This study examines the difference between prominent and non-prominent lines (e.g., melodies and accompaniments). After reviewing research suggesting that lines with few repeating patterns would readily capture attention, the hypothesis that prominent lines tend to be less repetitive is tested. Various probabilistic models are used to quantify the repetitiveness of lines from three musical corpora—two containing Classical string quartets, one including songs by the Beatles. The results suggest that notes from prominent lines tend to have lower probability. This trend, along with others found in the corpora, is consistent with the hypothesis that prominent lines are generally less repetitive.
- Received December 14, 2014.
- Accepted February 10, 2016.
- © 2016 by The Regents of the University of California