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You are here: McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind > Publications > Auditory feedback in music performance: The role of melodic structure and musical skill

Peter Q Pfordresher (2005)

Auditory feedback in music performance: The role of melodic structure and musical skill

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 31(6):1331-1345.

Five experiments explored whether fluency in musical sequence production relies on matches between the contents of auditory feedback and the planned outcomes of actions. Participants performed short melodies from memory on a keyboard while musical pitches that sounded in synchrony with each keypress (feedback contents) were altered. Results indicated that altering pitch contents can disrupt production, but only when altered pitches form a sequence that is structurally similar to the planned sequence. These experiments also addressed the role of musical skill: Experiments 1 and 3 included trained pianists; other experiments included participants with little or no musical training. Results were similar across both groups with respect to the disruptive effects of auditory feedback manipulations. These results support the idea that a common hierarchical representation guides sequences of actions and the perception of event sequences and that this coordination is not acquired from learned associations formed by musical skill acquisition.

music performance, sequence production, auditory feedback, skill acquisition