Lipps-Meyer law

Lipps-Meyer law

The Lipps-Meyer law, named for Max F. Meyer (1873-1967), hypothesizes that the closure of melodic intervals is determined by "whether or not the end tone of the interval can be represented by the number two or a power of two," in the frequency ratio between notes.

Thus the interval order matters — a perfect fifth, for instance (C,G), ordered , 2:3, gives an "effect of indicated continuation", while , 3:2, gives an "effect of finality."

This is a measure of interval strength or stability and finality. Notice that it is similar to the more common measure of interval strength, which is determined by its approximation to a lower, stronger, or higher, weaker, position in the harmonic series.


*Meyer, M.F. (1929). "The Musician' Arithmetic", "The University of Missouri Studies", January.

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