ASA 125th Meeting Ottawa 1993 May

4aMU6. Perceptual organization of temporal patterns in music.

Annie H. Takeuchi

Res. Lab. of Electron., Rm. 36-747, MIT, Cambridge, MA 02139

The temporal structure of music is based on meter, a hierarchical structure in which each level consists of periodic alternation of strong and weak pulses. This experiment examined the extent to which listeners have internalized metrical hierarchies and use them to perceptually organize temporal patterns. Musically experienced subjects rated how well probe tones that varied in temporal location and in loudness (accent level) fit into simple metrical contexts. Whereas Palmer and Krumhansl [J. Exp. Psychol: Human Perc. & Perf. 16, 728--741 (1990)] reported that listeners rated such probe tones on the basis of metrical location (whether they occurred on accented beats, unaccented beats, or between beats), in this experiment, the accent level of tones interacted with metrical location in determining probe tone ratings. Accented probe tones were judged better fitting when they occurred on accented beats than on unaccented beats or between beats. Unaccented probe tones showed the reverse pattern. Most subjects organized the patterns according to a three-level hierarchy for triple meter and a four-level hieracrchy for quadruple meter. [Work supported by NSF.]