Wen, O. X., & Krumhansl, C. L. (2019). Perception of pitch and time in the structurally isomorphic
standard rhythmic and diatonic scale patterns. Music & Science, 2, 1-23. doi: 10.1177/2059204319873308
The three experiments reported here investigate how pitch and time interact in perception using the standard rhythmic pattern and the diatonic scale pattern, which share the intervallic structure of 2 2 1 2 2 2 1. They share a number of theoretical properties, including being cyclic with 7 unique rotations. Experiment 1 measured rhythmic stability by dynamically accenting each of the events in each rhythm, called the probe accent; listeners rated how well the probe accent fits the rhythm. Listeners heard the rhythms in subgroups and with reference to a syncopation-shifted metrical hierarchy. Experiment 2 used the probe tone technique to measure the tonal stability of each tone in each mode beginning and ending on C. Higher ratings were given to tones earlier in the contexts and tones closer to C on both the chroma circle and the circle of fifths; influences were also found of tonal hierarchies of diatonic scales with corresponding accidentals. A measure of similarity derived from the probe ratings found the same order for the rhythms and modes which matched theoretical proposals of inter-rhythm and inter-mode distances. Experiment 3 presented all combinations of rhythms and modes; listeners judged how well the rhythm fits the mode. These judgments did not depend on the intervallic isomorphism between tone duration and interval size. Instead, the judgments depended on whether tonally stable events occurred where accents were judged as fitting well with the rhythm. Overall, the standard and diatonic patterns follow different perceptual hierarchies while sharing similar cognitive principles between rhythms, between modes, and across dimensions.
Wen, O. X., & Krumhansl, C. L. (2017). Real-time responses to Stravinsky's Symphonies of Wind Instruments:
Perception of internal repetition and musical interest. Music Perception, 35, 60-76. [pdf]
This experiment was designed to address factors that make repetition of musical themes within a piece recognizable, and to explore the relationship between internal repetition and musical interest. Thirty-seven participants of varied levels of music training listened to Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments twice and responded to the music in real time. During the first listening, they continuously rated their level of interest and at the same time mentally identified the major themes. During the second listening, they indicated when they heard the major themes repeating. One theme was especially well recognized when repeated. It was relatively short, slow, began and ended with a predictable pattern, occurred relatively early in the piece, and was interspersed with other themes. Another theme stood out in the interest ratings, which was relatively long, fast, sometimes repeated immediately with a build-up of instrumentation and dynamics, and occurred later in the piece. In general, themes judged interesting were not those that were easily identified when repeated, suggesting these are independent aspects of this composition. No effect of music training was found. Extensive analyses of Stravinsky’s Symphonies consider how the themes are repeated and interwoven. The experimental results confirmed the musical attributes considered in these analyses.