Open Access

Electrophysiological Study of Algorithmically Processed Metric/Rhythmic Variations in Language and Music

  • Sølvi Ystad1Email author,
  • Cyrille Magne2, 3,
  • Snorre Farner1, 4,
  • Gregory Pallone1, 5,
  • Mitsuko Aramaki2,
  • Mireille Besson2 and
  • Richard Kronland-Martinet1
EURASIP Journal on Audio, Speech, and Music Processing20072007:030194

DOI: 10.1155/2007/30194

Received: 1 October 2006

Accepted: 28 June 2007

Published: 10 December 2007

Abstract

This work is the result of an interdisciplinary collaboration between scientists from the fields of audio signal processing, phonetics and cognitive neuroscience aiming at studying the perception of modifications in meter, rhythm, semantics and harmony in language and music. A special time-stretching algorithm was developed to work with natural speech. In the language part, French sentences ending with tri-syllabic congruous or incongruous words, metrically modified or not, were made. In the music part, short melodies made of triplets, rhythmically and/or harmonically modified, were built. These stimuli were presented to a group of listeners that were asked to focus their attention either on meter/rhythm or semantics/harmony and to judge whether or not the sentences/melodies were acceptable. Language ERP analyses indicate that semantically incongruous words are processed independently of the subject's attention thus arguing for automatic semantic processing. In addition, metric incongruities seem to influence semantic processing. Music ERP analyses show that rhythmic incongruities are processed independently of attention, revealing automatic processing of rhythm in music.

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Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
Laboratoire de Mécanique et d'Acoustique, CNRS
(2)
Institut de Neurosciences Cognitives de la Méditerranée, CNRS
(3)
Psychology Department, Middle Tennessee State University
(4)
IRCAM
(5)
France Télécom

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Copyright

© Sølvi Ystad et al. 2007

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.