison was the same as or different from the standardthey had just learned.? During testing, the listeners heard the stan-

    dard, signaled by a repeated warning tone, on the first trial and fol-lowing every seventh trial thereafter, to prevent forgetting or con-fusion across the trials. They were instructed to respond only tothe comparisons and not to the repetitions of the standard, usingthe same 1-9 scale as for the learning trials. The next trial began2 sec after they had responded (or after 6 sec had elapsed, which-ever came first). This procedure of a learning phase (standard-comparison pairs) followed by a testing phase (comparisons inter-spersed with repetitions of the standard) was used in order to pre-vent overlearning or boredom with the musical pieces, which wereshort and memorized quickly by the listeners.

    The subjects were randomly assigned to one of four block or-ders of the original stimuli. The four orders were determined suchthat the two homophonic and two polyphonic stimuli were alwayssuccessively ordered (half of the time the homophonic stimuliwere first, and half of the time the polyphonic stimuli were first).Trials in the learning phase were presented in the same order for

  • PERCEPTION OF MULTIVOICED MUSIC 305

    Figure 2. Experiment 1: Listeners' mean ratings by type of pitchchange (no change, harmonically related. or harmonically unrelated)and frequency height (highest, middle, lowest).

    Highest Middle Lowest

    Frequency Height

    verysure 9

    different

    8

    7

    R 6AT 5ING 4

    3

    2

    verysuresame

    Type ofpitch change

    _ No change

    - Harmonically Related

    o Harmonically Unrelated

    Finally, there was a significant interaction of type ofpitch change, frequency height of pitch change, andmelody location [F(4,44) = 2.7, MSe = 1.24,p < .05].As shown in Figure 3 (and also in Figure 2), the differ-ence in ratings for harmonically related and unrelatedpitch changes was largest for pitch changes in the mid-dle-frequency height, the location that never containedthe melody. In addition, the difference between har-monically related and unrelated changes was smallerwhen the changes occurred in the highest-frequencyvoice and melody location than it was for all other fre-quency height and melody location combinations [or-thogonal contrast, t(44) = 9.2, P < .01]. All meansshown in Figure 3 differed significantly from the rating-scale endpoint (t tests with Dunn-Bonferroni adjust-ment, p < .05), indicating that this was not a ceiling ef-fect. Thus, the effects of harmonic relatedness weresurprisingly reduced (i.e., the listeners detected anytype of change) in the location of highest-frequencyvoice and the highest-frequency melody. This effectsuggests that interpretation of a high-frequency voiceas melody aids pitch discrimination relative to high-fre-quency nonmelodic voices, and the combination over-rides the harmonic-relatedness effects on pitbh-changedetection. .

    There is a possible confounding factor in these re-sults, however. The effects of both frequency height andtype ofpitch change may be due to the presence ofover-lapping upper harmonics in the piano timbre used in thisexperiment. The presence of upper harmonics that are

    all of the subjects; trials in the testing phase were presented in adifferent random order for each subject. The entire session lastedapproximately I hand 15 min, and the subjects completed a ques-tionnaire on their musical background and a brief music-notationtest during a break halfway through the experiment.

    Results and DiscussionAnalyses of variance (ANOVAs) were conducted on

    the listeners' ratings by type ofpitch change (no change,harmonically related, or harmonically unrelated), fre-quency height of pitch change (highest-, middle-, orlowest-frequency voice), melody location (highest- orlowest-frequency voice), and compositional structure(homophonic or polyphonic). Analyses were conductedon ratings combined across serial positions of pitchchanges. None of the effects in Experiment 1 differedbetween homophonic and polyphonic pieces, and thisvariable was therefore removed from further analyses.There was a significant main effect oftype ofpitch change[F(2,22) = 203.0, MSe = 6.28,p < .01]. As expected, thelisteners rated the no-change condition as significantlycloser to "very sure same" (mean == 2.4) than they ratedall other conditions (Tukey HSD post hoc comparisons,p < .01). In addition, harmonically related pitch changesreceived a significantly lower rating (mean == 6.8) thandid unrelated changes (mean == 8.1), indicating that har-monically related changes were less noticeable thanwere unrelated changes (Tukey HSD,p < .01).

