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A Genus/Species Account of Scale‐Degree Qualia

A Genus/Species Account of Scale‐Degree Qualia Scale‐degree qualia are the fundamental building blocks of tonal cognition. Despite the recent flurry of scholarly activity surrounding their nature, certain conceptual entanglements persist. I argue that when scholars (and pedagogues) invoke the notion of scale degrees, they typically conflate two subcomponents of scale‐degree experience – which I call ‘generic scalar position’ and ‘specific modal character’ – and treat them as if they were one composite thing. In response, I propose an ordered‐triple notation for labelling scale degrees that insists on the representational separation of these two subcomponents, and I demonstrate through a series of analytical vignettes that conceiving of scale degrees in this manner can shed new light on a variety of common musical scenarios, from local tonicisations to large‐scale modulations to moments of tonal/modal ambiguity. This ordered‐triple notation is intentionally designed for a flexible domain of application, not just to European tonal music but also to Western popular music and more generally to any music in any of the seven diatonic modes. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Music Analysis Wiley

A Genus/Species Account of Scale‐Degree Qualia

Music Analysis , Volume 41 (2) – Jul 1, 2022

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Music Analysis © 2022 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
ISSN
0262-5245
eISSN
1468-2249
DOI
10.1111/musa.12190
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Scale‐degree qualia are the fundamental building blocks of tonal cognition. Despite the recent flurry of scholarly activity surrounding their nature, certain conceptual entanglements persist. I argue that when scholars (and pedagogues) invoke the notion of scale degrees, they typically conflate two subcomponents of scale‐degree experience – which I call ‘generic scalar position’ and ‘specific modal character’ – and treat them as if they were one composite thing. In response, I propose an ordered‐triple notation for labelling scale degrees that insists on the representational separation of these two subcomponents, and I demonstrate through a series of analytical vignettes that conceiving of scale degrees in this manner can shed new light on a variety of common musical scenarios, from local tonicisations to large‐scale modulations to moments of tonal/modal ambiguity. This ordered‐triple notation is intentionally designed for a flexible domain of application, not just to European tonal music but also to Western popular music and more generally to any music in any of the seven diatonic modes.

Journal

Music AnalysisWiley

Published: Jul 1, 2022

References