Harvard Psychological Studies, Volume 1 eBook

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of any musical worth.  In comic operas and popular ditties rhyme does now and then figure.  In such cases the pitch of the two or more rhyming syllables is identical; often the whole phrase is repeated for each rhyming verse.  A few experiments in singing a rhyme to simple intervals show that when the identical interval is used the two syllables rhyme well, but if the interval be in the opposite direction, or in another chord, the rhyme is very uncertain.  It seems that in music we usually have ‘feelings of expectation’ (i.e., tensions of some sort, central or peripheral), which are adequate to unite the phrases into larger unities.  These tensions are so definite and vivid that they quite obscure and swallow up the related condition of rhyme expectation.  These experiments on the modification of the rhyme by the various pitch and accent factors are not at all exhaustive or conclusive.  An extended series of experiments is needed.  The study of sound records for pitch is peculiarly tedious, but it should reveal some interesting relations between rhyme and speech melody.


I. Methods of Making Speech Records.

The study of spoken rhythm is of primary importance.  Observations on what the subject really does are always open to the objections that subjective factors play a large part, and that the observer’s perception of a rhythm is after all his perception of the rhythm, not the subject’s.  The voice is an important indicator of the activities which generate the rhythms of verse and music, and some objective method of measuring the sounds made is essential to a study of the rhythm production.

Methods of recording and studying the tones of the voice are as numerous as they are unsatisfactory.  In the main the work has been done for purposes of phonetics, and but few of the methods are applied in the psychological laboratory.

Marage[13] has an excellent summary of the methods with practical comments on their applicability.  Rousselot[14] (Histoire des applications de phonetique experimentale, 401-417:  objets et appareils, 1-10 et 669-700) gives a careful history of the methods from the phonetic point of view.  Scripture[15] gives a convenient English summary of the processes.

   [13] Marage:  l’Annee psychologique, 1898, V., p. 226.

   [14] Rousselot:  La Parole, 1899.

   [15] Scripture, E.W.:  Studies from the Yale Psych.  Lab.,
   1899, VII., p.  I.

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