WHEN A MELODY BEGINS WITH AN ANACRUSIS, (i.e.,"pick up" notes), rhythm and meter are out of phase. Three experiments were conducted to investigate the interactions between structural (rhythm and pitch) and performance (articulation and tempo) factors on the perception of anacruses. The independent variables were rhythmic figure, initial melodic direction, initial melodic interval, implied harmony, articulation, and tempo. Participants tapped "every other beat" to melodies composed for each experiment; the phase-alignment of taps with the stimulus was the dependent measure of anacrustic vs. non-anacrustic perception. Experiment 1 found a strong main effect for rhythmic figure and an interaction between rhythmic figure and tempo. Experiment 2 showed that as tempo increased there was a systematic shift toward anacrustic perception of some melodies. Experiment 3 found that in a rhythmically impoverished context, pitch-based structural factors had only a weak effect on the perception of anacrusis.

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