Sensitivity to combinations of musical parameters

Pitch with duration, and pitch pattern with durational pattern

William Forde Thompson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In four experiments, listeners' sensitivity to combinations of pitch and duration was investigated. Experiments 1-3 involved "textures" of notes, which were created by repeatedly sounding one of two notes (e.g., C 4 quarter note; D 4 eighth note), so that each note had an equal chance of occurring at any point within a texture. Experiment 1 showed that if a texture change was effected by introducing a pitch or duration that was not in the initial texture, the change was perceived by both attentive and distracted listeners. If a texture change was effected by combining the pitch of one note with the duration of the other note in the initial texture, and vice versa, it was perceived only if the listeners were attentive. Sensitivity to pitch/duration combinations was poorer when the pitch difference between component notes of textures was increased (Experiment 2), but it was better when the difference in duration between component notes was increased (Experiment 3). In Experiment 4, listeners' sensitivity to combinations of pitch pattern and durational pattern in brief sequences was examined. Listeners were sensitive to the manner in which parameter patterns were combined when they were attentive, but not when they were distracted. The results are discussed in view of featureintegration theory and its application to music cognition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-374
Number of pages12
JournalPerception and Psychophysics
Volume56
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 1994
Externally publishedYes

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