By extensively revising the I-R model of melody (Meyer, 1973; Narmour, 1984, 1989, 1990, 1991a, 1991b, 1992, 1996, 2000) we can explain the structural functions of many musical parameters. Here I will deal with melodic interval, registral direction, pitch height, scale-step (major and minor), duration (interval, length, rate, speed, and pace), tempo, dynamics (loudness), and texture (saving the other parameters for a later essay). By reconceptualizing the model’s core concept of functional directionality within parametric scales, only three isomorphic structural analogues become cognitively necessary, namely, process (and its variant duplication), reversal, and return. Attached signs (0, ∼, −, and +) augment the main symbols (P, D, and R) so as to track strength of implication, realization, and denial. A new theory of rhythmic structure is put forth. And with an aim toward theoretical unification, the reconfigured model confronts the combinatorial complexities of parametric interactions and offers convincing interpretations of congruence and noncongruence—the primary sources of musical affects. Works of Brahms, Debussy, Mussorgsky-Ravel, and Schoenberg are analyzed.
- Received March 22, 2015.
- Accepted May 18, 2015.
- © 2015 by The Regents of the University of California