One of the most relevant features of musical pieces is the selection and utilization of musical elements by composers. For connecting the musical properties of a melodic line as a whole with those of its constituent elements, we propose a representation for musical intervals based on physical quantities and a statistical model based on the minimization of relative entropy. The representation contains information about the size, location in the register, and level of tonal consonance of musical intervals. The statistical model involves expected values of relevant physical quantities that can be adopted as macroscopic constraints with musical meaning. We studied the occurrences of musical intervals in 20 melodic lines from seven masterpieces of Western tonal music. We found that all melodic lines are strictly ordered in terms of the physical quantities of the representation and that the formalism is suitable for approximately reproducing the final selection of musical intervals made by the composers, as well as for describing musical features as the asymmetry in the use of ascending and descending intervals, transposition processes, and the mean dissonance of a melodic line.
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