This essay begins by reviewing issues in psychological measurement that motivated some of the research summarized in Cognitive Foundations of Musical Pitch (Krumhansl, 1990). These were challenges to geometrical models of similarity, asymmetrical measures of similarity, and contextual effects. It then considers the impact that statistical learning has had on research and theory about music cognition, suggesting this emphasis may have underestimated the importance of other psychological processes contributing to the experience of music. Finally, it discusses three problems with traditional analyses using unidimensional, sequential statistics. The first is that music is hierarchical, with important relationships between non-adjacent events. The second is that the dimensions of music, specifically, pitch and time, interact. The third is the assumption that probabilities remain constant throughout a composition. Rather, music contains artful deviations from normative probabilities contributing to the experience of tension and release.
- Received December 30, 2014.
- Accepted April 1, 2015.
- © 2015 by The Regents of the University of California