    There was also a significant main effect of frequencyheight ofpitch change [F(2,22) = 31.0, MSe = 2.51, P <.01]. Pitch changes in the middle-frequency voice weresignificantly less noticeable than were those in all otherconditions (mean == 4.9, Tukey HSD, P < .01), agreeingwith the perceptual findings of lower accuracy in de-tecting inner-voice (mid-range voice) entrances (Huron,1989). This could also be due to effects of melody loca-tion, since the melody occurred half of the time in thehighest-frequency voice and half ofthe time in the lowest-frequency voice (i.e., never in the middle-frequencyvoice). Additionally, pitch changes in the highest-frequency voice were most noticeable (mean == 6.4), fol-lowed by those in the lowest-frequency voice (mean == 6.0).Although a nonsignificant difference, this orderingmatches the earlier predictions that the listeners may bemost accurate in perceiving pitch changes in the highest-frequency voice.

    There was also a significant interaction oftype ofpitchchange and frequency height ofpitch change [F(4,44) =20.9, MSe = 2.16, P < .01]. As shown in Figure 2, no-change trials received a lower rating than harmonicallyrelated or unrelated changes at each frequency height(Tukey HSD post hoc comparisons,p < .0 I). In addition,harmonic-relatedness effects-defined here as the dif-ference between ratings for harmonically related andunrelated pitch changes-were greater for the middle-frequency voice than they were for the other frequencyheights combined [orthogonal contrasts, t(44) = 3.5,p <.0 I]. Thus, the listeners were least accurate at detectingharmonically related pitch changes in the middle-frequency range.

  • 306 PALMER AND HOLLERAN

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    Figure 3. Experiment 1: Listeners' mean ratings by type of pitch change, frequencyheight, and melody location (highest or lowest).

  • PERCEPTION OF MULTIVOICED MUSIC 307

    Figure '4. Experiment 2: Listeners' mean ratings by type of pitchchange and frequency height.

    EXPERIMENT 2Pitch-Change Detection With Sine-Wave Tones

    the same music test used in the first experiment. Some receivedcredit in an introductory psychology course for their participation.

    Stimulus materials and Apparatus. The stimulus materials werethe same as those used in Experiment 1, except that sine-wave tonesrather than acoustic piano tones were used to create the musicalpieces played to the listeners. Musical stimuli were produced by aYamaha TX81Z FM tone generator set to a sine-wave timbre withan attack time of 10 msec and decay of 10 msec, ending 30 msecbefore the onset of the next tone. The sine tones were soundedthrough an EV BK-832 mixer and QSC 1200 amplifier on a JBL4410 speaker positioned in front of the computer keyboard onwhich the subjects made their responses.

    Procedure. The procedure and design were identical to those ofExperiment 1.

    Results and DiscussionThe same ANOVA was conducted on the listeners'

    ratings (by type of pitch change, frequency height ofpitch change, melody location, and compositional struc-ture). There was a significant main effect of type ofpitchchange [F(2,22) = 154.2, MSe = 5.78,p < .01]. As be-fore, the listeners rated the no-change condition as sig-nificantly closer to "very sure same" than they rated allother conditions (mean = 3.1; Tukey HSD post hoc com-parisons, p < .01). In addition, harmonically relatedpitch changes (mean = 6.9) received a significantlylower rating than did unrelated changes (mean = 7.9;Tukey HSD,p < .01). Thus, harmonically related changeswere again less noticeable than were unrelated changes,even in the absence of upper harmonic cues.

    There was also a significant main effect of frequencyheight of pitch change [F(2,22) = 24.2, MSe = 3.83,p < .01]. Changes in the middle-frequency voice wereagain least noticeable (mean = 5.15), and changes in thehighest-frequency voice were most noticeable (mean =6.8); in addition, all three means differed significantly(lowest-frequency voice mean = 6.0; Tukey HSD, p <.01). These findings suggest that the listeners' differen-tial responses to pitch changes in certain frequencyranges are not due to the presence or absence of upperharmonics.

