Harvard Psychological Studies, Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 757 pages of information about Harvard Psychological Studies, Volume 1.
Rhythm.  2.428 2.000 1.769 1.666 1.571 1.400 1.222 1.182 1.118 1.000
Trochaic,             93.7        74.0  44.2  25.0        25.0   2.9
Datylic,  93.6  54.0        39.4        18.4

These figures are corroborative of the preceding conclusions.  The dactylic figure is maintained in the presence of much greater differences in the relative durations of accented and unaccented intervals than is the trochaic.  In the latter, inversions not only appear earlier in the series, but become the (practically) exclusive mode of apprehension at a point where not fifty per cent, of the dactyls have suffered transformation.  At a certain definite stage in the process the tendencies toward the two forms of apprehension balance each other, so that with the slightest change in direction of attention the rhythmical figure inverts and reverts to the original form indifferently.  These points are defined, in the case of the two rhythms here reported on, by the following (or intermediate) ratios:  Trochaic-Iambic, (1.400-1.571):  1.000; Dactylic-Anapaestic, (1.666-2.000):  1.000.

The temporal conditions of such equilibrium are a strict function of the degree of accentuation which the rhythm group presents.  The location of the indifference point must, therefore be independently determined for each intensive value through which the accented element may pass.  Its changes are given for five such increments in the following table, in which the values of the various intervals are represented as proportions of the absolute magnitudes which appear in the first, or undifferentiated series.


Intensive Form.   1st Interval.  2d Interval.  3d Interval.
1/8  1/8  1/8       1.000         1.000          1.000
3/8  1/8  1/8       1.042         1.010          0.948
7/8  1/8  1/8       1.142         1.021          0.862
15/8  1/8  1/8       1.146         1.042          0.808
24/8  1/8  1/8       1.291         1.000          0.708


In the elaboration of higher rhythmical forms the combination of formally identical groups is rather the rule than the exception, since in poetical structures the definition of the metrical form and the maintenance of its proper relations depend on a clear preponderance of its own particular unit-type over local variants.  In the experimental investigation of composite rhythm forms the temporal relations of structures presenting such likeness in their constituent groups were first taken up.  In the conduct of the research those differences of intensity which are actually expressed and apprehended in the utterance of a rhythmic sequence were uniformly employed.  While there is no doubt that a succession of perfectly identical forms would, under the requisite temporal conditions, be apprehended as presenting major and minor phases of accentuation, yet in the expression of rhythmic relations the subordination of accents is consistently observed, and all our ordinary apprehension of rhythm, therefore, is supported by an objective configuration which fulfils already the form of our own subjective interpretation.

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Harvard Psychological Studies, Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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