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How do we perceive complexity in chord progressions?

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How do we perceive complexity in chord progressions?

PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 12:58 pm
by friedaubergines
Hi All,

I'm a phd student and I've always be passionate about harmony. I'm currently doing research on how we perceive complexity in short chord progressions. I spent my last three month digging about the argument in Queen Mary University of London, and finally I have some idea about how it may work!

However, the only way to validate my work, is by asking people to judge the complexity of some chord sequences. So, if you like music, harmony and science, please take part to the web-based test here: http://www.brunodigiorgi.it/private/chseq/

Many thanks to everyone helping!

Re: How do we perceive complexity in chord progressions?

PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:35 pm
by petev3.1
I started it - but lots of questions and 23 tests? Sorry but I didn't make it to the end.

Re: How do we perceive complexity in chord progressions?

PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 2:51 pm
by friedaubergines
Hi petev3.1,

Yes I know it is pretty long, in average requires about 30min.
Thank you anyway for trying!!!

Re: How do we perceive complexity in chord progressions?

PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 3:01 pm
by desmond
Done...

Re: How do we perceive complexity in chord progressions?

PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2016 1:58 pm
by friedaubergines
Thanks desmond!

Re: How do we perceive complexity in chord progressions?

PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2016 6:00 pm
by Delta Wave
fried aubergines wrote:How we perceive complexity in short chord progressions.

Relative to sociological emotional response. Nature or Nurture debate.

Re: How do we perceive complexity in chord progressions?

PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2016 7:06 pm
by damoore
I did it (phew) but I doubt it is very useful. The playing with hammers effect is off-putting and it all came across as rather pre-Wagnerian.

Re: How do we perceive complexity in chord progressions?

PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2016 1:47 am
by damoore
BTW, you should have defined "complexity". While you could define complexity as simply in terms of extensions (with points for modified extensions) I would be more inclined to define it in terms of adjacency. That's kind of a jazz thing, but is arguably part of pre-serial 20th century practice too.

So a chord progression (of four chords) that visits four keys is more complex than one that stays in one key and is more complex the more remote those keys are from one another.

With upper structures, you can visit more than four keys in four chords, of course.

You probably need to modify the usual idea of regions though to make this work. Otherwise the diminished chords are likely to cause trouble. C C#o Abm Db is not particularly complex for example even though C and Gb are quite remote keys. Parallel motion is a problem too. C D E F is not at all complex even though it visits three keys.

So perhaps the way forward is to weight the importance of each note and put a value on the resolution (or not) of each note. So a leading note that does not rise is worth more than one that does, for example. Or a root that does not move by a fourth has more weight than one that does.

Re: How do we perceive complexity in chord progressions?

PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 12:06 pm
by petev3.1
damoore wrote:BTW, you should have defined "complexity".

Good luck with that. It's a well known problem. I wondered how it was being defined here.