    Again, there was a significant interaction of type ofpitch change and frequency height of pitch change[F(4,44) = 20.2, MSe = 2.32,p < .01]. As shown in Fig-ure 4, no-change trials received a lower rating than har-monically related or unrelated changes at each fre-quency height (Tukey HSD post hoc comparisons, p <.01). As seen before, the difference between ratings forharmonically related and unrelated pitch changes wasgreater for the middle-frequency voice than it was forthe other frequency heights combined [orthogonal con-trasts, t(44) = 2.7,p < .01]. Thus, the absence of upperharmonics did not reduce the effects of harmonic relat-edness and frequency height.

    There was also a significant interaction of type ofpitch change, frequency height of pitch change, andmelody location [F(4,44) = 3.3, MSe = 1.08, p < .05].As shown in Figure 5 (and also in Figure 4), the differ-ence in ratings for harmonically related and unrelatedpitch changes was largest in the middle-frequency voice.Again, the difference between harmonically related and

    verysure 9

    different

    8

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    verysuresame

    Type ofpitch change

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    Highest Middle Lowest

    Frequency Height

    MethodSubjects. Twelve listeners with moderate musical training were

    recruited from the Ohio State University community (mean age =21 years). None of the listeners had participated in the first ex-periment. They had an average of 7.9 years of private instructionon their primary instrument (range = 5-14 years) and all passed

    shared between pitches can create more overlap (andthus less noticeability) for harmonically related pitchchanges than for unrelated changes, especially those oc-curring in the middle-frequency range (middle voice)whose upper harmonic energy may overlap more withthat of simultaneously sounded higher and lowerpitches. We addressed this problem in a second experi-ment.

    On the basis of findings of the first experiment, wepredicted that if overlapping upper harmonics in thepiano timbre accounted for the listeners' inability todetect harmonically related changes in the middle-frequency voice as accurately as other pitch changes, theeffects of harmony and frequency height might disap-pear in the absence of upper harmonics. Alternatively, ifthese effects arose from the perceptual organization ofintervoice relationships beyond the sensory cues avail-able, the findings of the earlier study should be replica-ble in the absence ofupper harmonics. Therefore, we re-peated the first experiment, using the same musicalpieces but a different timbre, one generated from puresine tones that contained no upper harmonics.

  • 308 PALMER AND HOLLERAN

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    F1gure 5. Experiment 2: Listeners' mean ratings by type of pitch change, frequencyheight, and melody location.

  • PERCEPTION OF MULTIVOICED MUSIC 309

    HOMOPHONICa)

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    Figure 6. Experiment 2: Listeners' mean ratings by type of pitch change, frequency height, melody location, and compo-sitional structure (homophonic or polyphonic).

  • 310 PALMER AND HOLLERAN

    unrelated conditions was smaller for changes occurringin the highest-frequency voice and the high-frequencymelody location than it was for all other frequencyheight and melody location combinations [orthogonalcontrast, t( 44) = 2.55, P < .05]. This was not due to ceil-ing effects; all means differed significantly from 9 (therating-scale endpoint; p < .05). All pitch changes werenoticeable when they occurred in both the highest-fre-quency voice and the high-frequency melody location,demonstrating again the dominance of melody and fre-quency height over harmonic relationships.

    Finally, there was a significant interaction of type ofpitch change, frequency height of pitch change, melodylocation, and compositional structure [F(4,44) = 2.6,MSe = 1.10, P < .05]. As shown in Figure 6, the effectsof frequency height and melody location on the notice-ability of harmonically related pitches for homophoniccompositions differed from those for polyphonic com-positions. The main difference between homophonic andpolyphonic conditions was the presence of a secondmelody in one of the polyphonic voices; the interactionwas thus examined in terms of this difference.

