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.

The same method of analysis was next applied to four-beat rhythms.  The proportional intensive values of the successive reactions for the series of possible accentual positions are given in the following table: 


  Stress. 1st Beat. 2d Beat. 3d Beat. 4th Beat.

Initial,        1.000     0.575     0.407      0.432
Secondary,      0.530     1.000     0.546      0.439
Tertiary,       0.470     0.407     1.000      0.453
Final,          0.492     0.445     0.467      1.000

The first and fourth forms follow similar courses, each marked by initial and final stress; but while this is true throughout in the fourth form, it results in the first form from the preponderance of the final interval in a single individual’s record, and therefore cannot be considered typical.  The second and third forms are preserved throughout the individual averages.  The second form shows a maximum from which the curve descends continuously in either direction; in the third a division of the whole group into pairs is presented, a minor initial accent occurring symmetrically with the primary accent on the third element.  This division of the third form into subgroups appears also in its duration aspect.  Several inferences may be drawn from this group of relations.  The first and second forms only are composed of singly accented groups; in the third and fourth forms there is presented a double accent and hence a composite grouping.  This indicates that the position in which the accent falls is an important element in the cooerdination of the rhythmical unit.  When the accent is initial, or occurs early in the group, a larger number of elements can be held together in a simple rhythmic structure than can be cooerdinated if the accent be final or come late in the series.  In this sense the initial position of the accent is the natural one.  The first two of these four-beat forms are dactylic in structure, the former with a postscript note added, the latter with a grace note prefixed.  In the third and fourth forms the difficulty in cooerdinating the unaccented initial elements has resulted in the substitution of a dipodic division for the anapaestic structure of triple rhythms with final accent.

The presence of a tendency toward initial accentuation appears when the average intensities of the four reactions are considered irrespective of accentual position.  Their proportional values are as follows:  First, 1.000; second, 0.999; third, 1.005; fourth, 0.981.  Underlying all changes in accentuation there thus appears a resolution of the rhythmic structure into units of two beats, which are primitively trochaic in form.

The influence exerted by the accented element on adjacent members of the group is manifested in these forms more clearly than heretofore when the values of the several elements are arranged in order of their proximity to that accent and irrespective of their positions in the group.  Their proportional values are as follows: 

Project Gutenberg
Harvard Psychological Studies, Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook