Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Experimental Psychology: A Manual of Laboratory Practice, Vol. I: Qualitative Experiments, Part 1: Student's Manual
Titchener, Edward B.
174 Aîiditory Perception 
(9) What are the principal conditions of the analysis of a 
tonal complex ? 
(10) What is the ‘pitch ’ of a two-tone fusion ? 
§ 46. Ehythm. — Rhythm (Gk. pvéfyw, literally ‘flow’) has 
been defined from the objective standpoint as “movement in time, 
characterised by equality of measures and by alternation of 
tension (stress) and relaxation ” (Cent. Diet.). We may define 
it from the subjective standpoint as a temporal perception, 
which is characterised for introspection by the fact that its 
component sensations (a) recur at regular intervals and (b) 
evince a regular variation of intensity. The essential thing in 
the perception of rhythm is the “running together of the im¬ 
pressions to form organic groups ” (Bolton) ; the “ subjective 
bringing-together of the impressions to form a whole ” (Meu- 
mann); the apprehension of each term (arsis or thesis) in 
the rhythmical series as a repetition of the preceding arsis 
or thesis and a preparation for the following thesis or arsis 
There are only two classes of sensation that can form the basis 
of the perception of rhythm. These are the auditory and the 
tactual or ‘motor’ : there can no more be, e.g., a visual rhythm 
than there can be an auditory symmetry. The tactual rhythms 
are, perhaps, older in the history of mind than the auditory. 
On the other hand, auditory stimuli present great advantages 
for investigation. Whereas muscular movements are limited by 
the mechanical construction of the limbs, the nature of their 
attachment to the trunk, etc., sounds can be freely varied ; their 
variation as regards duration, time-interval, intensity, quality and 
clang-tint, is easily regulated ; and while tactual intervals must 
necessarily be filled, the intervals which are bounded by sounds 
may be either filled or empty. It is natural, then, that we choose 
a succession of sounds as our rhythm-stimulus. 
We must begin with sounds that are simple in character, and 
intrinsically uninteresting, — not possessed of any attribute 
that may attract the attention to them and away from their


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