    Ratings for harmonically related pitch changes in thehighest-frequency range when the melody was in thelowest-frequency location (i.e., ratings for the locationof the polyphonic secondary melody) were significantlysmaller in the homophonic condition (Figure 6a; mean =8.0) than they were in the polyphonic condition (Fig-ure 6b; mean = 8.89) [orthogonal contrast, t(44) =- 2.08, p < .05]. One explanation is that the polyphoniccondition's secondary melody in the highest-frequencylocation increased the listeners' sensitivity to harmoni-cally related pitch changes occurring there. Thus, har-monically related pitch changes were more easily detectedin the presence of a high-frequency secondary melody(polyphonic condition) than they were in its absence(homophonic condition). The same comparison betweenratings for harmonically related pitch changes in thelowest-frequency range when the melody was in thehighest-frequency location (ratings for the location ofthe polyphonic secondary melody) did not differ signif-icantly between homophonic conditions (Figure 6e; mean= 7.17) and polyphonic conditions (Figure 6f; mean =6.78) [orthogonal contrast, t(44) = 0.91,p > .10].

    Thus, only the polyphonic secondary melody in thehighest-frequency range aided the detection of harmon-ically related pitch changes. These contrasts indicatethat the effects of frequency height and melody locationare mediated by compositional structure. Polyphoniccompositions that contained additional melodies in thehighest-frequency range enhanced the noticeability ofharmonically related pitch changes occurring there.

    The results of Experiment 2, using sine tones, repli-cated the previous findings of harmonic, melodic, andfrequency height influences on the perception of pitchchanges in music based on piano tones. This suggeststhat harmonically related pitch changes are less notice-able to listeners not because of overlapping upper har-

    monies with other voices, but instead because of influ-ences of intervoice relationships in the perceptual or-ganization of multi voiced music. In addition, composi-tional structure mediated melodic and frequency-heighteffects when additional (secondary) melodies were in-troduced in polyphonic compositions. This effect wasfound for sine tones but not for piano tones (of Exper-iment I), possibly due to the overlapping harmonics inpiano tones creating greater fusion of voices in bothcompositional structures. The voices may sound moredistinct in the absence of overlapping harmonics (sinetones), making all intervoice relationships perceptuallyclearer, a possibility to be addressed in further research.

    GENERAL DISCUSSION

    We have identified three intervoice relationships thatinfluence listeners' perception of multivoiced music:harmonic, melodic, and frequency height relationships.First, harmonic relationships among voices affected thedetection of pitch changes, with harmonically relatedchanges (those bearing the same chordal relationshipsas the original) being more difficult to detect than un-related changes. The influence of harmonic relation-ships was mediated by the associations among voicesspecified by the compositional structure; the presenceof multiple melodies in polyphonic compositions in-creased the detection of harmonically related changesin Experiment 2 (using sine tones). Harmonic expecta-tions may be formed more easily for voices that havestrong associations with other simultaneous voices (asin homophonic compositions), making pitch changesthat fit those expectations more difficult to detect.These results are thus congruent with findings of im-plied harmony and perceptual restoration of harmoni-cally related tones (Butler, 1992; DeWitt & Samuel,1990; Jones et aI., 1991).

    Second, frequency height influenced the detectabil-ity ofpitch changes. The worst detection ofpitch changes(especially ofharmonically related changes) occurred inthe middle-frequency voice, and the best detection (ofboth harmonically related and unrelated changes) oc-curred in the highest-frequency voice. This fits well withfindings that suggest a perceptual advantage for tonesthat occur in the highest-frequency voice (DeWitt &Samuel, 1990) and a perceptual disadvantage for voicesentering in the middle-frequency range (Huron, 1989).These perceptual findings also agree with work in musicperformance that indicates that performers are most ac-curate at producing the highest-frequency voice and leastaccurate at producing the middle-frequency voice (Palmer& van de Sande, 1993). The question arises as to whetherthe melody and frequency height effects stem from thesame source (Platt & Racine, 1990).The highest-frequencyvoice is often the location of the optimal vocal range insong and ofmelodies in multivoiced music. For instance,an analysis ofa corpus of Western tonal piano music in-dicated that the melody typically occurs in the highest-

  • frequency voice (Palmer & van de Sande, 1993). In thecurrent experiment, frequency height effects were sepa-rated from those of melody location; the detection ofpitch changes was best in the highest-frequency voice,whether or not the melody was located there.

