Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Mark Ashcraft

Second Committee Member

Colleen Parks

Third Committee Member

David Copeland

Fourth Committee Member

Gregory Schraw

Number of Pages



Both the left and right hemispheres contribute to the perception of pitch structure

in music. Music researchers have attempted to explain the observed asymmetries in the perception of musical pitch structure by characterizing the dominant processing style of each hemisphere. However, no existing characterizations have been able to account for all of the empirical findings. To better explain existing empirical findings, this dissertation characterizes the left hemisphere as dominant in temporal pitch processing (i.e. with respect to the sequential ordering of pitches) and the right hemisphere as dominant in non-temporal pitch processing (i.e. without respect to the sequential ordering of pitches). Four listening experiments were performed utilizing the monaural listening paradigm to investigate hemispheric differences in the processing of temporal and non-temporal pitch structures. None of the experiments provided strong evidence of right hemisphere dominance for non-temporal pitch processing, but Experiments 2 and 4 found evidence in support of left hemisphere dominance for temporal pitch processing. The results of Experiment 2 suggest that the left hemisphere differentiates the stability of pitches in a set by forming temporal expectations for specific, in-set pitches. The results of Experiment 4 suggest that the left hemisphere is dominant for processing the sequential order of pitches. These studies indicate that the left hemisphere plays a more prominent role in temporal pitch processing than has been previously suggested.


Analytic; Auditory perception; Cerebral hemispheres; Dichotic; Musical perception; Musical pitch; Phonological; Sequential; Syntax; Tonality


Medical Neurobiology | Neuroscience and Neurobiology | Neurosciences | Psychology

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




IN COPYRIGHT. For more information about this rights statement, please visit