Tune recognition from melody, rhythm and harmony
Earlier studies have shown that listeners recognise familiar tunes. With tunes that are manipulated in some way, melody has been shown to be more important for recognition than rhythm. The present study examined the importance of melody, rhythm and harmony for tune recognition by listeners with varying musical expertise. Forty-six participants, divided into three groups according to their musical expertise, heard the first two phrases of familiar tunes in four different versions: melody, rhythm, melody with harmony and rhythm with harmony. The participants were asked to identify the tunes. A two-factor ANOVA was conducted with the four versions of presentation and the three groups of participants as experimental variables. The study showed that both the versions of the tunes and the expertise of the participants were statistically significant factors for tune recognition; the professionals being best in tune recognition, and the amateur musicians being better than non-musicians. The rhythmic versions especially were recognised by the professionals, and, regardless of expertise, the melodic versions were easier to recognise than the rhythmic ones. Generally, harmony was not found to help tune recognition. As a whole, the inexperienced listeners seemed to encode isolated details but were unable to process them, while the professionals were able to process information in a structural context. The differences in recognition of the rhythmic versions seemed to reflect the ability of professionals to extract temporal patterns and store temporal information. ...
ConferenceESCOM 2009 : 7th Triennial Conference of European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music
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- ESCOM 2009