Bruno H. Repp
Haskins Labs., 270 Crown St., New Haven, CT 06511-6695
Two pianists played Shumann's ``Traumerei'' three times con espressione at each of three musically acceptable tempi, and the performances were recorded in MIDI format. A perceptual test showed that artificial modification of the tempi of these performances within the same moderate range does not lead to a noticeable deterioration of performance quality. Subsequent analyses confirmed that the expressive timing patterns very nearly maintained relational invariance across tempo changes. Other temporal details, however, did not expand or contract in this fashion but were unaffected by tempo; they included chord asynchronies, tone overlaps, and possibly pedal timing. This indicates distinct levels of cognitive and technical control in music performance. Dynamic patterns were essentially unaffected by tempo changes, though a slight increase in overall dynamic level with tempo was noted. The generality of these findings needs to be tested with other types of music.