Music, School of


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"Reconsidering Pitch Centricity." Theory and Practice 36 (2011): 65-109.


Analysts commonly describe the musical focus upon a particular pitch class above centricity. But this seemingly simple concept is complicated by a range of factors. can be understood variously as a compositional feature, a perceptual effect arising from or listening strategies, or some complex combination thereof. Second, the relation the theoretical construct of tonality (in any of its myriad conceptions) is often not consistently theorized. Finally, various musical contexts manifest or evoke pitch centricity in seemingly and to differing degrees. This essay examines a range of compositions by Ligeti, Carter, and others to arrive at a more nuanced perspective of pitch centricity - one that takes perceptual foundations, recognizes its many forms and intensities, and addresses its tonal structure in a given composition.

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