2pMUb6. Rate change effects on the performance of musical sequences.

Session: Tuesday Afternoon, May 14

Time: 3:25

Author: Rosalee K. Meyer
Author: Caroline Palmer
Location: Ohio State Univ., Columbus, OH 43210
Author: Leonard B. Meyer
Location: Univ. of Pennsylvania


Changes in presentation rate can cause perceptual reorganization of rhythmic structure in music. This finding is extended to music performance. One music-theoretic explanation suggests that larger-scale structures such as meter are perceptually prominent at fast rates and smaller-scale structure such as segmentation of event sequences into groups are perceptually prominent at slow rates. In contrast, theories of motor programming predict that event durations during performance should remain proportionally constant across rate changes (relational invariance). In an initial study, pianists performed the same musical sequence at different rates with different grouping structures. Interactions of grouping and sequence rate on component note durations support the music-theoretic explanation of perceptual reorganization and suggest why relational invariance fails in complex behaviors. However, the role of tactus (perceptually prominent beat level) was not considered in this study; perception of tactus differs across presentation rates. The interaction of tactus with rate changes in perceptual reorganization of musical structure is investigated in a performance task. It is predicted that higher tactus levels (longer beat durations) are emphasized (more accurate, less variable) at fast rates and lower tactus levels (shorter durations) are emphasized at slow rates. [Work supported by NIMH R29-MH45764.]

from ASA 131st Meeting, Indianapolis, May 1996