ASA 127th Meeting M.I.T. 1994 June 6-10

4aMU10. Does expressive timing remain relationally invariant under global tempo transformations?

Bruno H. Repp

Haskins Labs., 270 Crown St., New Haven, CT 06511-6695

Measurements of tone interonset intervals in pianists' performances of Schumann's ``Traumerei'' at three different tempi [B. H. Repp, Psychol. Res. (in press)] have suggested approximate relational invariance of expressive timing, but with a tendency towards reduced temporal contrast (relative modulation depth) at a faster tempo. In this study a perceptual test was assembled by manipulating global tempo (3 levels) and degree of temporal contrast (5 levels) independently in a single MIDI-recorded performance of ``Traumerei.'' Skilled pianist subjects rated the resulting 15 performances on a 10-point scale. The question was whether the same degree of temporal contrast would be preferred at all three tempi (suggesting relational invariance), or whether an interaction would emerge, such that smaller degrees of contrast are preferred at faster tempi. The results may speak to the adequacy of simple tempo controls on MIDI instruments or in performance synthesis. [Work supported by NIMH.]