We report an investigation of humans' musical learning ability using a novel musical system. We designed an artificial musical system based on the Bohlen-Pierce scale, a scale very different from Western music. Melodies were composed from chord progressions in the new scale by applying the rules of a finite-state grammar. After exposing participants to sets of melodies, we conducted listening tests to assess learning, including recognition tests, generalization tests, and subjective preference ratings. In Experiment 1, participants were presented with 15 melodies 27 times each. Forced choice results showed that participants were able to recognize previously encountered melodies and generalize their knowledge to new melodies, suggesting internalization of the musical grammar.
Preference ratings showed no differentiation among familiar, new, and ungrammatical melodies. In Experiment 2, participants were given 10 melodies 40 times each. Results showed superior recognition but unsuccessful generalization. Additionally, preference ratings were significantly higher for familiar melodies. Results from the two experiments suggest that humans can internalize the grammatical structure of a new musical system following exposure to a sufficiently large set size of melodies, but musical preference results from repeated exposure to a small number of items. This dissociation between grammar learning and preference will be further discussed.
This article discusses the extension of the notion of context from linguistics to the domain of music. In language, the statistical regularity known as Zipf's law -which concerns the frequency of usage of different words- has been quantitatively related to the process of text generation. This connection is established by Simon's model, on the basis of a few assumptions regarding the accompanying creation of context. Here, it is shown that the statistics of note usage in musical compositions are compatible with the predictions of Simon's model. This result, which gives objective support to the conceptual likeness of context in language and music, is obtained through automatic analysis of the digital versions of several compositions. As a by-product, a quantitative measure of context definiteness is introduced and used to compare tonal and atonal works.
Hors des placements habituels de l'informatique dans le domaine de la musique et de Ja musicologie, on constate depuis peu l'apparition de systèmes hommes-machines qui manifestent leur existence en rupture avec une tradition certes encore jeune, mais déjà operante.
Car si ces systèmes singuliers opèrent incontestablement dans les champs d'expansion usuels de la musique, ne font aucune référence systèmatique aux catégories musicologiques connues. Au contraire, les expérimentations qu'ils rendent possibles inaugurent des usages où l'écoute. la composition et la transmission musicales se confondent dans un geste parfois qualifié de “music-ripping”.
Nous montrerons en quoi les pratiques de “music-ripping” provoquent la musicologie traditionnelle, dont les catégories canoniques s'avèrent ici impuissantes au compte rendu.
Pour ce faire, il nous faudra:
expliciter un jeu de catégories minimal qui suffise à sous-tendre lesmodeles usuels de la musique assistée par ordinateur; faire de même pour les systèmes hommes-machines (anti-musicologiques?) dont l'existence nous trouble; examiner les conditions de possibilité de réduction du second ensemble catégorial au premier; conclure sur la nature du “music-ripping”.
The performance of dotted rhythms has received considerable scholarly attention in the recent past. Historical musicologists mostly examined it in the context of baroque performance practice while music psychologists studied it primarily in relation to rhythm perception or emotion in music. This paper builds on our previous work that examined the perception of dotting in 34 commercial recordings of Bach's
Goldberg Variations and its role in defining perceived musical character. In this study we compare this earlier data of perceived dotting, articulation and tempo with newly measured performed dotting, articulation and tempo in the same 34 recordings. We also investigate the relationship between performed parameters and judged musical character. Correlation analysis indicates a difference between performed and perceived dotting. It also shows that in a baroque piece of music where dotted rhythms are prevalent, performed dotting contributes less to judged musical character than do performed articulation and tempo. The results demonstrate that perceived dotting and judged character are at least as dependent on articulation and tempo as on performed dotting. On the basis of these findings the paper posits that the "dottedness" of an interpretation is more a judgment of musical character than an assessment of rhythmic execution. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Our aim in this paper is to clarify the range of motivations that have inspired the development of computer programs for the composition of music. We consider this to be important since different methodologies are appropriate for different motivations and goals. We argue that a widespread failure to specify the motivations and goals involved has lead to a methodological malaise in music related research. A brief consideration of some of the earliest attempts to produce computational systems for the composition of music leads us to identify four activities involving the development of computer programs which compose music each of which is inspired by different practical or theoretical motivations. These activities are algorithmic composition, the design of compositional tools, the computational modelling of musical styles and the computational modelling of music cognition. We consider these four motivations in turn, illustrating the problems that have arisen from failing to distinguish between them. We propose a terminology that clearly differentiates the activities defined by the four motivations and present methodological suggestions for research in each domain. While it is clearly important for researchers to embrace developments in related disciplines, we argue that research in the four domains will continue to stagnate unless the motivations and aims of research projects are clearly stated and appropriate methodologies are adopted for developing and evaluating systems that compose music.
