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Tone and Voice: A Derivation of the Rules of Voice- Leading from Perceptual Principles . DAVID HURON . Music Perception 2001, 19, 1-64. Voice Leading. The manner in which individual parts or voices move from tone to tone to create perceptually independent musical lines.

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Tone and Voice: A Derivation of the Rules of Voice- Leading from Perceptual Principles

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Tone and voice a derivation of the rules of voice leading from perceptual principles l.jpg

Tone and Voice: A Derivation of the Rules of Voice- Leading from Perceptual Principles

DAVID HURON

Music Perception 2001, 19, 1-64


Voice leading l.jpg

Voice Leading

The manner in which individual parts or voices move from tone to tone to create perceptually independent musical lines.


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Rules of voice leading

Registral Compass Rule: Write in the region between F2 and G5

2. Textural Density Rule. Harmony should be written using three or more concurrent voices.

3. Chord Spacing Rule.

soprano - alto =< octave

alto-tenor =< octave

tenor - bass no restriction.

4. Avoid Unisons Rule. Avoid concurrent unison

5. Common Tone Rule. Pitches common to consecutive chords should be retained in the same voice.


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Rules (2)

6. Nearest Chordal Tone Rule. Move to the nearest available pitch.

7. Conjunct Motion Rule. If possible by a diatonic step. Or, expressed in reverse:

8. Avoid Leaps Rule. Avoid large melodic intervals.

9. Part-Crossing Rule. Pitch contours should not cross.

10. Part Overlap Rule. No part should move to a more extreme pitch higher than the immediately preceding pitch in another part.


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Rules (3)

11. Parallel Unisons, Fifths, and Octaves Rule. No two voices should move in parallel octaves, fifths, or unisons. Some even say:

12. Consecutive Unisons, Fifths, and Octaves Rule. None even if not parallel.

13. Exposed (or Hidden or Direct) Octaves (and Fifths) Rule. Bass and soprano voices should not approach octaves by similar motion between two parts unless at least one of the parts moves by diatonic step.


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Perceptual principles

Toneness Principle.

Strong auditory images are evoked when tones exhibit a high degree of toneness or virtual pitch weight eg Harmonic complex tones between F2 and G5.


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1. Toneness Principle.


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2. Principle of Temporal Continuity.

In order to evoke strong auditory streams, use continuous or recurring rather than brief or intermittent sound sources. Intermittent sounds should be separated by no more than roughly 800 ms of silence in order to ensure the perception of continuity.

But avoid overlapping sounds as in normal piano or gamelan (tutupan) performance.


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3. Minimum Masking Principle

Approximately equivalent amounts of spectral energy should fall in each critical band / auditory filter. For typical complex harmonic tones, this generally means that simultaneously sounding notes should be more widely spaced as the register descends.


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Width of auditory filters


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3. Minimum Masking Principle


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4. Tonal Fusion Principle

To maintain independence avoid intervals that promote tonal fusion eg:

unisons, octaves, perfect fifths


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Fusion and consonance

*

*

*


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5. Pitch Proximity Principle.

The coherence of an auditory stream is maintained by close pitch proximity in successive tones within the stream.

Pitch-based streaming is assured when pitch movement is within van Noorden’s fission boundary (region 1 - normally 2 semitones or less for tones less than 700 ms in duration).

When pitch distances are large, it may be possible to maintain the perception of a single stream by reducing the tempo.


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5. Pitch Proximity Principle


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5. Pitch Proximity Principle


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5. Pitch Proximity Principle

? Bach notes shorter since harpsichord not continuous ?


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5. Pitch Proximity Principle

Failure to perceive crossing explained by pitch proximity.

demo on Bregman CD track 17


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6. Pitch Co-modulation Principle.

The perceptual union of concurrent tones is encouraged when pitches move together maintaining constant ratios.

Darwin, Ciocca & Sandell, 1994 JASA showed that a mistuned harmonic continued to contribute to pitch with greater mistuning when coherent FM than when none.

Bregman micro-mod track 24.


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7. Onset Synchrony Principle.

To keep parts independent, avoid note onsets of less than 100ms.


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8. Principle of limited density

To keep parts independent, have 3 or fewer parts.


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9. Timbral differentation

To keep parts independent, have unique timbres

See also:

Bregman CD demo 9

Culling, J. F. and Darwin, C. J. (1993). "The role of timbre in the segregation of simultaneous voices with intersecting Fo contours," Percept. Psychophys. 34, 303-309.


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10. Spatial differentation

To keep parts independent, have them spatially separated.

Bregman demo of streaming by spatial location in East African xylophone music. Demo 41.

Sach, A. J. and Bailey, P. J. (2004). "Some characteristics of auditory spatial attention revealed using rhythmic masking release," Percept Psychophys 66, 1379-87.


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