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Thesis 1

Thesis Title: Towards a perceptually-grounded theory of microtonality: Issues in sonority, scale construction and auditory perception and cognition
Degree Type: PhD
Degree Specialism: Musicology
Supervisor(s): Dr Victor Lazzarini
Thesis Status: Accepted
Date Submitted / Accepted: 2012
Institution Submitting / Submitted To: NUI, Maynooth
No. of Volumes (no. of pages): 2
Thesis Location / Link: http://brianbridges.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/BBridges_PhD_TOC_and_abstract.pdf
Abstract: This thesis engages with the topic of microtonal music through a discussion of relevant
music theories and compositional practice, alongside the investigation of theoretical
perspectives drawn from psychology. Its aim is to advance a theory of microtonal music
that is informed by current models of auditory perception and music cognition. In doing
so, it treats a range of microtonal approaches and philosophies from duplex subdivision
of tempered scales to the generation of intervals in just–intonation–based schemes,
including systems derived directly from the structure of the harmonic series. It contains
an analytical survey of case studies relating to twentieth–century microtonal
approaches, which focuses on the conceptual and perceptual implications of the use of
such materials by these early microtonal practitioners, through engagement with their
stated theories and compositional practice. Through this process, it begins to advance
components of a perceptually and cognitively–informed theory of microtonality, which
is then consolidated by a series of theory–based chapters which investigates the
phenomenon more singularly from the perspective of current theories within the field of
psychology. The theories which are thus advanced are further informed by a component
of compositional practice in the research process, which is used as a vehicle to refine
and extend them. The result is a comprehensive theory of microtonal music which
incorporates contexts drawn from ecological and embodied perspectives on perceptual
and cognitive processes.

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