    Finally, the presence of a melody interacted with fre-quency height to dominate the harmonic-relatedness ef-fects on pitch-change detection. Both melody locationand frequency height aided detection of pitch changes;detection improved for changes occurring in the highest-frequency voice or the melody, and was further facil-itated by the presence of both melody and highest-frequency voice. This finding suggests that listenersmay attend more readily to the melodic voice, especiallywhen it occurs in the high-frequency range. The melodyfrequently contains interesting changes in harmony, con-tour, and rhythm, factors that have well-documented ef-fects on listeners' attending to musical structure (Ed-worthy, 1985; Kidd et aI., 1984; Monahan et aI., 1987).When melody location and frequency height conflictedwith harmonic relatedness in the current study, theytended to override the perceptual disadvantage that har-monically related changes usually afforded; all pitchchanges (harmonically related and unrelated) were equallynoticeable in the presence of high-frequency melodies.

    Researchers have long been interested in the ability todetect pitch errors as an indicator of musical skill (Han-sen, 1955; Larson, 1977; Ramsey, 1979). For example,sight-reading (performing unfamiliar music from nota-tion), a valuable musical skill, is often regarded as de-pendent on the ability to evaluate one's own performanceby detecting (and correcting) errors (Sloboda, 1976).Performance on pitch-error-detection tasks is some-times correlated with performance of other musicalskills, such as musical dictation (Larson, 1977), theorytraining, and aural (ear-training) tasks (Hansen, 1955).Pianists' detection of pitch errors in multivoiced choralmusic was better than that of other instrumentalists(Hansen, 1955), suggesting that experience on an in-strument capable of producing multivoiced music mayalso influence pitch-error detection. However, thesestudies employed "real" music performances as stimuli(rather than computer-generated stimuli), which usuallycontain multiple cues, such as timing and intensity vari-ations, as well as occasional real (uncontrolled) pitch er-rors, making the results of such error-detection tasks dif-ficult to evaluate. Despite these problems, these studiessuggest, as do the current findings, that pitch-change-detection tasks reflect listeners' knowledge ofstructuralrelationships among multiple voices. Error-detection tasksmay also provide a naturalistic link for study ofthe cog-nitive processes underlying perception and performance.

    Finally, perception of multivoiced music reflected thesame intervoice relationships found in performance, de-spite the different perceptual/motor demands on the twobehaviors. That is, melodic and high-frequency voicesafforded increased pitch detection during perception and

    PERCEPTION OF MULTIVOICED MUSIC 311

    decreased error rates during performance (Palmer & vande Sande, 1993). This finding supports the view thatmusical comprehension occurs when the perceiver isable to assign a mental representation that fits that oftheperformer, as well as that of the composer. Most theo-ries of Western tonal music assume a degree of corre-spondence between compositional and listening goalsand that the interpretation of important pitches andharmonies follows perceptual principles (Huron, 1989;Lerdahl, 1988; Narmour, 1990). Assuming that musicalbehavior reflects a communication of structure amongcomposers, performers, and listeners, similarities in theintervoice relationships that influence perception andperformance may ensure that encoding ofmusical struc-ture matches its retrieval during performance, makingcommunication possible.

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    NOTES

    I. In accordance with traditional voice-leading principles (see Pis-ton, 1978), the pitch changes were designed to avoid unisons, perfectfifths, octaves, and parallel intervals, as well as part-crossing and largeleaps in pitch. However, it was impossible to substitute pitches in in-tact chords that did not result in unbalanced chords (those doubling ormissing the root, third, or fifth scale tones), which may influence theirprominence. The unbalanced chords were distributed approximatelyequally across all conditions; analyses conducted on the bases ofchordinversion (reflecting the chord position relative to frequency height)and chord imbalance (root, third, or fifth scale tone missing) indicatedthat these factors did not interact with the variables under study (al-though there were too few instances in some stimuli to test their ef-fects adequately).

    2. Stimulus familiarity gained during the learning phase was evi-denced by the high accuracy and confidence of ratings given to trialsin the testing phase, during which no standard was present.

    (Manuscript received May 4, 1993;revision accepted for publication February 18,1994.)