Perceiving the so-called continuous exposition

QUESTION: To what extent does the lack of a medial caesura affect out judgment of grouping structure in Hepokoski and Darcy’s so-called continuous exposition?

SOME PRELIMINARY QUESTIONS: Do we actually perceive these as continuous units that lack the clear delineation of a subordinate theme, or are form-functional considerations enough for us to group this music into distinct units (i.e., a transition that is separate from a subordinate theme)? How do similarity relationships factor in? E.g., Are we more likely to identify a subordinate theme if is it begins with a presentation phrase, which by definition contains the immediate repetition of a unit and would thus encourage us to group the two together (see Drake 2003 & references)?

3 thoughts on “Perceiving the so-called continuous exposition

  1. What are the methods you plan using to explore these questions? It seems that you could consider some kind of experimental design, which you might or might not implement during the course of the semester. If you don,t wish to go that way, I think the previous idea might be a better project to investigate (e.g., as a question-motivated literature review). Let’s meet soon and talk about it.

    • One method would be to play subjects a series of excerpts and ask them to click upon hearing a point of formal segmentation. (I’m not yet sure how I’d word this: “group,” “formal section,” “section,” “part,” etc.)

      I’m not opposed to doing an experiment, so long as it’s feasible, but if you think my previous idea is somehow better, then I’d be inclined to research it further. But yes, we can meet to talk about this.

      • The two topics are close enough, i.e., they both deal with some aspect of form perception and the concept of formal function, that you could consider doing a preliminary lit review (background research) to see what research has been done so far. I think it will be very productive for you to see what kinds of studies (with real music) have been done so far, and how your music theory and analysis training would inform a program of research. You might want to start with some research on segmentation and filter your results based on the kind of stimuli used as well as keywords closely-related to the concept of formal function. The bibliography of the Vallières piece will also be a good point of departure. Let’s meet when you’ve found at least three relevant sources.

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