Geometry of Music Perception

QuICS-Math Seminar

Benjamin Himpel (Reutlingen University/University of Plymouth)
Tuesday, April 18, 2023 - 2:00pm
ATL 3100A and Virtual Via Zoom:

Prevalent neuroscientific theories are combined with acoustic observations from various studies to create a consistent geometric model for music perception in order to rationalize, explain and predict psycho-acoustic phenomena. The space of all chords is shown to be a Whitney stratified space. Each stratum is a Riemannian manifold which naturally yields a geodesic distance across strata. The resulting metric is compatible with voice-leading satisfying the triangle inequality. The geometric model allows for rigorous studies of psychoacoustic quantities like roughness and harmonicity as height functions. In order to show how to use the geometric framework in psychoacoustic studies, concepts for the perception of chord resolutions are introduced and analyzed.