Current musicology demands opposing explanations of pitch structure, a styles-driven approach that ignores both the kinetics common to diverse musics and the broadly shared bases of human perception. To establish a unified theory, a ““from-bit-to-whole”” path is argued, noting sensory, neural, and cognitive domains as they are relevant and empirically confirmed. After preliminary discussion of the most elemental dynamics of tone bunching into wholes, an extensive examination of melodic pitch framing ensues. The tonality frame is observed in melodies from a broad sampling of eras and cultures; thus is confirmed a conception of organization that ties the spectral content of the single tone to the chord and to melody, both bearing in common the properties of sonance and root. Such an explanation helps link current musical practice with conceptualizations and practices of both ancient and exotic cultures.
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