Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)



First Advisor

Lawrence H. McOubbly[?]

First Committee Member

Samuel H. Scott

Second Committee Member


Third Committee Member

J. Marc Jantzen

Fourth Committee Member

Peter [?]


The purpose of the study was to develop a theory of the aural perception of simultaneous musical bitones, called vertical or harmonic intervals. The study was specifically concerned with: (1) formulating a theory of vertical interval perception, (2) documenting the psychological premises of the theory, ( 3) implementing the theory by developing a model, (4) testing the theory by utilizing the model to analyze empirical data of interval recognition errors, and (5) delineating implications of the new theory for pedagogy and research.

The theory developed in the study is called the Theory of Property Arrays because it identifies the structure of the aural vertical interval as an array of properties derived from the interval as a whole. The theoretical model utilizes a binary coding of four property-null property pairs common to all vertical intervals: consonant-dissonant, perfect-imperfect, stable-unstable, and major-minor. Each interval is thus identified according to its unique array of properties an/or null properties and a system bf intervallic relationships based on the similarity of their respective property arrays is delineated.

Hypotheses were developed to test the validity of the postulates-of the vertical interval perception theories of Watt, Seashore and Mursell as well as those of the Theory of Property Arrays. The data utilized for these tests were the responses of sixty-two University of the Pacific music majors to the aural presentation of vertical intervals.

The conclusions of the study were: ( 1) the Theory of Property Arrays accounts for interval identification errors more successfully than any of the other three theories tested, (2) the Theory of Property Arrays offers a conceptual frame-· work for the orderly development of skill in identifying vertical intervals, ( 3) the Theory of Property Arrays offers a means for analyzing, diagnosing and correcting errors in vertical interval recognition, and (4) the identification of the perceptual structure of the vertical interval stim ulus developed by the Theory of Property Arrays makes possible the application of analytical techniques developed by information theorists to problems of musical analysis.





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