"Note"able Endings: An Investigation of Expected Answers to Melodic Questions

Open Access
Knauss, David E.
Graduate Program:
Music Education
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
February 23, 2011
Committee Members:
  • Linda Carol Porter Thornton, Dissertation Advisor
  • Linda Carol Porter Thornton, Committee Chair
  • Joanne Rutkowski, Committee Member
  • Anthony Thomas Leach, Committee Member
  • Eric John Mckee, Committee Member
  • Jonna Marie Kulikowich, Committee Member
  • melodic perception
  • tonal hierarchy
  • melodic schemata
The purpose of this study was to investigate if measurements of expectedness for melodic answers are consistent with Krumhansl’s (1979) tonal hierarchy when melodic questions are based on Meyer’s (1973) five theoretical melodic schemata. Consistency of participants’ chosen melodic answers with Krumhansl’s hierarchy was analyzed with two robust software programs, Moulton’s NOUS and Andrich and Luo’s RUMMFOLDss. Researcher’s hypothesis was that (1) when melodies are composed to conform to Meyer’s schemata (axial, changing-note, gap-fill, complementary, and triadic), the melodies imply questions (implications) and answers (realizations) similar to existing melodies, (2) participants will choose melodic answers consistent with Krumhansl’s four tonal levels, (3) participant answer choices will replicate, on average, pitch space distances similar to pitch space distances between the four tonal levels as reported by Krumhansl, and (4) participants’ responses are similar regardless of cultural background, age, or musical experience (Gestalt principles). Participants (n=25) listened to the “Note”able Endings Test (NET) and recorded their perceptions of melodic endings on a Likert-type scale of “4” (completely expected) to “1” (completely unexpected). Statistical evidence revealed significant expectedness measurements and supported that the newly composed melodies implied melodic answers (realizations) similar to existing melodies. Statistical evidence supported also that melodic endings chosen by participants were consistent in the same order as Krumhansl’s four tonal levels for three of five melodies, and replicated, on average, pitch space distances between the particpants’ melodic answer expectancies similar to the pitch space distances between the four tonal levels as reported by Krumhansl. In addition, differences were revealed in participants’ answers among cultural background, age, and music experience. However, it is unclear if melodic expectedness interactions between implications (melodic questions) and realizations (melodic answers), or individuals’ personal melodic ending preferences (Moulton, 2010) existed. An opposite set of measurements was revealed for Item Fit and Individual Response Fit. Significant lack of fit of Individual Responses indicated definite rater and/or melodic questions and answers interactions that violated the one-dimensional model, suggesting further investigation.