Reporting on work carried out in conjunction with Andrew Earis and Craig Sapp, this paper introduces recently developed approaches to the analysis of recorded music, illustrating them in terms of selected Chopin mazurkas. Topics covered include the stylistic characterisation and aesthetic values of Paderewski's playing of Op. 17 No. 4, contrasted with performances from the last quarter of the twentieth century, as well as relationships between different pianists' interpretations of Op. 68 No. 3. A possible performance genealogy of performances of the latter is proposed, in which recordings by Rubinstein and Cortot play a key role, while clustering based on Pearson correlation of tempo data yields relationships supported in one instance by documented teacher/pupil relationships. Representing the early outcomes of a more extended research project, these findings are encouraging in that it appears possible to draw meaningful conclusions from the consideration only of tempo data. The current phase of the project is also working with rhythmic and dynamic data, which should significantly enhance the potential for objective modelling of musically meaningful relationships. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
The infant's environment is filled with musical input. Mothers' speech to infants is music-like, exhibiting a variety of musical features that reflect its emotional expressiveness. Although this speech has similar melodic contours across cultures, which reflect comparable expressive intentions, each mother has individually distinctive interval patterns or speech tunes. Mothers also sing to infants in an emotive manner, their repeated performances being unusually stable in pitch and tempo. Infants prefer affectively positive speech to affectively neutral speech, and they prefer infant-directed performances of songs to other performances. When infants are presented with audio-visual versions of their mother's speech and singing, they exhibit more sustained interest in the singing than in the speech episodes. Finally, live maternal singing has more sustained effects on infant arousal than does live maternal speech. This article discusses the implications of these findings and suggests directions for future research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Using a questionnaire, 98 music experts were asked to report on their affective, cognitive, and physiological reactions to a piece of music they recently heard and that struck them as having produced an emotional response. In addition, participants were also asked to rate the relative importance of a list of musical and extramusical features that could have contributed to their reactions. A coding system was developed to organize and quantify the freely reported reactions. With respect to bodily symptoms, the most frequent reactions included semi-physiological variables such as tears and shivers, cardiovascular symptoms, and incitement to motor action such as jumping or dancing. With respect to subjective experiences or feelings, reports such as feeling nostalgic, charmed, moved, or aroused were more frequent than reports of "basic" emotions such as sadness, anger, joy, or fear. Musical structure was given the highest rating of the list of potential determinants, but technical, acoustical, and interpretational features also received high ratings. The authors discuss how these results and their conceptual elaboration can provide a guide for more systematic investigation of emotion induction via music. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
The aim of this exploratory study was to (a) test the viability of the Experience Sampling Method (ESM) as a means of identifying unfolding episodes of everyday musical experience, (b) examine the consistency of situations where music listening occurs by comparing the findings of previous studies involving retrospective data, and (c) investigate the extent to which degree of personal choice over the music and psychological outcomes, such as mood change, are associated with participants' descriptions of the functions of music in particular contexts. Eight non-musicians (aged 16–40 yrs) were asked to carry an electronic pager with them for a 1-week period. A remote computer activated the pagers once at random in every 2-hour period between 0800 and 2200 hrs. On each paging, participants were asked to stop what they were doing as soon as practicable and complete a diary of self-report forms with open-ended and scaled items, allowing "on the spot" thoughts and feelings in real life everyday situations to be recorded as sequential episodes. At the end of the week, each respondent was individually interviewed. Results indicated that the ESM is a robust method for exploring daily musical experiences. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
This article investigates the possible existence and nature of a "music module" in working memory after Baddeley (1986) and Berz (1995). Evidence is gleaned from the performance of a prodigious musical savant in hearing and playing back an unfamiliar piece. His ability to realise internalised auditory images of considerable complexity on the keyboard with immediacy and an unusual technical facility offers a rare opportunity to glean something of the workings of the musical mind in a direct and ecologically valid way--through purely
musical responses. These are subject to an initial musicological analysis using "zygonic" theory (Ockelford, 2005a, 2005b), which seeks to explain how the structure and content of the savant's output is derived from the stimulus and from other sources, and how both are woven into a coherent musical whole. The underlying methodological assumption is that the perceived sonic relationships so identified offer powerful evidence of processes that are hypothesised to underlie the learning, storage and retrieval of musical elements in cognition. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
In the first part of the paper a theoretical discussion is presented regarding the fundamental concept of similarity and its relation to cue abstraction and categorisation. It is maintained that similarity is by definition context-dependent and strongly interrelated to cue abstraction and categorisation. Emphasis is given to determining the “musical surface” that can act as a musically pertinent lowest level of abstraction on which similarity between musical entities can be measured. Then, each of these concepts is examined in more detail with respect to a number of research studies presented in the recent special issue of Musicæ Scientiæ on musical similarity (Discussion Forum 4A, 2007). Views claiming that a geometric piano-roll-like representation is the most appropriate choice for polyphonic pattern matching, or that musical repetition is structurally significant if at least fifty percent of a pattern is equivalent (i.e. if it is more similar than dissimilar), or that “dramatic disparities” between musical similarities and corresponding categories can be found in empirical studies, are critically re-examined with a view to clarifying the fundamental concept of similarity.
The keyboard melodic improvisations of 6–11-year-old children (N = 36) were explored for age-related development and representational types of production. The hypotheses were founded on a model of musical development by the present author. The participants heard a 24-bar ABA-formed piano-bass-percussion- accompaniment. Section A was tonal and section B was modal, lacking the tonic. Age was a significant factor in the development of the tonal hierarchy. The 6–7-year-old children's general emphasis was on the first five tones of the diatonic scale. The 8–9-year-old children preferred tones present in both sections (event hierarchical orientation). In the 10–11-year-old children's products, the tonic triad was prominent throughout the piece. The profiles of all age groups correlated positively and significantly with Krumhansl & Kessler's (1982) tonal profile, cultural models and the distribution of tones of the accompaniment. The number of rhythm motives and variations was positively correlated with age. Metre affected the selection of tones in all age groups. Age was positively correlated with the strongest beat of the measure. Several representational types were found. As the model predicted, the hierarchical structures of tonal music developed sequentially: In the first substage, children focused on either melodic-rhythmic surface or deep structures (tonality, metre); in the next substage, surface and deep structures began to coordinate, and in the final substage, they were fully integrated.
Although the Columbia brand name has a long and distinguished history as a record label, it only reflected the work of an independent commercial organization in the United Kingdom between 1923 and 1931. At all other times it was part of a larger body. This article considers the work and achievements of the Columbia Graphophone Company during this short period, and assesses its influence, particularly in relation to the classical music repertoire and the performers who committed their interpretations to disc. The commercial and cultural impact of the merger of this company in 1931 with its rival, the Gramophone Company, to form Electric and Musical Industries Ltd. (EMI), is then considered, together with the longer-term influence of the American media industrialist, David Sarnoff, the chief executive officer of RCA-Victor and a board member of the Gramophone Company and of EMI at this time.
This paper draws on research into the National Gramophonic Society (N.G.S.), a British record label of the 1920s which specialized in chamber music. Existing accounts of the early development of the record industry concentrate on the production and marketing of recordings; they also address the reception of recordings but on very broad scales, chiefly in the field of popular music, and mainly through the writings of prominent critics. Early consumers of recorded music have received less attention, yet their testimonies tell us much about the crucial developments of the 1920s, when innovative technology and marketing persuaded many lovers of “classical” music to accept the gramophone. Because it operated by subscription, the N.G.S. can be used, in the manner of a historical microscope, to focus on individual listeners during this period and study their backgrounds, motivations, tastes and habits. Some transferred to the gramophone existing practices from music, literature and other cultural spheres; for others, records offered engagement with and appreciation of types of music which had previously been inaccessible.
