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Re: maximum 'tatum' speed perception

On Mon Apr  8 14:51:35 2002 Jeff Bilmes <bilmes@CROW.EE.WASHINGTON.EDU>
> Actually, I would surmise that 8-10Hz is a fairly large underestimate
> of the maximum rate at which tatum perception can occur. Certainly Art
> Tatum, for whom the term tatum was named, had a tatum rate that far
> exceeded 10Hz (it was probably around 13-16Hz, or possibly higher).
> I'm not aware of any studies that thoroughly measure the maximum
> 'tatum' rate, but I would guess that it would differ significantly
> between musicians and non-musicians.

Achieving a high tempo rate in performance is definitely non-trivial.
It's one thing to be able to play fast notes; it's another to be able
to play these notes in synchronous with a fast tempo. (I'm not sure
whether a "tatum" represents the tempo pulses or the notes within
these pulses.) I know that in my former life as a trumpet player that
inability to perform at fast tempos was one of my great failures. I
also know that from talking to jazz musicians, that if they are out of
practice, relatively-speaking, they have to spend a fair amount of time
to "work up" to the fast tempos.

This is what's happening on the performance side. What one can
perceive is a different story. If we could play all the things that
we hear, life would be fabulous. Some composers have programmed
note sequences for player piano and computer which are deemed too
fast for human performers, and yet many listeners still appreciate the
music. Conlon Nancarrow comes to mind: