Linking melodic expectation to expressive performance timing and perceived musical tension.
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This research explored the relations between the predictability of musical structure, expressive timing in performance, and listeners' perceived musical tension. Studies analyzing the influence of expressive timing on listeners' affective responses have been constrained by the fact that, in most pieces, the notated durations limit performers' interpretive freedom. To circumvent this issue, we focused on the unmeasured prelude, a semi-improvisatory genre without notated durations. In Experiment 1, 12 professional harpsichordists recorded an unmeasured prelude on a harpsichord equipped with a MIDI console. Melodic expectation was assessed using a probabilistic model (IDyOM [Information Dynamics of Music]) whose expectations have been previously shown to match closely those of human listeners. Performance timing information was extracted from the MIDI data using a score-performance matching algorithm. Time-series analyses showed that, in a piece with unspecified note durations, the predictability of melodic structure measurably influenced tempo fluctuations in performance. In Experiment 2, another 10 harpsichordists, 20 nonharpsichordist musicians, and 20 nonmusicians listened to the recordings from Experiment 1 and rated the perceived tension continuously. Granger causality analyses were conducted to investigate predictive relations among melodic expectation, expressive timing, and perceived tension. Although melodic expectation, as modeled by IDyOM, modestly predicted perceived tension for all participant groups, neither of its components, information content or entropy, was Granger causal. In contrast, expressive timing was a strong predictor and was Granger causal. However, because melodic expectation was also predictive of expressive timing, our results outline a complete chain of influence from predictability of melodic structure via expressive performance timing to perceived musical tension. (PsycINFO Database Record
AuthorsGingras, B; Pearce, MT; Goodchild, M; Dean, RT; Wiggins, G; McAdams, S
- College Publications