Rhythmic variability in the vocal music of four European nations was examined, using the nPVI measure (normalized pairwise variability index). It was predicted that English and German songs would show higher nPVI than French and Italian ones, mirroring the differences between these nations in speech rhythm, and in accord with previous studies of instrumental music. Surprisingly, there was no evidence of this pattern, and some evidence of the opposite pattern: nPVI is higher in French and Italian vocal music than in English and German vocal music. This casts doubt on the theory that the differences in instrumental rhythm between these nations are due to differences in speech rhythm.

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