Fluctuations in Rhythms

Been reading an article on Plosone.org titled The Nature and Perception of Fluctuations in Human Musical Rhythms. In it researchers from the Max Planck Institute (a.o) describe how they determined the perception of rhythm variations by several musicians from two choirs. An ideal beat pattern, 100% quantized was used for a 30 seconds sample of a song. Two versions with small deviations of the 100% tight beat pattern were also offered to the test persons from two choirs from Göttingen.

They were asked: ” “Which sample sounds more precise?” and “Which sample do you prefer?””.
the result was that 1/f humanized music is preferred over white noise humanizing where f stands for frequency of the beat. 1/f gives a Gaussian function.

This research collected responses from only 39 people. Online this research could well be redone in a larger response group. An interesting variable that could be tried is the tempo. Does the ability to distinguish between 100% and humanized music depend on tempo? And which form of humanizing is most musical?


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musician, recording, studio, improvisation
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