ASA 125th Meeting Ottawa 1993 May

4aMU7. Rhythm and musical tuning joined in the minds of infants.

Michael P. Lynch

Dept. of Audiol. & Speech Sci., 1353 Heavilon Hall, Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN 47907-1353

Perceptual grouping in music occurs in the context of tuning relations of musical scales, but perceptual relations between rhythm and tuning have received limited study. Because evidence suggests infants perceive rhythm, an important question is whether tuning interacts in the developing mind with other factors contributing to perceptual grouping. Six- and 12-month-old infants detected elongations of silence intervals in 6-note stimuli consisting of two 3-note triads from either the Western major (often heard), Western augmented (seldom heard), or Javanese pelog (culturally foreign) scales. The 2 triads in each stimulus were 1 octave apart, with either the first triad an octave above the second triad, or the reverse. Therefore, the latter but not the former stimuli conformed to the Gestalt principle of good continuation. Elongations of silence intervals were after either the third (between-group) or fourth (within-group) note. Six-month-olds and 12-month-olds performed reliably better than chance only in the testing conditions involving good continuation, and the 12-month-olds' performance was reliably best in the condition involving also within-group silence elongation and the Western major triad. These findings suggest that good continuation and infants' perceptual knowledge of tuning characteristics interacted in their perception of auditory groupings. [Work supported by NICHD Grant No. HD28527.]