Report

Generalized Voice-Leading Spaces

Science  18 Apr 2008:
Vol. 320, Issue 5874, pp. 346-348
DOI: 10.1126/science.1153021

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Abstract

Western musicians traditionally classify pitch sequences by disregarding the effects of five musical transformations: octave shift, permutation, transposition, inversion, and cardinality change. We model this process mathematically, showing that it produces 32 equivalence relations on chords, 243 equivalence relations on chord sequences, and 32 families of geometrical quotient spaces, in which both chords and chord sequences are represented. This model reveals connections between music-theoretical concepts, yields new analytical tools, unifies existing geometrical representations, and suggests a way to understand similarity between chord types.

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