The octave illusion was first described by Diana Deutsch in 1974; in this phenomenon, a dichotic sequence of oscillating 400 and 800 Hz sinusoidal tones evokes different illusory percepts. At the same time, the obtained percepts were found to be dependent on the subjects’ handedness. This study investigates the influence of the handedness classification method on the correlation between reported percept and handedness in the octave illusion. After presenting the stimulus, we asked a total of 174 subjects to report their percepts and complete a handedness inventory as well as a speed tapping task. According to the right shift theory of Annett (1972, 2002) and a related study by Kopiez, Galley, and Lehmann (2010), we hypothesized that the use of performance measurement to classify handedness may clarify ambiguous correlations of subjects’ handedness with some obtained illusionary percepts. The results support the general findings of Deutsch but show that stronger effects can be found if hand performance differences are used for handedness classification. A better separation between the handedness groups could be observed, especially for the complex perception patterns.
This is a replication and further interpretation of Holbrook and Schindler’s study “Some Exploratory Findings on the Development of Musical Tastes” from 1989. Holbrook and Schindler’s investigation has been widely acknowledged in music psychology as well as in consumer research and has helped further the assumption that people generally cling to music and other cultural objects they get to know in late adolescence/early adulthood. In the current replication study, a peak in musical preference across song-specific age could be confirmed, but it shifted from 23.47 years in the original study to 17.36 years in the replication. This could possibly be explained by subjects’ earlier exposure to music and increased media familiarity. However, it could be shown that preferences at these peaks do not significantly differ from preferences at other ages. Also, the inverted U-shaped curve featured in the original study could not be observed among individuals’ ratings, which tend to prefer music which is either gradually older or else gradually younger than themselves. The U-shaped curve seems to emerge as an artefact of combining two types of rather linear data into one chart. In fact, no empirical evidence remains to sustain the overall cultural assumption which has its basis in Holbrook and Schindler’s study. It might still be valid, as evidenced by people having experienced the generation effect individually, but alternative research strategies will have to be developed to provide its empirical confirmation.
In a widely cited study, Levitin (1994) suggested the existence of absolute pitch memory for music in the general population beyond the rare trait of genuine absolute pitch (AP). In his sample, a significant proportion of non-AP possessors were able to reproduce absolute pitch levels when asked to sing very familiar pop songs from memory. Forty-four percent of participants sang the correct pitch on at least one of two trials, and 12% were correct on both trials. However, until now, no replication of this study has ever been published. The current paper presents the results of a large replication endeavour across six different labs in Germany and the UK. All labs used the same methodology, carefully replicating Levitin’s original experiment. In each lab, between 40 and 50 participants were tested (N = 277). Participants were asked to sing two different pop songs of their choice. All sung productions were compared to the original songs. Twenty-five percent of the participants sang the exact pitch of at least one of the two chosen songs and 4% hit the right pitches for both songs. Our results generally confirm the findings of Levitin (1994). However, the results differ considerably across laboratories, and the estimated overall effect using meta-analysis techniques was significantly smaller than Levitin’s original result. This illustrates the variability of empirical findings derived from small sample sizes and corroborates the need for replication and meta-analytical studies in music psychology in general.
Performances of the same piece can differ from one another in innumerable ways and for many different reasons. The aim of the current study is to analyze the timing and dynamic patterns of a large sample of performances in order to explore the musical reasons for both the occurrence of such patterns and the differences in their location and characteristics. The investigation focuses on twenty-nine performances of Chopin's Mazurka Op. 24 No. 2, which features clear four-bar phrases and correspondingly consistent sectional units, but which also has characteristics such as a steady crotchet accompaniment that remain constant throughout. This results in a potential tension between “through-performed” and sectionalized features. In this study we examine the performances accordingly, investigating the relationship between the work's structural and thematic characteristics on the one hand and the timing and dynamic characteristics of performances on the other. Following this, we narrow our investigation of these and other features by undertaking a comparative analysis of three recordings by the same performer, Artur Rubinstein. A toolkit of methods is employed, including an approach that has been little used for this purpose: Self-Organizing Maps. This method enables the systematic analysis and comparison of different performances by identifying recurrent expressive patterns and their location within the respective performances. The results show that, in general, the structure of the performed music emerges from and is defined by the performance patterns. Particular patterns occur in a range of contexts, and this may reflect the structural and/or thematic status of the locations in question. Whereas the performance patterns at section ends seem to be most closely related to the large-scale structural context, however, those within some sections apparently arise from typical features of the mazurka genre. Performances by the same performer over a 27-year span are characterized by striking similarities as well as differences on a global level in terms of the patterns themselves as well as the use thereof.
This paper presents an analysis of the fourth of the six variations which make up the first movement of Webern's String Quartet, opus 28. It demonstrates the composer's exploitation of a particular kind of ambiguity, characteristic of the paradigm shift in European musical tradition which occurred in the 1890s, and which operates at both the compositional and the cognitive level. This change of paradigm constitutes a challenge to a central tenet of the tonal system, which holds that all music should refer unequivocally in its organisation to a single and precise mode of structuring of pitch space. Indeed, in one respect, the passage in question shows the composer's overwhelming concern with achieving precise and rigorous control of the pitch relations operating within atonal space through the use of a compositional “device” designed to effect a symmetrical distribution of all the notes around well-defined centres of symmetry by means of the 12-note row. At the same time, however, the actual manifestation of the musical statement presents a number of “tonal* configurations, whose nature and spacing invoke a mode of structuring of the pitch space based on an asymmetrical division of the octave, where the fifth is hierarchically dominant. By exploiting the possibility of drawing on these two distinct and even opposing musical idioms, such music requires the acceptance of a cognitive model which invalidates Lerdahl's principle of the homogeneous structuring of pitch space.
