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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19076

Title: The Integration of Pitch and Time in Music Perception
Authors: Prince, Jonathan
Advisor: Schmuckler, Mark
Department: Psychology
Keywords: Music
Dimensional interactions
Issue Date: 19-Feb-2010
Abstract: Nine experiments were conducted to explore pitch-time integration in music. In Experiments 1-6, listeners heard a musical context followed by probe events that varied in pitch class and temporal position. When evaluating the goodness-of-fit of the probe (Experiment 1), listeners’ ratings showed more influence of pitch class than of temporal position. The tonal and metric hierarchies contributed additively to ratings. Listeners again rated goodness-of-fit in Experiment 2, but with instructions to ignore pitch. Temporal position dominated ratings, but an effect of pitch consistent with the tonal hierarchy remained. Again, these two factors contributed additively. A speeded classification task in Experiments 3 and 4 revealed asymmetric interference. When making a temporal judgment (Experiment 3), listeners exhibited a response bias consistent with the tonal hierarchy, but the metric hierarchy did not affect their pitch judgments (Experiment 4). Experiments 5 and 6 ruled out alternative explanations based on the presence of pitch classes and temporal positions in the context, unequal numbers of pitch classes and temporal positions in the probe events, and differential difficulty of pitch versus temporal classification. Experiments 7-9 examined the factors that modulate the effect of temporal variation on pitch judgments. In Experiment 7, a standard tone was followed by a tonal context and then a comparison tone. Participants judged whether the comparison tone was in the key of the context or whether it was higher or lower than the standard tone. For both tasks, the comparison tone occurred early, on time, or late with respect to temporal expectancies established by the context. Temporal variation did not affect accuracy in either task. Experiment 8 used the pitch height comparison task, and had either a tonal or an atonal context. Temporal variation affected accuracy only for atonal contexts. Experiment 9 replicated these results and controlled for potential confounds. The findings imply that the tonal contexts found in typical Western music bias attention toward pitch, increasing the salience of this dimension at the expense of time. Pitch salience likely arises from long-term exposure to the statistical properties of Western music and is not linked to the relative discriminability of pitch and time.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19076
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Psychology - Doctoral theses

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