What are some aesthetic melodies

The form of a piece of music has been the central category for the evaluation of compositions since the 18th century. The "theory of forms" has developed beyond the theory of composition into an independent subject. In this discipline, not only the arrangement of musical material is negotiated, but also its meaning for the listener. In the diverse discourse of form theory, analysis methods and rules are formulated according to which the form (and thus the piece of music itself) should be perceived. Many of these assumptions, however, contradict the findings of empirical music research.

For the recipient, the larger form of a sonata movement, for example, does not seem to play a role when listening to music (Cook 1987). In comparison, even professional musicians notice formal “errors” in pieces of music only marginally better than listeners with a lack of previous experience in the relevant style. It is also known from cognitive psychology that listeners show little awareness of formal relationships over a long period of time (Tillmann & Bigand 1996, 2004). In contrast to these findings, there are analytical methods and a widespread teaching practice that emphasize the structural and formal coherence of a work such as a symphony as the most important characteristic. Last but not least, this practice is based on the fact that in the context of an interpretation great importance is attached to a preliminary analysis.

In this project, we examine the relationship between an individual understanding of form, for example that of an interpreter, and categories of common form theories. It can be assumed that the individual understanding of form is an important factor for the intensity of the listening and interpretation experience. Every listener and every interpreter creates very individual strategies for perceiving form based on his or her capabilities and disposition.

 

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