Ninety-eight undergraduate music students rated thirty-four commercial sound recordings of Bach's variation 7 from the Goldberg Variations in an attempt to better understand the relationship between performance features and perceived musical character. The movement is in 6/8 and is characterised by a repeating dotted pattern. The piece is known to be played to express a variety of musical characters because of the two versions of the piece, one implying a pastorale interpretation, the other a gigue. Past literature predicted the performance of dotting to be the most important determining factor in establishing musical character in eighteenth century compositions where dotted patterns prevail. However, recent research suggests that the perception of dotting is convoluted by articulation and tempo. Using clustering techniques, five distinct and varied musical characters were evoked consistently across the performances (each cluster represented by the word bright, playful, delicate, majestic or agitated), as judged by the participants using an adjective checklist. The same participants rated the following performance features: tempo, articulation, dotting and loudness. Each of these features made statistically significant contributions in distinguishing between character clusters. However, dotting made a relatively small contribution. Regression analysis indicated that 65% of variation in judged dotting response could be explained as a linear combination of articulation and tempo. The study suggests that reducing musical character to dotting neglects the more significant contribution made by articulation, tempo and loudness.
For many authors absolute pitch represents a perceptual modality which is independent of and opposed to relative pitch. However, much recent research has highlighted the complexity of the human musical ear, and evidence shows that the two perceptual modalities tend to overlap: aspects of each can be found in the other. The existence of partial absolute pitch, evident since the outset of research into this topic, helps to endorse the notion of a broader concept of absolute pitch than had previously been imagined. Considering absolute pitch as limited by register, timbre, pitch class, or any combination of these factors, the number of people possessing absolute pitch would increase considerably. This article reports results of a pitch identification task administered to 88 higher-level music conservatoire students, showing that a high percentage of them possess some form of absolute pitch. The results lead us to propose a more systematic way of dealing with the sound parameters that affect pitch identification, which can then be used to evaluate and improve ear training in music schools and conservatoires.
We often say that musicians who possess absolute pitch, have an acute ear. This acute ear is associated with an exceptional ability of discrimination, a greater sensitivity to smaller difference of pitch. We present two experiments. The first is an identification task. It aims at revealing the possession of absolute pitch. Fifty-seven students from musical school or/and musicology students are asked to identify and put on a stave the musical tones they hear. Three groups are then formed: the absolute pitch possessors, the partial absolute pitch possessors and the absolute pitch non-possessors. We show that several factors such as pitch class and quality of tone modify the accuracy of identification. The second part of this work is dedicated to the perception of the pitch height. An experiment of measure of threshold allows us to show that the acuity of absolute pitch possessors is the same as the acuity of non-possessors of such a skill. Moreover, musical training does not lead to an increase of discriminative ability.
The construct of absorption (effortless engagement) has been the subject of a small number of discipline-specific studies of involvement, including music. This paper reports the results of an empirical project that compared psychological qualities of absorption in everyday music listening scenarios with characteristics of non-music-related involvement. Absorption was located in “real-world” settings, and experiences across different activities in a variety of contexts were tapped as soon as possible after they occurred. The inquiry was designed to test two assumptions that have underpinned previous absorption research: first, that certain activities are inherently particularly absorbing; second, that absorption is best conceptualized primarily as a trait as opposed to a state. Twenty participants kept diaries for two weeks, recording descriptions of involving experiences of any kind. Eight weeks after submitting descriptive reports they completed the Modified Tellegen Absorption Scale (Jamieson, 2005). Diaries indicated that different activities shared a subset of involving features, and confirmed the importance of multi-sensory perception and the imaginative faculty to absorbed experiences. Music may be a particularly effective agent in the facilitation of absorption because it affords multiple potential entry points to involvement (acoustic attributes, source specification, entrainment, emotion, fusion of modalities) and because its semantic malleability makes it adaptable to a variety of circumstances. The MODTAS provided insufficient evidence for establishing correlations between state and trait absorption. It is argued that state and trait divisions are constructs that are inherently problematic.
The rhythmic structure of naturally occurring mother-infant vocal interaction was analysed within three different cultural contexts. Previous research suggests that rhythm is used universally to facilitate the sharing of affect and meaning. Well-timed mother-infant communication is thought to permit a particular form of direct mind-to-mind communication. The purpose of the study was to ascertain whether one of the functions of this “intersubjective” communication is to allow culturally significant experiences to be shared at a non-verbal and affect-bound level. The main hypothesis was that changes in the cultural identity of the mother, and her sense of emotional security, would significantly affect the rhythmic organisation of non-verbal vocal interaction. Out of thirty-six mother-infant dyads studied, twelve were from India and lived in India, twelve were from India and lived in France, and twelve were from France and lived in France. The results suggest that immigrant dyads have significantly less well-timed vocal interactions than non-immigrant dyads and that this is due to an identity confusion on the part of the immigrant mother. Other factors that may influence the rhythmicity of the vocal interactions of immigrant dyads were examined. Results also highlighted cultural differences in the nature and form of the mothers' vocalisations.
A within-subjects study of non-music major university students and retirees aimed to measure the extent of flow, sense of self, achievement, identity, satisfaction and ownership experienced during the creation of personally meaningful songs. Twenty-six participants randomized into three groups created three artefacts (lyrics only, song parody, original song) each facilitated by a trained music therapist. Flow experiences during song creation were strong, and when compared with previous studies, were substantially higher than for sporting activities, dancing, yoga and performing music. Original songwriting yielded more meaningful songs when compared with lyric writing and song parody. We determined that there was a significant predictive relationship between the degree of flow experienced and the meaningfulness of the song creation. We conclude that song creation experiences generate high levels of flow in young and old participants and the degree of flow achieved predicts how meaningful the artefacts will be post-creation.
Abstract Mother-Infant communication that satisfies both partners exhibits various musical elements. In cases where the mother is suffering from postnatal depression, qualities of rhythmic attunement, reciprocity and overall satisfaction with the interaction all decline. This case study reports detailed acoustic analysis of vocal interactions between a depressed mother and her infant at eight weeks and six months of age, and compares these with the same analysis of a healthy dyad at matching ages. Results showed the depressed mother to produce quieter, lower-pitched vocalisations, punctuated by longer pauses. Disruption was also evident in the depressed mother's turn-taking behaviour. Matching of pitch, low arousal, less “joining in” and negative mood states in the infant of the depressed mother suggested corresponding low affect in the baby. These characteristics of the depressed dyad's communication improved as clinical symptoms declined. Both dyads showed periodicity in timing of interactions, but this was considerably slower and less co-ordinated in the depressed pair. The control dyad produced more evidence of reciprocal, happy communication with regular timing and “singing” voice quality. These results present preliminary evidence of the importance of objectively defined features of communicative musicality in healthy, reciprocal interactions, and they highlight the part played by an innate pulse and shared timing within a musical framework in the organisation of the motives that regulate infant behaviours.
