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The Science and Technology of Music

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Research Project: Short-term memory for consonant and dissonant musical intervals

Back to Research Field: Music Perception and Cognition

Short-term memory for consonant and dissonant musical intervals

  Research Project Information
Runtime: Jan 03, 2005 until Dec 30, 2008
Student staff: Susan Rogers (McGill)
Funding: Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology (CIRMMT); Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC)

A short-term memory (STM) paradigm is used to explore sensory and musical consonance/dissonance. Series of two-note dyads are presented while listeners perform a novel/familiar recognition task. Presuming the task to be affected by musical training, both musicans and non musicians are tested. Dyads are recognized well beyond the auditory STM limit of 30 sec. Differential memory based on knowledge of musical intervals, rather than their sensory properties, is shown to underlie memory for dyads.