Familiar melodic phrases were played repetitively with note durations ranging from 40 msec to 3.6 sec. Recognition required note durations approximating those normally used for playing melodic themes (roughly 150 msec to 1 sec per note). Additional experiments with nonmelodic sequences of tones indicated that different rules applied for nonmelodic patterns: Permuted orders of the same items could be distinguished from each other at all durations employed (10 msec to 5 sec per item). Recognition of different arrangements occurred not only when each tone differed in pitch, but also when all tones had the same pitch but differed in timbre. It was concluded that the durational limits for melodic recognition are not based on perceptual limits applicable to tonal patterns in general, but rather reflect special rules governing melodic organization. Hypotheses concerning the bases for these rules are suggested.