Musical learning and training appear to have large cross-domain transfer effects: they are beneficial in various cognitive domains including language. The present study aimed to examine the role of musical expertise in how musical and linguistic information contained in songs is used. However, as the superiority of musicians could be attributed to improvements in executive functions (e.g., Bialystok & DePape, 2009), we tried to isolate the role of musical training by comparing music experts to both non-experts and language experts. To this end we used the tasks proposed by Schön and colleagues (2008), who compared artificial language learning (ALL) based on spoken sequences to ALL based on sung sequences. These authors concluded that songs, more than speech, allow fast and strong learning. In contrast to Schön et al. (2008), the benefit of ALL based on songs was not found among non-experts in our study. However, there was a highly significant interaction between type of expertise and materials. The music experts were the only group to benefit from the matching of linguistic and musical information, hence showing a different profile than language experts. The present data thus confirm the specificity of transfer effects linked to musical expertise.
Although certain parallels can be drawn between written language and notation in music — both use arbitrary visual symbols to notate the salient aspects of a sound pattern, the purpose of each notational system differs markedly. While the primary function of written language is to carry referential meaning, the primary function of musical notation is to carry instructions for the production of a musical performance. Music reading thus lies at the interface between perception and action and provides an ecological model with which to study how visual instructions influence the motor system. The studies presented in this article investigate how musical symbols on the page are decoded into a musical response, from both a cognitive and neurological perspective. The results of a musical Stroop paradigm are described, in which musical notation was present but irrelevant for task performance. The presence of musical notation produced systematic effects on reaction time, demonstrating that reading of the written note, as well as the written word, is obligatory for those who are musically literate. Spatial interference tasks are also described which suggest that music reading, at least for the pianist, can be characterized as a set of vertical to horizontal mappings. These behavioural findings are mirrored by the results of an fMRI training study in which musically untrained adults were taught to read music and play piano keyboard over a period of three months. Learning-specific changes were seen in superior parietal cortex and supramarginal gyrus, areas which are known to be involved in spatial sensorimotor transformations and preparation of learned actions respectively.
The point of view adopted here is different from those that underlie the approaches of the other papers in this volume. Radically hermeneutic, based on psychoanalytic concepts and theories, its purpose is to reinstate a possible sense of the famous cor anglais melody at the start of Act II of Tristan, all in the relocating it in a triplet of contexts, that of the whole opera, that of the general Wagnerian oeuvre and that of the external agencies that impacted on Wagner in the course of the composition of Tristan, in particular the exceptional psychical experience linked with the composition of Novalis's Hymnes à la Nuit. Indeed, by its nature this interpretation may be disputed, even rejected, or indefinitely continued to completion by other interpretations. Nevertheless, this article is devoted to demonstrating that certain interpretations are not possible because they are manifestly in contradiction with known and with novel facts that have been overlooked or ignored. Or again because, reliance on these same facts nevertheless generates contradictions. In this spirit the solo is interpreted as a symbol of the fear of ultimate loss that characterises certain psychical structures described by Winnicott and that one can equally uncover in the composition of Novalis's Hymnes a la Nuit, which it is known constituted an influence on Wagner during the composition of Tristan. This violent and primitive anguish refers to an event which had taken place and nevertheless had not been a real-life emotional experience; in the opera, this event, for Tristan, is the conquest of Isolde by means of the device of the unknown philtre; but for Wagner, is this not his love for Mathilde ? In other words, might not his love for Mathilde itself constitute an event that had taken place and that, for Wagner, yet did not constitute a real-life experience… or that was not actualised except in an through Tristan? Unrealised love existing only in fantasy, love of love, one might repeat a hundred times, but a love without a woman, a love dominated above all by the fear of true love, sexual love and carnal seduction would not menace the creative powers of the man, a fear that would also be the focal obsession of the artists of Vienna at the outset of the twentieth century.
Individual differences were investigated in an attempt to explain why some people are attracted to negative emotion (grief, sadness) in music. A 10-item Like Sad Music Scale (LSMS) was developed (Cronbach’s α = .802) and compared against subscales measuring absorption, music empathy, rumination, reflectiveness and nostalgia-proneness. This was tested via an online survey, completed by 137 participants. It was hypothesized that absorption and reflectiveness would be correlated with the enjoyment of sad music and rumination would be correlated with an attraction to sad music although not necessarily an enjoyment of it. Consistent with previous findings, absorption was a good predictor of the LSMS and was particularly correlated with the enjoyment of strong emotions in connection with sad music. Rumination correlated with LSMS items ‘helps release sadness’ and ‘can relate to sadness’ while reflectiveness correlated with the item ‘I often find myself grieving as a result of listening to sad music’. These correlations suggest both adaptive and maladaptive uses of sad music for mood manipulation. The results were presented with respect to the dissociation theory of aesthetic enjoyment, where participants with the capacity to enter states of absorption are able to deactivate displeasure circuits and hence enjoy negative emotion in music.
There is considerable evidence to suggest that music has adaptive characteristics. Individuals use recorded music to transform the emotional landscape to coincide with transitory needs and desires. Also, music has frequently been reported to provoke uncommon emotional and physical reactions often referred to as peak experiences. In many cultures, that have limited industrial and technological development, active participation in musical activities is pervasive and all individuals are considered musical. In contrast, the musical elitism that has evolved in the Western world intimates that musical ability is specific to a talented minority. The elitist notion of musicality restricts the majority to procurers of rather than producers of music. However, experimental and theoretical sources indicate that music is an innate and universal ability and, therefore, active participation in music may have adaptive characteristics at many levels of proficiency. Positive life transformations that occurred for members of a choir for homeless men, since joining the choir, provided an opportunity to determine if group singing was a factor in promoting adaptive behaviour. A phenomenological approach utilizing a semi-structured interview wasemployed to explore the choristers' group singing experience. Analysis of the interviews indicated that group singing appears positively to influence emotional, social and cognitive processes. The choristers' perceptions of the adaptive characteristics of group singing fell within four principal categories: clinical-type benefits, benefits derived from audience-choir reciprocity, benefits associated with group process and benefits related tomental engagement. Active participation in singing may act to alleviate depression, increase self-esteem, improve social interaction skills and induce cognitive stimulation. The themes adhere to the tenets of flow theory which advocate the importance of mental stimulation and social interaction in increased life satisfaction. The emergent themes provide a preliminary basis for the development of a theory of the adaptive characteristics of group singing and also provide a framework for further investigation in this area.
