Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Do you like it?

Dave Munger has posted the background information for the musical preference experiment I told you about. The inverted-U figure is common in preference studies, but with the weaknesses that Dave lists. The choice of musical examples is very important, coupled with a clear definition of "complexity" and "preference." Psychologists and cognitive scientists cannot assume that because they took piano lessons they are qualified to make these decisions themselves. As a commenter on Cognitive Daily points out, musical complexity is multi-dimensional. There is complexity of melody, complexity of harmony, complexity of rhythm, complexity of form, and complexity of timbre, for starters. Then within each of these categories there are many hierarchical levels of complexity. I offer my services as musical consultant to any interested scientists, or can recommend several music theorists or composers who would collaborate well.

In comments, Dave promises to give us the results of his Casual Friday study in a few days.
Update: Dave has a second post with details of the second Orr/Ohlsson study.

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