Annotation for Clarke, Eric F. and Carol L. Krumhansl
Perceiving Musical Time
Annotation (by James Halliday):
- The authors perform a set of very similar experiments on two
quite different pieces of music. The examples used are Stockhausenıs
Klavierstuecke IX and Mozartıs Fantasie in C minor, K. 475. The experimenters express a desire to use whole pieces
rather than artificial sound fragments in their experiments. The experiments are concerned with segmentation and the perception of time within a musical framework. For each piece, a series of three experiments is performed. In the first experiment, advanced
music students heard the entire piece and then placed section boundary
points as they deemed appropriate. In both the Mozart and Stockhausen experiments, the boundaries showed a close parallel with the boundaries predicted by Lerdahl and Jackendoff accordi
ng to their Grouping Preference Rules (GPRıs). A second experiment was performed using undergraduate music students as subjects. After the piece was played through once, various fragments were played from the piece. Listeners were asked to indicate the ap
proximate position of these fragments in the piece as a whole by drawing vertical lines through a horizontal line to indicate from where in the work as a whole the excerpt was taken. The deviation of the percieved placement of the excerpt from the actual
position in the music was greater for the Stockhausen than for the Mozart.
The final experiment used the same musical fragments as the second experiment.
Here, listeners were asked to rate each segment on a variety of scales, such
as simple vs. complex,
static vs. active, etc. The listeners were also asked about the duration
of the excerpt heard. All excerpts were referenced against a thirty second standard. The research found that, despite the relative activity or inactivity of musical passages, listener
s were able to judge timings quite well. The idea of two different internal timekeepers, one which is metronomical and precise, and the other which judges time via the amount of information processed, is discussed.