Tim Brunson DCH

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Effects of timbre and tempo change on memory for music.

We investigated the effects of different encoding tasks and of manipulations of two supposedly surface parameters of music on implicit and explicit memory for tunes. In two experiments, participants were first asked to either categorize instrument or judge familiarity of 40 unfamiliar short tunes. Subsequently, participants were asked to give explicit and implicit memory ratings for a list of 80 tunes, which included 40 previously heard. Half of the 40 previously heard tunes differed in timbre (Experiment 1) or tempo (Experiment 2) in comparison with the first exposure. A third experiment compared similarity ratings of the tunes that varied in timbre or tempo. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) results suggest first that the encoding task made no difference for either memory mode. Secondly, timbre and tempo change both impaired explicit memory, whereas tempo change additionally made implicit tune recognition worse. Results are discussed in the context of implicit memory for nonsemantic materials and the possible differences in timbre and tempo in musical representations.

Q J Exp Psychol (Colchester). 2007 Oct 7;:1 [Epub ahead of print] Halpern AR, M├╝llensiefen D. Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA, USA.

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