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The Impact of Instrument-Specific Musical Training on Rhythm Perception and Production


The Impact of Instrument-Specific Musical Training on Rhythm Perception and Production

Matthews, Tomas E., Thibodeau, Joseph N. L., Gunther, Brian P. and Penhune, Virginia (2016) The Impact of Instrument-Specific Musical Training on Rhythm Perception and Production. Frontiers in Psychology, 7 . p. 69. ISSN 1664-1078

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00069


Studies comparing musicians and non-musicians have shown that musical training can improve rhythmic perception and production. These findings tell us that training can result in rhythm processing advantages, but they do not tell us whether practicing a particular instrument could lead to specific effects on rhythm perception or production. The current study used a battery of four rhythm perception and production tasks that were designed to test both higher- and lower-level aspects of rhythm processing. Four groups of musicians (drummers, singers, pianists, string players) and a control group of non-musicians were tested. Within-task differences in performance showed that factors such as meter, metrical complexity, tempo, and beat phase significantly affected the ability to perceive and synchronize taps to a rhythm or beat. Musicians showed better performance on all rhythm tasks compared to non-musicians. Interestingly, our results revealed no significant differences between musician groups for the vast majority of task measures. This was despite the fact that all musicians were selected to have the majority of their training on the target instrument, had on average more than 10 years of experience on their instrument, and were currently practicing. These results suggest that general musical experience is more important than specialized musical experience with regards to perception and production of rhythms.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Article
Authors:Matthews, Tomas E. and Thibodeau, Joseph N. L. and Gunther, Brian P. and Penhune, Virginia
Journal or Publication:Frontiers in Psychology
  • Concordia Open Access Author Fund
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00069
Keywords:rhythm perception, rhythm production, beat perception, musical training, motor timing, expertise, tapping
ID Code:982260
Deposited On:21 Mar 2017 14:42
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:54
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