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Agency and Information Content in Eighteenth- and Early Nineteenth-Century String-Quartet Expositions

Agency and Information Content in Eighteenth- and Early Nineteenth-Century String-Quartet... This article examines the phenomenon in which musical lines establish what Edward T. Cone calls virtual agents , making the argument that listeners are more likely to ascribe such agency to lines that have high information content (in the formal, information-theoretic sense). I use a computational model, which I have proposed elsewhere, to estimate the information content a listener would perceive when listening to a piece of music. I then compare this model’s output to traditional musical analyses of several string-quartet expositions, demonstrating a qualitative correlation between the information content of these expositions and the virtual agents therein. Additionally, I assemble a larger corpus of expositions, many of which deploy virtual agents in a similar manner. Using formal statistical analysis, I show that these similarities can be traced back to the expositions’ information content. Thus, both qualitative and quantitative evidence suggest a connection between information and agency in music. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Music Theory Duke University Press

Agency and Information Content in Eighteenth- and Early Nineteenth-Century String-Quartet Expositions

Journal of Music Theory , Volume 56 (1) – Mar 20, 2012

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Duke Univ Press
ISSN
0022-2909
eISSN
1941-7497
DOI
10.1215/00222909-1546976
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article examines the phenomenon in which musical lines establish what Edward T. Cone calls virtual agents , making the argument that listeners are more likely to ascribe such agency to lines that have high information content (in the formal, information-theoretic sense). I use a computational model, which I have proposed elsewhere, to estimate the information content a listener would perceive when listening to a piece of music. I then compare this model’s output to traditional musical analyses of several string-quartet expositions, demonstrating a qualitative correlation between the information content of these expositions and the virtual agents therein. Additionally, I assemble a larger corpus of expositions, many of which deploy virtual agents in a similar manner. Using formal statistical analysis, I show that these similarities can be traced back to the expositions’ information content. Thus, both qualitative and quantitative evidence suggest a connection between information and agency in music.

Journal

Journal of Music TheoryDuke University Press

Published: Mar 20, 2012

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