Chord-Melody Tension Formula

Is it possible that you could share the formula for calculating the Chord-Melody Tension?


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Chord-melody tension is computed by tabulating the amount of time that unstable scale degrees (non chord-tones) exist in the melody with respect to the underlying chord progression. For example, a quarter note melody: 1 2 3 5 over a I chord would have 1 beat of unstable scale degrees to 3 beats of stable ones. A melody of: 2 4 6 5 over that same chord would have 3 beats of unstable scale degrees and 1 beat of stable ones. Non-diatonic unstable scale degrees are given a bonus since these typically create more tension than diatonic ones.

The values in the song metrics graph on Theorytab pages represent percentiles, and so a value of 40 would mean that it has a larger chord-melody tension score than 40% of the songs in the database.