The effect of task and pitch structure on pitch-time interactions in music by ProQuest

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Musical pitch-time relations were explored by investigating the effect of temporal variation on pitch perception. In Experiment 1, trained musicians heard a standard tone followed by a tonal context and then a comparison tone. They then performed one of two tasks. In the cognitive task, they indicated whether the comparison tone was in the key of the context. In the perceptual task, they judged whether the comparison tone 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 2 used the perceptual task and varied the pitch structure by employing either a tonal or an atonal context. Temporal variation did not affect accuracy for tonal contexts, but did for atonal contexts. Experiment 3 replicated these results and controlled potential confounds. We argue that tonal contexts bias attention toward pitch and eliminate effects of temporal variation, whereas atonal contexts do not, thus fostering pitch-time interactions. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

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									Memory & Cognition
2009, 37 (3), 368-381
doi:10.3758/MC.37.3.368




                            The effect of task and pitch structure
                             on pitch–time interactions in music
                                             Jon B. Prince and Mark a. SchMuckler
                                                  University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
                                                                    and

                                                        WilliaM F. ThoMPSon
                                                 Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

                Musical pitch–time relations were explored by investigating the effect of temporal variation on pitch percep-
             tion. In Experiment 1, trained musicians heard a standard tone followed by a tonal context and then a comparison
             tone. They then performed one of two tasks. In the cognitive task, they indicated whether the comparison tone was
             in the key of the context. In the perceptual task, they judged whether the comparison tone 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 2
             used the perceptual task and varied the pitch structure by employing either a tonal or an atonal context. Temporal
             variation did not affect accuracy for tonal contexts, but did for atonal contexts. Experiment 3 replicated these
             results and controlled potential confounds. We argue that tonal contexts bias attention toward pitch and eliminate
             effects of temporal variation, whereas atonal contexts do not, thus fostering pitch–time interactions.



   Music is one of the most complex psychological phe-                  There is a rich literature on how time functions in West-
nomena in humans. From trained performers to casual                     ern music, including work on rhythmic patterns and the
listeners, the perception of music requires detailed pro-               perception of meter (Jones, 1987; Jones & Boltz, 1989;
cessing of intricately patterned multidimensional stimuli.              Longuet-Higgins & Lee, 1982; Palmer & Krumhansl,
The two primary dimensions of music—pitch and time—                     1990; Povel, 1981; Steedman, 1977). A regular pattern of
have received the greatest attention in music cognition re-             durations, or rhythmic figures, creates a sense of weak and
search. Although most researchers have investigated these               strong temporal positions, or beats (Lerdahl & Jacken-
dimensions separately, there is considerable interest in the            doff, 1983). The term meter refers to the temporal pattern
extent to which they interact in perception and memory                  that arises from this alternation between weak and strong
(Jones, 1987; Krumhansl, 2000).                                         beats. Similar to the variation in tonal stability in the pitch
   For pitch, Western music divides the range of an octave              dimension, there is variation in metric stability for the dif-
(the pitches that fall between a given pitch and a second               ferent temporal positions in a piece of music, grouped into
one of twice its frequency) into 12 equal, logarithmically              metric hierarchies on the basis of their perceived stability
spaced pitches that, when used according to the stylistic               (Palmer & Krumhansl, 1990).
rules of Western music, produce a sense of musical key,                    Given the existence of considerable variation in both
or tonality (Krumhansl, 1990). When a musical passage                   pitch and temporal dimensions in music, a natural ques-
establishes a tonality, the degree of perceived stability, or           tion that arises involves the nature of the interrelation be-
goodness of fit with the surrounding musical context, var-              tween these dimensions. In fact, several researchers have
ies across the 12 pitch classes.1 Theoretically, these pitch            addressed the question of how these dimensions combine
classes can be grouped into three hierarchical levels on the            as part of the perception of musical events. Whereas some
basis of their relative stability (Lerdahl, 1988): the tonic            evidence supports the view that these dimensions are
triad (the three most stable pitches within the key; i.e.,              independent (Fries & Swihart, 1990; Krumhansl, 1991;
the pitches C, E, G, in the key of C major), the remaining              Makris & Mullet, 2003; Mavlov, 1980; Monahan & Car-
diatonic tones within the key (i.e., D, F, A, B), and the               terette, 1985; Palmer & Krumhansl, 1987a, 1987b; Peretz,
nondiatonic tones (the least stable, out-of-key pitches; i.e.,          1990, 1996; Peretz & Kolinsky, 1993; Peretz et al., 1994;
C#, D#, F#, G#, A#).                                                    Pitt & Monahan, 1987; Schön & Besson, 2002; Smith &
   Along with pitch structure, temporal structure plays                 Cuddy, 1989; Thompson, 1993, 1994; Thompson, Hall,
a critical role in the perception of music (Jones, 1976).               & Pressing, 2001), other evidence suggests the opposite



                                                    J. B. Prince, jon.prince@utoronto.ca


© 2009 The Psychonomic Society, Inc.                                368
                                                                                       Task and PiTch sTrucTure            369

(Abe & Okada, 2004; Boltz, 1989a, 1989b, 1989c, 1991,            dard tone, followed by an isochronous sequence of eight
1993a, 1993b, 1995, 1998b; Crowder & Neath, 1995;                random pitches (i.e., atonal), followed by a comparison
Deutsch, 1980; Griffiths, Johnsrude, Dean, & Green,              tone, and judged whether the comparison tone was higher
1999; Jones, 1987; Jones, Boltz, & Kidd, 1982; Jones,            or lower in pitch than the standard tone. If the intervening
Johnston, & Puente, 2006; Jones, Moynihan, MacKenzie,            sequence had a regular rhythmic (isochronous) structure,
& Puente, 2002; Jones & Ralston, 1991; Jones, Summer-            this sequence established temporal expectancies, such that
ell, & Marshburn, 1987; Kelley & Brandt, 1984; Kidd,             participants implicitly expected the comparison tone to
Boltz, & Jones, 1984; Monahan, Kendall, & Carterette,            occur at a specific time. Jones et al. (2002) found that,
1987; Nittono, Bito, Hayashi, Sakata, & Hori, 2000;              when the comparison tone occurred on time, the accu-
Schel
								
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