Vocal similarity predicts the relative attraction of musical chords.
Musical chords are combinations of two or more tones played together. While many different chords are used in music, some are heard as more attractive (consonant) than others. We have previously suggested that, for reasons of biological advantage, human tonal preferences can be understood in terms of the spectral similarity of tone combinations to harmonic human vocalizations. Using the chromatic scale, we tested this theory further by assessing the perceived consonance of all possible dyads, triads, and tetrads within a single octave. Our results show that the consonance of chords is predicted by their relative similarity to voiced speech sounds. These observations support the hypothesis that the relative attraction of musical tone combinations is due, at least in part, to the biological advantages that accrue from recognizing and responding to conspecific vocal stimuli.
Bowling, DL; Purves, D; Gill, KZ
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
Pubmed Central ID
Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)