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You are here: McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind > Publications > Musical context effects in infants and adults: key distance.

L J Trainor and S E Trehub (1993)

Musical context effects in infants and adults: key distance.

J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform, 19(3):615-26.

Adults and 9- to 11-month-old infants listened to repeated transpositions of either a prototypical Western melody that was based on the major triad or a nonprototypical Western melody that was based on the augmented triad. In both cases, the transpositions were either to related keys (standing in a 2:3 frequency ratio) or to unrelated keys (more complex frequency ratios). For the prototypical melody, both infants and adults more readily discriminated a changeto the melody in the context of related keys. For the nonprototypical melody, infant listeners performed better in the context of related keys, but adult listeners performed worse. The findings indicate that the global context of auditory patterns influences the processing of pattern details for infant and adult listeners.

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