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Pitch and time salience in metrical grouping

Prince, J.ORCID: 0000-0002-8267-9963 (2012) Pitch and time salience in metrical grouping. In: ICMPC – ESCOM 2012, 23 - 28 July 2012, Thessaloniki, Greece



I report two experiments on the contribution of pitch and temporal cues to metrical grouping. Recent work on this question has revealed a dominance of pitch. Extending this work, a dimensional salience hypothesis predicts that the presence of tonality would influence the relative importance of pitch and time. Experiment 1 establishes baseline values of accents in pitch (pitch leaps) and time (duration accent) that result in equally strong percepts of metrical grouping. Pitch and temporal accents are recombined in Experiment 2 to see which dimension contributes more strongly to metrical grouping (and how). Both experiments test values in tonal and atonal contexts. Both dimensions had strong influences on perceived metric grouping, but pitch was clearly the more dominant. Furthermore, the relative strength of the two dimensions varied based on the tonality of the sequences. Pitch contributed more strongly in the tonal contexts than the atonal, whereas Time was stronger in the atonal contexts than the tonal. These findings are inconsistent with an interpretation that stimulus structure enhances the ability to extract, encode, and use information about an object. Instead, they imply that structure in one dimension can highlight that dimension at the expense of another (i.e., induce dimensional salience).

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology
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