Re: maximum 'tatum' speed perception (Jeff Bilmes )

Subject: Re: maximum 'tatum' speed perception
From:    Jeff Bilmes  <bilmes(at)CROW.EE.WASHINGTON.EDU>
Date:    Mon, 8 Apr 2002 12:39:26 -0700

In the message dated Mon, 08 Apr 2002 12:28:32 PDT Bruno Repp <repp(at)ALVIN.HASKINS.YALE.EDU> writes: > >--============_-1193828382==_ma============ >Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii" ; format="flowed" > >(Revised version of a message I sent last week to Brian only.) > >In response to Brian Whitman's question: > >It depends on what you mean by "identify". If you mean either the >ability to count the number of events accurately or to synchronize a >motor activity (such as finger taps) with selected events, then the >rate limit seems to be 8-10 Hz. Regarding the counting limit, see > >Taubman, R. E. (1950a). Studies in judged number: I. The judgment of >auditory number. Journal of General Psychology, 43, 167-194. > >Regarding the rate limit for sensorimotor synchronization, I have >investigated this in a recent study, which has been submitted for >publication. I'd be happy to send the manuscript to anyone who is >interested. See also > >Bartlett, N. R., & Bartlett, S. C. (1959). Synchronization of a motor >response with an anticipated sensory event. Psychological Review, 66, >203-218. > >At rates faster than 8-10 Hz, it seems to be difficult or impossible >to respond to successive sounds as individual events. 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). In many "grove"-based musical settings, the tatum rate of an ensemble of musicians can also far exceed 10Hz --- there are numerous examples in Jazz and African-based music (and classical, think of Liszt, or even Chopin to name but a few) where this is the case (I believe this was also mentioned by Jim Beauchamp earlier in the thread). 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. It would even differ within groups of trained musicians depending on the style of music in which they were trained, the degree to which they were trained in that style, the specific rhythmic pattern that is used to convey the tatum rate to the musician (e.g., rhythmic density and syncopation), how the perception of tatum rate is elicited from the musician, and the musician's own individual preferences. The variances of the measure of this rate therefore would be somewhat high unless one were to carefully control for these confounding factors. I hope someone conducts (and is able to get funding :) for such a study at some point. Cheers, -- Jeff +======================================================================+ | Jeff A. Bilmes, Assistant Professor | | Dept. of EE Voice: (206) 221-5236 | | University of Washington FAX: (206) 543-3842 | | Box 352500 Email: bilmes(at) | | Seattle, WA 98195-2500 | +======================================================================+

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