The pitch difference between tones defining the boundaries of a silent interval affects the perceived duration of that interval. In three replications of our experimental task, we found that when subjects compared the durations of the two silent intervals defined by a three- tone "melody," the tones were perceived as having a greater temporal separation if a wide gap in pitch separated the two tones than if a narrow pitch gap separated the tones, even when the objective timing was identical.
Thirty-eight children between ages 3 and 12 listened to 12 short musical passages derived from a counterbalanced 2 × 2 arrangement of (1) major versus minor modes and (2) harmonized versus simple melodic realizations of these modes. For each passage, they pointed to one of four schematic faces chosen to symbolize happy, sad, angry, and contented facial expressions. The main result was that all children, even the youngest, showed a reliable positive-major/negative-minor connotation, thus conforming to the conventional stereotype. The possible contributions of native and experiential factors to this behavior are discussed.
Three experiments on the recognition of short melodies investigated the influence of contour and interval information (respectively, the pattern of changes in pitch direction and the ordered sequence of pitch distances in a melody). Subjects rated pairs of melodies as "same" or "different" on a five-point scale. Six conditions were defined by two delays (short, 1 sec; and long, 30 sec) and three item types (target, related, and lure). In Target pairs, the second melody retained the contour and interval information of the first melody, being an exact transposition to another key. In Related pairs, only the contour information was retained, while in the Lure pairs neither contour nor interval information was retained. In conformity with the reports of Dowling and Bartlett (1981), the results indicated that contour information had a larger influence on recognition at short delays, whereas interval information had a relatively larger influence at long delays. The results are also consistent with an alternative interpretation stressing the importance of tonality/modality information in melody recognition at long delays.