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The Plurality of Melodic Similarity

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper


Publication date07/2011
Number of pages6
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Conference8th Sound and Music Computing conference


Melodic similarity is a much-researched topic. While there are some common paradigms and methods, there is no single emerging model. The different means by which melodic similarity has been studied are briefly surveyed and contrasts drawn between them which lead to impor-tant differences in the light of the finding that similarity is dependent on context. Models of melodic similarity based on reduction are given particular scrutiny, and the existence of multiple possible reductions proposed as a natural basis for a lack of triangle inequality. It is finally proposed that, in some situations at least, similarity is deliberately sought by maximising the similarity of interpretations. Thus melodic similarity is found to be plural on two counts (differing contexts and multiple interpretations) and furthermore to be an essentially creative concept. There are therefore grounds for turning research on melodic similarity on its head and using the concept as a means for studying reduction and in musical creative contexts.