Harmonic Resolution, Neural Resonance, and Positive Affect

  • Katz B
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A connectionist model of harmonic resolution, based on affective prin- ciples, is proposed. The connectionist model consists of a note-recogni- tion layer and a chord-recognition layer; the chord-recognition layer feeds back to the note-recognition layer to produce a resonance loop. Affect is measured by the degree of mutual maintenance of competing units. This measure is derived from the aesthetic principle of unity in diversity. The affective measure permits the rules of harmony to be understood on aes- thetic grounds, rather than as a loose collection of observed regularities. It is also shown how the model is broadly consistent with the rules of common harmonic practice and, in addition, is capable of making pre- dictions about dynamic and adaptive effects. Simulations are performed on two types of resolution: the resolution of a nonharmonic note and cadential resolution. The former set of simulations includes the anchor- ing of nonharmonic notes, the asymmetry of nonharmonic resolution, and the nonharmonic support mechanisms of emphasis and the suspen- sion. The last set includes voice leading in the cadence, the dominant seventh, the French sixth, and a longer cadence. The paper concludes with a discussion of how some expectation-based effects could be in- cluded in a modified model that retains the same affective measure.

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  • Bruce F. Katz

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