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Questioning a Melodic Archetype: Do Listeners Use Gap-Fill to Classify Melodies?

Paul von Hippel
Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Vol. 18, No. 2 (Winter, 2000), pp. 139-153
DOI: 10.2307/40285906
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40285906
Page Count: 15
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Questioning a Melodic Archetype: Do Listeners Use Gap-Fill to Classify Melodies?
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Abstract

Leonard B. Meyer (1973) argued that listeners' experience of melodies is shaped by certain melodic "archetypes." Among these archetypes is "gapfill," a name for melodies in which an early skip is followed by some of the pitches that have been skipped over. In experiments conducted with Rosner, Meyer tested gap-fill's effect on the ways in which listeners compare and classify melodies (B. S. Rosner & L. B. Meyer, 1982, 1986). The present reanalyses of Rosner and Meyer's experimental results, however, suggest that gap-fill played little or no role. Together with an earlier study suggesting that gap-fill has no influence on melodic shape (P. von Hippel & D. Huron, 2000), these reanalyses tend to weaken the claim that gap-fill is an important concept for classifying melodies.

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