Dissertation Index

Author: Samplaski, Arthur G.

Title: A Comparison of Perceived Chord Similarity and Predictions of Selected Twentieth-Century Chord-Classification Schemes, Using Multidmensional Scaling and Cluster Analysis

Institution: Indiana University

Begun: November 1998

Completed: April 2000


There seems to be an implicit consensus among adherents of several classification systems for the chord-types of twentieth-century Western art music that in some sense they reflect listeners' perceptions. This dissertation will undertake one perceptual study to test whether there is support for such a view of these theories. Subjects will listen to pairs of chords under several different experimental conditions as played by a computer program, which will collect their ratings of the chords' similarities. Two different pools of subjects will be recruited, to assess the effects of experience in listening to non-tonal music. Subjects' responses will be pooled and analyzed using multidimensional scaling and cluster analysis. The derived configurations will be compared to the (qualitative) clustering predictions of several chord-classification systems, to see if there is any perceptual support for their grouping criteria. Emphasis will be given to testing perceptual support for theories by Forte and Hindemith, but the method is also applicable to other classification systems.

Keywords: music cognition, music perception, atonal analysis, pcset theory, Hindemith, multidimensional scaling, cluster analysis


Art Samplaski
P. O. Box 4971
Ithaca, NY 14852

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