Cross-modal melodic contour similarity

Jon B. Prince, Mark A. Schmuckler, William Forde Thompson

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    In two experiments participants rated the similarity of melodic contours presented as auditory (melodies) and visual (line drawings) stimuli. Longer melodies were assessed in Experiment 1 (M = 35 notes); shorter melodies were assessed in Experiment 2 (M = 17 notes). Ratings for matched auditory and visual contours exceeded ratings for mismatched contours, confirming cross-modal sensitivity to contour. The degree of overlap of the surface structure (the relative position of peaks and troughs), and the strength and timing of the cyclical information (the amplitude and phase spectra produced by a Fourier analysis) in the contours predicted cross-modal similarity ratings. Factors such as the order of stimulus presentation (auditory-visual or visual-auditory), melody length (long versus short), and musical experience also affected the perceived similarity of contours. Results validate the applicability of existing contour models to cross-modal contexts and reveal additional factors that contribute to cross-modal contour similarity.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)35-49
    Number of pages15
    JournalCanadian Acoustics - Acoustique Canadienne
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009


    Dive into the research topics of 'Cross-modal melodic contour similarity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this