Tonal Music as a Componential Code: Learning Temporal Relationships Between and Within Pitch and Timing Components

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 6 (NIPS 1993)

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Catherine Stevens, Janet Wiles


This study explores the extent to which a network that learns the temporal relationships within and between the component features of Western tonal music can account for music theoretic and psychological phenomena such as the tonal hierarchy and rhythmic expectancies. Predicted and generated sequences were recorded as the representation of a 153-note waltz melody was learnt by a predictive, recurrent network. The network learned transitions and relations between and within pitch and timing components: accent and duration values interacted in the development of rhythmic and metric structures and, with training, the network developed chordal expectancies in response to the activation of individual tones. Analysis of the hidden unit representation revealed that musical sequences are represented as transitions between states in hidden unit space.