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of musical style, amount of stage behavior, audience expertise, and modality of presentation on structural, emotional, and summary ratings of piano performances. Twenty-four musically trained and 24 untrained participants rated two-minute excerpts of pieces by Bach, Chopin, and Copland, each performed by the same pianist, who was asked to vary his stage behavior from minimal to natural to exaggerated. Participants rated the performances under either audio-only or audiovisual conditions. The composer’s style had a consistently strong effect on the performance evaluations, highlighting the importance of careful repertoire selection. Moreover, the preferred degree of stage behavior depended on the style. The interaction between expertise, modality, and stage behavior revealed that non-musicians perceived differences across the three degrees of stage behavior only audiovisually and not in the audio-only condition. In contrast, musicians perceived these differences under both audiovisual and audio-only conditions, with the lowest ratings for minimal stage behavior. This suggests that varying the degree of stage behavior altered the quality of the performance. In addition, participants were asked to select two emotions that best characterized each performance. They preferentially chose more subtle emotions from Hevner’s (1936) Adjective Circle over the five general emotions of happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and tenderness traditionally used in music cognition studies, suggesting that these five emotions are less apt to describe the emotions conveyed through musical performance.
This study employs Q-methodology to investigate the criteria adolescents use when evaluating their musical compositions. Thirty-two adolescents (aged 13–14 years) balanced for gender and prior experience of formal instrumental music tuition (FIMT) participated in a Q-sort procedure based on forty-six items. The items were formulated from four sources: specialist music teacher interviews, adolescent focus group discussions, music curriculum documents, and academic papers investigating the assessment of music composition. The resulting data was analysed using factor analysis. In Q-methodology, these factors represent groups of adolescents based on the criteria they considered important for evaluating their musical compositions. Three main groups of adolescents were associated with the majority of participants. The criteria found to be important to each group were interpreted as: (1) composing an appealing piece to a preconceived formula, (2) composing a novel, abstract and interesting piece, and (3) composing an inventive and imaginative piece to a preconceived formula. Comparisons between the criteria used by adolescents and the criteria regarded as important by music teachers are also examined, as well as differences between the adolescents' criteria based on their prior experience of FIMT. Suggestions for future research and the implications of the findings for music education are discussed.
From an early age, children are attracted to the aesthetics of music. Employing a cross-sectional design including school-aged children, the present exploratory study aimed to investigate the effects of age, gender, and music education on three important aspects of the aesthetic experience of music: musical preference, musical emotion recognition, and the use of the aesthetic categories for music. To this aim, we developed an experimental procedure suitable to quantify children’s musical preferences and their judgment of musical emotions and aesthetics. The musical material consisted of three short piano pieces: a piece in major mode, a piece in minor mode, and a free tonal piece. The responses of 78 children were analyzed, whereby the children were assigned to two age groups: 6–7-year-olds (n = 38) and 8–9-year-olds (n = 40). Children preferred the piece in major mode to the one in minor. Except for 6–7-year-olds without music education, children gave the highest happiness ratings for the major piece. Only 8–9-year-olds found the minor piece sadder than the major piece, and the major piece more beautiful than the piece in minor. The ratings of the free tonal piece were mostly indifferent and probably reflect children’s difficulty in judging music that does not yet belong to their short musical history. Taken together, the current data imply that school-aged children are able to make emotional and aesthetic judgments about unfamiliar musical pieces.
This article discusses the aetiology and evolution of musical structure, specifically the sonata-form exposition, from a memetic perspective. It regards established musical forms as replicated schemata arising from the conglomeration of foreground-level memes, the resultant archetypes (structural memes or Memesätze) being replicated (reinstantiated) by different collections of functionally analogous (allelic) memes. After a discussion of the theoretical background — including the top-down/bottom-up generative dichotomy as it applies to form, and some attributes of memes affecting conglomeration — three sonata expositions, by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, are discussed as specific evidence in support of the general hypotheses advanced.
In this paper I sketch the outlines for a comprehensive theory of the psychogenesis of music. That is, a theory of how human beings may come to hear certain sounds and combinations of sounds as music. It is a theory that takes its empirical starting point in previous and well-known research findings on fundamental human interaction and communication. As such it incorporates at its core a developmental-psychological theory about the human being’s development of a sense of self in relation to others, from infancy on, and is further supported by findings from research on infants’ behavior and reactions to music. It is argued that human interaction and communication is at the outset musical – or protomusical – and that which makes interaction and communication work is the emotive, or affective power of sound (“communicative musicality” is another term that has been used for mainly the same phenomenon). Although the empirical foundations are familiar, the comprehensive picture offered by the theory is new. The theory is structured according to a main thesis that states that music is a way of “making special” human self-development, our “sense of self”. However, for this affective-communicative theory to explain not only our reactions to protomusical sound, but also music at large (music understood in a broad universal sense), it must be extended to answer certain questions about human cognition. Therefore I start by referring to research in cognitive-psychology that explains cognition in part as a capacity to categorize phenomena according their level of detail or generality.
Musical experiences are often reported to influence emotions (Juslin & Västfjäll, 2008; Sloboda, O’Neill, & Ivaldi, 2001): people consciously and unconsciously use music to change, create, maintain or enhance their emotions and moods (affect) on a daily basis for their personal benefit (DeNora, 1999; Schramm, 2005). This is known as affect regulation. However, existing research has not yet answered questions of how music regulates affect, especially beyond the expressive properties of music (Meyer, 1956). The aims of the studies presented here were to investigate (a) how music functions to regulate affect, (b) which affects it regulates, and (c) whether music listening can be considered a successful affect regulation device. A one-week diary study with interviews and a three-week diary study were conducted. The main findings were: (1) music helps through broader affect regulation strategies like distraction, introspection, and active coping; music can for example distract someone from the affect or situation, or help to think about the affect or situation in a rational way; (2) music plays a major role in creating happiness and relaxation; (3) music overall is a successful regulation device with a range of underlying mechanisms helping different strategies. The current paper is a valuable addition to the existing literature and provides several new insights into the function of music for affect regulation in everyday life. The insight gained into which strategies and underlying mechanisms are involved when music is used for affect regulation might be used for the benefit of people’s emotional wellbeing.
