Musically puzzling II: Sensitivity to overall structure in a Haydn E-minor sonata

Roni Y. Granot, Nori Jacoby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Previous studies have suggested that listeners are insensitive to the overall tonal structure of musical pieces. In Part I of this report (Granot & Jacoby, 2011) we reexamined this question by means of a puzzle task using 10 segments of Mozart's B flat major piano sonata K. 570/I. As expected, subjects had difficulty in recreating the original piece. However, their answers revealed some interesting patterns, including (1) Some sensitivity to the overall structure of A-B-A' around the non-stable B section; (2) Non-trivial sensitivity to overall "directionality" as shown by a new type of analysis ("distance score"); (3) Correct grouping and placement of developmental sections possibly related to listener's sensitivity to musical tension; and (4) Sensitivity to opening and closing gestures, thematic similarity, and surface cues. In the current paper we further validate these findings by comparing the results obtained from a new group of participants who performed an 8-segment puzzle task of Haydn's E minor piano sonata Hob. VXI-34/I. The similarity of our results to those obtained with the Mozart sonata validates our methods and points to the robustness of our findings, despite the differences in the music contexts (composer and key), and despite some methodological caveats.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)67-80
Number of pages14
JournalMusicae Scientiae
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Hebrew University’s Authority for Research and Development grant to the first author.


  • concatenationism
  • global structure
  • local processing
  • musical puzzle
  • onata form
  • order effects
  • structural coherence


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