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Harvard Psychological Studies, Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 678 pages of information about Harvard Psychological Studies, Volume 1.
and in a large part of the work fifty, have been averaged.  This is sufficient to give a clear preponderance in the results to those characteristics which are really permanent tendencies in the rhythmical expression.  This is especially true in virtue of the fact that throughout these experiments the subject underwent preliminary training until the series of reactions could be easily carried out, before any record of the process was taken.  But when such material is analyzed in larger and smaller series of successive groups the number of reactions on which each average is based becomes reduced by one half, three quarters, and so on.  In such a case the prevailing intensive relations are liable to be interfered with and transformed by the following factor of variation.  When a wrong intensity has accidentally been given to a particular reaction there is observable a tendency to compensate the error by increasing the intensity of the following reaction or reactions.  This indicates, perhaps, the presence of a sense of the intensive value of the whole group as a unity, and an attempt to maintain its proper relations unchanged, in spite of the failure to make exact cooerdination among the components.  But such a process of compensation, the disappearance of which is to be looked for in any long series, may transpose the relative values of the accented elements in two adjacent groups when only a small number of reactions is taken into account, and make that seem to receive the major stress which should theoretically receive the minor, and which, moreover, does actually receive such a minor stress when the value of the whole group is regarded, and not solely that member which receives the formal accentuation.

The quantitative analysis of intensive relations begins with triple rhythms, since its original object was to compare the relative stresses of the unaccented elements of the rhythmic group.  These values for the three forms separately are given in Table XXII., in which the value of the accented element in each case is represented by unity.

TABLE XXII.

  Rhythm. 1st Beat. 2d Beat. 3d Beat.

Dactylic,          1.000     0.436     0.349
Amphibrachic,      0.488     1.000     0.549
Anapaestic,         0.479     0.484     1.000

The dactylic form is characterized by a progressive decline in intensity throughout the series of elements which constitute the group.  The rate of decrease, however, is not continuous.  There is a marked separation into two grades of intensity, the element receiving accentual stress standing alone, those which possess no accent falling together in a single natural group, as shown in the following ratios:  first interval to third, 1.000:0.349; second interval to third, 1.000:0.879.  One cannot say, therefore, that in such a rhythmic form there are two quantities present, an accented element and two undifferentiated

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