In three experiments we examined whether songs that are widely used in times of crisis (crisis songs, CS) could resume their unifying effect when they are played off-context. In the first experiment, two conflictual groups, religious and secular Jews, were exposed to CS, to love songs (LS), or to no songs and were then asked to express their attitudes towards their outgroups. It was found that CS positively affected respondents' attitudes: stigmas and prejudice were lessened. In a second experiment, the CS effect was examined under more restrictive conditions. Instead of listening to CS, participants were asked to recall them from memory. In addition, attitudes towards ingroups and outgroups were collected more systematically. Results showed again that CS reduced intergroup bias. In a third experiment we tried to understand the mechanism underlying the CS effect by examining the thoughts and associations that people had while listening to CS. Analysis of the associations showed that unifying themes such as “nationalism,” “sorrow and grief,” and “unity” were most prominent when religious and secular respondents listened to CS. The CS effect and its underlying mechanism are explained in light of the “common ingroup identity model.” CS had the power to bring into awareness that the conflicting groups belong to one superordinate social group which, in turn, reduced stigmas, prejudice, and intergroup bias. Possible implications of these findings are discussed.
Music is a common means for regulating affective states in everyday life, but little is known about the individual differences in this behaviour. We investigated affective reactions to musical stimuli as an explanatory factor. Forty-four young adults rated self-selected music regarding perceived and felt emotions, preference, pleasantness and beauty. The ratings were reduced into five factors representing affective response tendencies. The participants also filled in the Music in Mood Regulation (MMR) questionnaire assessing seven music-related mood regulation strategies in everyday life. High beauty and pleasantness ratings for liked music correlated with the use of music for inducing strong emotional experiences, while ratings reflecting high agreement with the emotional content of preferred musical stimuli correlated with using music as a means for dealing with personal negative emotions. Regarding musical background, informal engagement through listening, but not formal musical training, correlated with increased use of music for mood regulation. The results clarify the link between the affective reactivity to music and the individual ways of using music as a tool for emotional self-regulation in everyday life.
This article proposes a consideration of what current developmental psychology may contribute to the understanding of affective phenomena of a temporal nature, which underlie musical listening and its effects on the listener. The article opens with an analysis of the phenomenon of repetition, both in the infant's interactions and in the most elementary structures of musical languages. Repetition, in both cases, generates time, duration, while introducing a regularity which permits the subject to anticipate and control the future. This regularity and predictibility make Variation possible, Variation being a generating principle of psychological development through successive adaptations to a changing reality, as well as a creative principle of musical development. This analysis leads to central concepts developed here which are based on the works of the psychologist and psychoanalyst, Daniel Stern. The hypothesis is that the unity of interpersonal or interactive experience in the young child is its temporal structure. On this basis, the sensory, motor and affective experiences are later built, to construct interiorised representations. But an affective experience is fundamentaly characterized by its temporal curve, the rhythm of alternation between moments of tension and release, its line of dramatic tension, what Daniel Stern terms the temporal span of experience. The affective experience, in relational life as well as in music, is shared, communicated, on the basis of an affective tuning which is none other than a temporal interregulation, the same which governs musicians' interaction in a quartet, for example. The article concludes with considerations on the semiotisation of musical time and the notion of the proto-narrative envelope, which is defined as the meaning of a temporal span of experience, oriented by a motivation of a desire towards an end. Music thus appears as the representation of the original matrice of all symbolic forms, of all forms of language, that is of all forms of ordering time in human life.
Anhemitonic pentatonicism is the most widespread scalar System in the world. Considered more ancient than the diatonic Scale, its presence is attested to across the five continents. It can be thought of as a universal phenomenon. In certain regions of sub-Saharan Africa, where a number of musical traditions are built on this System, it is apparent that its musical manifestations are governed by two characteristic processes, permutation and mutation. Permutation consists in a progressive shift of the degrees of the scale, and, as a corollary, of the size of certain intervals, while in mutation the shift is effected from a constant pitch. In either case, any melody may appear in one of five configurations that are available within the anhemitonic pentatonic System. Now, for the guardians of tradition, all versions are equivalent. It follows that the contour of a melody takes precedence over the size of the intervals that separate its constituent notes. This cultural judgment of equivalence indicates that variability in the conception of “same” or “different” exists amongst different societies. The implications of this practice are of interest to comparative research in both ethnomusicology and cognitive science. In order to explain and to illustrate the ways in which this “Syndrome” manifests itself, the paper will draw on examples from both Western art-music and African traditional music.
Based on the neuropsychological theory of oscillating systems developed by Langner, we investigated the possible existence of invariant criteria for the evaluation of performed rhythms across cultures. Two experiments were undertaken in an intercultural study of rhythms with Ghanaian master drummers and German drummers. In Experiment 1, African drummers (n =ls; 12) rated the performance of six European rhythms played by European drummers. These performances varied in levels of quality (low, medium, and high), which had been established beforehand using European raters. The significant correlation between both sets of raters for all six rhythms was r (16) =ls; 0,63. The similarity of judgment was even higher for rhythms familiar to all raters, r (7) =ls; 0,85. In Experiment 2, the same African drummers (n =ls; 11) performed the six rated rhythms using a play-along method. Analsysis of the performance data revealed a characteristic off-beat structure and drive-effect, which were caused by the emphasis of, in Europe, commonly unaccented beats. Particular difficulties were experienced in the performance of the Bolero rhythm, an unusual four-measure rhythm and a beat sequence of 3+2+2. Our experiments provided evidence for the existence of perceptual universal in the evaluation of rhythm performances along with culture specific differences in rhythm production.
Many factors influence the activation and maturation of the compositional process in children. Although there are numerous studies on children's processes, production and behaviour, little has been done concerning the influence of the didactic strategies used by the teacher, which may actually encourage or suppress such processes.
Children are generally asked to create a composition that has a beginning, a middle and end, but we wondered whether it was really necessary to request this structure or if children of a certain age already adopt it spontaneously, so teachers can use such skills as building blocks for further learning.
