Rhythm and "good endings": effects of temporal structure on tonality judgments.


The purpose of the present experiment was to investigate the influence of rhythmic structure on the perception of tonal relationships marking the end of a melody. Musically sophisticated listeners were asked to rate the degree of resolution in a set of folk tunes that varied in their tonal ending and temporal accent structure. The results indicated that melodies ending on the leading tone-to-tonic progression were judged the most complete, while the least complete were those leaving a listener "hanging" by ending on the leading tone note. These ratings, however, were influenced by the temporal accent structure of a tune. The highest degree of resolution was observed for melodies that ended "on time" through an invariant pattern of temporal/melodic accents. Accent structures that led to endings occurring earlier or later than expected resulted in significantly lower resolution ratings. The present results illustrate the need to incorporate dynamic pattern influences into models of tonal perception.


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@article{Boltz1989RhythmA, title={Rhythm and "good endings": effects of temporal structure on tonality judgments.}, author={Marilyn Gail Boltz}, journal={Perception & psychophysics}, year={1989}, volume={46 1}, pages={9-17} }