Da Musically Inclined Bomb

DePauw University's First Year Seminar on Writing about Music

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The effects of repeated exposure on liking and judgements of musical unity on intact and patchwork compostitons

One of the biggest problems in composing music is how to combine different musical ideas into a coherent music composition. Western music however tends to use "repetition and variation of musical ideas" to combat this query. Compositions tend to use the same musical themes that are memorable and can be recognized easily to be brought back through, "repetition of in a varied form throughout the piece." Repetition is a very important in music, however variety is essential to composer's music. Using new idea and themes keep listeners interested. The central idea, however, is that music must be connected. Music is often explained from a musicians point of view often with the written score, but not much attention has been paid to the casual listener. "Can a casual listener appreciate the differences between compositions that are well-untied and those that are not?" As stated in the article," Some studies that we may overestimate the ability of listeners to listen anolitcally. Even musically trained participants often do mot focus on motifs of themes of repetition of musical ideas in music listening tasks unless directed to do so." (408) Showing that most people even musically trained people just plainly listen to music.
The procedure of the experiment are as follows:
The study was done on two seperate days (a Tuesday and a thursday). The partcipants were seated at individual tables so that everyone's responses would be genuine. There were 74 participants in three groups of 22 to 26. Intact compositions are piece that have not been altered in anyway, patchwork compositions are pieces that have been spliced together composed of many different pieces. On each day three intact compostitions and three patchworks were played twice each, also a filler compostion were played one time eachto seperate the examples. All fourteen examples were played in random order. For example:
I(1) P(6) F(4) I(7) P(2) etc.
By the end of the experiment, both intact and patchwork compositions were played four times each and the four fillers once each. The proctor of the experiment told the participants to rate the pieces on varying factors.
The participants rated the music after it was played. They rated simply if they like the piece as well as unity, changes in mood, pitch, and tempo, as well as how good the ending was. All the rating scales were found to be signifcant predicters for the unity ratings of musically and unmusically trained partcipants. In the rest of the examples, hearings 2 through 14, partcipants were asked to indicate if the peice had been played eariler or if it was the first time played. The second session took place on Thursday. The same 74 participants were asked to do the same things as the first session. At the end, the students were debriefed, given the music used in the study, and given a musically themed candy bar. The first session lasted 65 minutes and the second lasted 55 minutes.
If the partcipants are sensitive to unity then, intact pieces should be rated higher then patchwork pieces. Also patchwork should be rated lower on repeated hearings. The differences should be more pronounced the musically trained partcipants then non trained. The mere exposure hypothosis, both should go up on repeated hearings.
The Results:
Overall trend across the hearings. Goodness of ending had a significant trend. There was more of a trend for goodness of ending then overall liking. Goodness of ending increased across hearings in each case.
General increasein means from session 1 to session 2, but didn't increase from hearing to hearing.
No significant trends were found for unity clarity of themes, or repetition across hearings, but there were significant were foundfor variables of interest. Significant trends for goodness of ending and liking, which helps the mere exposure hyothosis. For the goodness of ending and liking increased in patchwork and not intact. No significant trends for anything. Patchworks had a general upward trend, while intact had a general downward trend.
At first intact higher, because it was optimally complex and supracomplex. The change is due to both seeming less complex, but patchworks had higher levels of interest. Few differences were also found in musicians and non musicians.
The limitations were that partcipants ability to recognize thematic and structured features often improves with repeated hearings. Most accurate ratings on first hearings then repeated work, meaning the partcipants loss interest. Immediate repetitions may be necessary to facilitate deeper analytical listening. Unity is important, but only if a listener can fully appreciate unity is still an open question.


At 12/04/2006 12:24 AM, Blogger Dennis Fuller said...

very extensive. a lot of details.


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