Grouping plays a crucial role in the perception of metrically organized music, and it has been referred to as a key concept in increasing a subject's efficiency in sequential motor tasks that require a precise organization of movements in the time domain. But very little attention has been given to the crucial question of what kind of role perception of rhythmic grouping plays in the acquisition of motor skills. In the present investigation, we examined whether the perception of the rhythmic grouping organization of music notation has a direct effect on the formation of motor patterns in piano playing. Pianists were asked to sightread a piece with and without grouping instructions. Movement recordings were made within a three-dimensional trajectory by using light-emitting diodes and infrared camera systems combined with Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) technology. Findings indicate that there was a marked change in motor performance when subjects were instructed to perceive the notation in a particular mode of metered pulse-beat grouping. It was concluded that how one perceives a music score—by single notes, articulated motivic patterns, or by the metered pulse-beat grouping—is reflected in the organization of motor patterns.


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