We investigated if children, without any specific music education, possess a certain ability to use specific types of beginnings and/or endings and how they improve. We asked 132 primary school children, aged 7–10, to perform six improvisations, five with a soprano glockenspiel, and one with tambourine. A total of 792 pieces were recorded and analysed using a specific classification system.
After referring to studies on musical theory and semiotics to clarify the concept of beginning and ending in a piece of music, we are presenting the results which show that a certain percentage of children aged 7 already possess the mentioned skills, and that there is a gradual spontaneous acquisition of the beginning/ending conventions. Children improve year by year, with greater progress between 8 and 9 years.
In this paper different aspects of the fast odd metres found in the Balkan (aksak) are studied. Comparing their temporal characteristics with thresholds of rhythm perception, it is shown that the basic regular unit is too fast to serve as the pulse. Thus the pulse moves to the (unequal) units of 2, 3 or 4 beats. This gives aksak metres a special position within an overall typology of asymmetric metre. Two sets of data will be analysed to give more details on the actual timing in performance: a set of traditional Bulgarian tunes and performances of Bartók piano pieces by four different players. Despite the similarity of global tempo and metre, differences in the treatment of tempo were found between both sets, which can be explained by the different performance contexts. In both sets, specific patterns of metric microstructure were found that can give us more information about the actual metric interpretation and clear effects of the musical structure on both the tempo and the metric microstructure are shown. All together, it seems that aksak metres are closer to regular metres than commonly thought.
Musical performers confront, deal with, and participate in musical “events”. These musical events present the performer with a number of obligations to uphold. One particular kind of obligation precedes and overrides the other kinds of (aesthetic) obligation — compositional, historical, critical-interpretative, physiological, for example — and lies at the root of the “contingencies”, “illusions”, and “anxieties” of which performers and commentators often speak. In this essay I illustrate the nature of this non-foundational obligation through a meditation on a concept of Bakhtin's: the “alibi”.
All imperatives command either hypothetically or categorically. Kant
Nell'articolo vengono presentati due metodi sperimentali - relativi ai procedimenti di segmentazione e della cosiddetta linea melodica - precedentemente applicati nello studio di opere del repertorio contemporaneo. II procedimento di segmentazione studia la formazione dei raggruppamenti di strutture durante l'ascolto in tempo reale; il procedimento della linea mentale inverte la prospettiva e mostra come lo schema del discorso musicale viene elaborato a livello della memoria. L'articolo si occupa, inoltre, dell'influenza sulle performances sperimentali della formazione musicale dei soggetti e della loro familiarità con il repertorio studiato. In entrambi i procedimenti (segmentazione e linea melodica) sono stati confrontati i dati di due livelli di formazione musicale - musicisti studenti e professionisti - e di due livelli di formazione generale - studenti e ricercatori universitari. I risultati mostrano che i processi di segmentazione non sono influenzati da questi fattori, al contrario di ciò che si osserva nei processi di memorizzazione.
The “alte Weise” melody for solo cor anglais from the beginning of Act III of Tristan und Isolde is submitted to a double analysis. First, it is treated by the techniques of Jackendoff's and my A Generative Theory of Tonal Music, yielding a prolongational structure that resembles a Schenkerian analysis even though it is based on contrasting principles. In the course of this analysis connections are made to other passages in Tristan. Second, the melody is treated according to schematic phrasal norms, yielding surface and underlying phrasal forms. Nattiez's paradigmatic approach is then adapted to demonstrate the underlying phrasal-prolongational coherence of the melody as a whole.
This article addresses the silent reading of music notation, combining eye-movement measures with a semantic analysis of readers’ verbal descriptions of the notated music. A group of musical novices (n = 16) and two groups of musical amateurs (less experienced n = 11 and more experienced n = 10) participated in three separate measurement sessions during a nine-month-long university music course designed for future primary-school teachers. In each session they viewed a notated folk song for 30 s and then described what they had seen. Greater musical experience was found to be connected with shorter fixation durations, more linear scanning of the notated music, and more accurate and integrative verbal descriptions. Repeated measurements during the course were connected to more accurate and integrative descriptions as well as the use of longer saccades for all participants. A cluster analysis of the results revealed three separate silent-reading styles: elementary processors, lacking in both accuracy and integration in their verbal reports; accurate analyzers, producing accurate but non-integrative descriptions; and accurate integrators who, besides accurate and integrative descriptions, showed a tendency of using shorter fixation times than the two other groups. The results are discussed with a view to visual processes in other domains. In addition, a question is raised whether educational programs tend to unduly neglect considering music notation as a source of information beyond its role as a performance aid.
Academic research and popular discussion generally assume a common definition of the term “musician”, despite the complex social, cultural and critical meanings that emerge under closer scrutiny. On the one hand, inclusive approaches have recognised the importance of music to all individuals, yet the status afforded to professional performers still leads many active players and attentive listeners to be self-deprecating about their own skills, perpetuating the notion of the “non-musician” in Western culture. This paper considers the changing perceptions of music students undergoing the transition from school to university, using their implicit and explicit understandings of what it means to be a musician to explore the consequences for their self-identity. Qualitative questionnaire and interview data are reported from twenty participants, as a precursor to replicating and extending the study within a wider variety of musical communities. Clear differences between the expectations and experiences of school and university students are revealed, and self-identification as a musician is shown to depend on quantity and level of musical behaviour, as well as being affected by comparisons with peers. The role of school and university music education in shaping perceptions and opportunities is discussed, and conclusions are drawn about the importance of musical participation to these young people.
Music psychology often appeals to the notion of schema. Meyer, the musicologist, suggests a model which might give an account of the whole tonal productions and compositions by using a narrow repertoire of pre-established schemas: the archetypal schemas. In addition, some authors have speculated about the existence of schemas within the children productions. The objective of the present research is to highlight some of them. 263 children, aged 4 and 5, are asked to reproduce a complex stimulus that was sung for them. The reproductions are then transcribed by three judges. Through the distorsions brought about by the subjects, we witness a phenomenon of reduction to schemas. The bulk of them are Meyer archetypal schemas. Two new schemas, probably peculiar to children but perfectly fitting in the model, are brought to light. In addition, we notice that the children are already capable of hierarchical organization of the structures (at last in Meyer's view). Finally, a distinction is suggested between two types of schemas according to the nature of the unity they allow us to reconstitute: coherence or cohesion.