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December 2021

The effect of tempo and musical experience on perceived beat

Author(s): Semple, P.

Journal/Book: Aust J Psychol. 1999; 51: 1 Grattan Street, Carlton, Victoria 3053, Australia. Australian Psychological Soc. 176-187.

Abstract: This research investigated the effect of musical tempo on the rhythmical interpretation of six temporal patterns of varying rhythmic complexity. For each pattern, listeners tapped at regular intervals in synchrony with what they perceived to be the most natural placement of beats. Consistent with previous research, the perceived time interval (period) of successive beats was at a lower metrical level at slow tempos than at fast tempos. Tempo effects were dependent on musical experience, with musically trained participants demonstrating a stronger tendency to perceive a different relative beat period with changes in tempo, than were musically untrained participants. Musically untrained participants tended to select the same relative beat period, independent of tempo. The predictions of three models permit the observed differences to be interpreted in terms of the relative use of positive and negative evidence in assigning beats to a rhythmic pattern. This explanation offers an alternative to preferred tempo hypotheses.

Note: Article McAuley JD, Bowling Green State Univ, Dept Psychol, Bowling Green,OH 43402 USA


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