Soft/loud grouping patterns (KEVIN AUSTIN )

Subject: Soft/loud grouping patterns
Date:    Fri, 9 Jul 1999 07:31:31 -0400

Thank you for this thread. Sorry if my comments are a bit 'off-topic' for AUDITORY, but clearly many of the finest, most integrative minds in this field cohabit here. >Subject: Re: effect of loudness on perceived duration >>According to Handel, Fraisse explained this in his 1956 book as an >>effect of grouping: >>1. the louder events group with following quieter events .... [big snip] I am reminded of the shift that occured in pop/rock in the 60s that was somewhat generational. At folk festivals, the 'age' of the listener was often apparent as to whether they clapped along by clapping on beats 1 & 3, or with the 'backbeat', 2 & 4. "Ol' timers" would clap on the 'strong beats', the "young'uns" would clap on the off beat, as picked up from rock influences. >>1. Is there a general underlying principle operating here? Why would >>louder events group with following quieter events rather than preceding >>quieter events? Perhaps the epitome of 'quiet-loud' grouping is the 1977 song by Queen, "We Will Rock You", where the song is based on a pattern of we-we-sq (we = weak eighth, sq = strong quarter). As an aside, this e/e/q (and its doppleganger q/e/e) pattern has fascinated me from a musical perspective. While Queen was reinforcing the pattern noted above, the 'Disco' scene was re-inventing the strong down beat. They were using the q/e/e pattern with the 'q' being the strong (and down-) beat. [The Village People {YMCA}, may have been influenced by the Quebecois style of fiddle playing where the q/e/e pattern was reinforced by Coke bottle caps nailed to the souls of the fiddler. !!?? <8-()>>] In musical contexts, there would appear to be another layer of grouping applied to the loud/soft grouping. Culture and context may be significant here, for, as I hear the opening of the Mozart G minor Symphony (#40), the grouping is also w/w/s (with /s/ being the ascending minor 6th), spread out over several measures. >In sum, events which are Longer, Louder or more Legato tend to group with >following events. A sensory memory mechanism, such as proposed above, can >account >for this (and incidently forward and backward masking). This may be how Brahms (1st movement, Fourth Symphony) plays with the mind in 'cross-referencing' legato - weak/strong patterns. (oops, There's that descending third [ascending sixth] pattern that links these two movements!) Best Kevin kaustin(at)

This message came from the mail archive
maintained by:
DAn Ellis <>
Electrical Engineering Dept., Columbia University