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Peter Q Pfordresher and Caroline Palmer (2002)

Effects of delayed auditory feedback on timing of music performance

Psychological Research, 66(1):71-79.

Three experiments examined effects of delayed auditory feedback (DAF) on music performance as a function of the temporal location of feedback onsets within produced inter-onset intervals (IOIs). In Experiment 1, pianists performed isochronous melodies at two production rates with different amounts of DAF. Timing variability decreased for DAF amounts that caused feedback onsets to occur halfway through IOIs (binary subdivisions) in a 500-ms, but not 600-ms, IOI rate condition. In Experiment 2, pianists performed melodies with DAF delays and chose a preferred rate. Performers chose slower rates for larger delays; preferred rates approximated twice the amount of DAF. Experiment 3 tested the possibility that subjects deliberately conceptualized subdivisions in Experiments 1 and 2. Performers were given (1) no instructions, (2) instructions to mentally subdivide produced events in two, or (3) instructions to mentally subdivide produced events in three, in different blocks. Instructions to subdivide reduced timing variability for larger feedback delays. These experiments indicate that DAF disruption is reduced by subdividing instructions and sometimes by coincidences of feedback onsets with subdivisions of produced intervals. Such facilitation may reflect the use of hierarchical cognitive plans in production.