Pitch distribution, melodic contour or both? Modeling makam schema with multidimensional scaling and self-organizing maps
Atalay, Nart Bedin
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Experienced listeners internalize musical tonal knowledge via statistical learning of pitch distributions as a result of exposure to musical environment. Cross-cultural studies of music cognition offer new perspectives to investigate the acquisition of tonal schema. Makam music is a rich musical system characterized by modal structures defined by micro-tonal pitch sets, and melodic progression patterns (aka seyir features). Makam schema is possibly acquired by internalizing the seyir in addition to pitch features. In the current study, we examined whether an ideal model of makam schema is built with multidimensional scaling analysis and with self-organizing maps (SOMs). We were interested in whether statistical information about seyir features, in addition to pitch distributions, would form an acceptable makam schema model. We qualitatively analyzed topographical organizations in the models to understand whether they reflect complex relations between makams. Multidimensional scaling analyses did not produce an acceptable model for makam schema. The SOM trained with pitch distributions provided an adequate model for makam schema. However, the SOM trained with both pitch distributions and seyir features was better in capturing the complex relations between makams. Further behavioral research is necessary to understand whether melodic progression patterns are intrinsic features of the tonal knowledge of the experienced listeners of makam music.