SHORT CLIPS (300 AND 400 MS), TAKEN FROM POPULAR songs from the 1960's through the 2000's,were presented to participants in two experiments to study the detail and contents of musical memory. For 400 ms clips, participants identified both artist and title on more than 25% of the trials.Very accurate confidence ratings showed that this knowledge was recalled consciously. Performance was somewhat higher if the clip contained a word or partword from the title. Even when a clip was not identified, it conveyed information about emotional content, style and, to some extent, decade of release. Performance on song identification was markedly lower for 300 ms clips, although participants still gave consistent emotion and style judgments, and fairly accurate judgments of decade of release. The decade of release had no effect on identification, emotion consistency, or style consistency. However, older songs were preferred, suggesting that the availability of recorded music alters the pattern of preferences previously assumed to be established during adolescence and early adulthood. Taken together, the results point to extraordinary abilities to identify music based on highly reduced information.

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