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 smoked disc records are to be preferred to those scratched with a diamond, because of the superior legibility of the line, an important item if thousands of measurements are to be made.  The records are fixed with shellac and preserved, or they may be printed out by a photographic process and the prints preserved.  The parallel set of wax records is preserved with them.  There are several ways in which the wax records lend themselves to the study of rhythmic questions.  It is easy to change the rate, and thereby get new material for judgment, in a puzzling case.  Consonant qualities are never strong, and it is easy so to damp the reproducer that only the vowel intensities are heard.  The application in the study of rhyme is obvious.

All the series consisted of regular nonsense syllables.  The accented and unaccented elements were represented by the single syllable ‘ta’ (’a’ as in father).  Rhymes were of the form ‘da,’ ‘na,’ ‘ga’ and ‘ka.’  In other parts of the work (cf.  Table IV.) the vowel o had been used in rhymes for contrast; but the same vowel, a, was used in these records, to make the intensity measurements comparable.

The records of the measurements were as complete as possible.  The sonant and the interval of each element were measured, and all the pauses except the stanza pause were recorded.  The intensity of each syllable was recorded beneath the length of the syllable, and notes were made both from the appearance of the curve and from the phonograph record.

2.  The Normal Form of Unrhymed Verse.

To determine the influence of a subordinate factor in rhythm such as rhyme, it is necessary to know the normal form of verse without this factor.  It is natural to assume that the simplest possible form of material would be individual feet recorded seriatim.  But on trial, such material turned out to be very complex; the forms changed gradually, iambs becoming trochees and trochees changing into spondees.  It is very probable that the normal foot occurs only in a larger whole, the verse.

To corroborate the conclusions from perceived rhythms as to the existence of variations in earlier and later parts of the verse, a table of mean variations was prepared from the material recorded and measured for other purposes.

TABLE VI.

  MEAN VARIATIONS.

Iambic tetrameters; variations of each element from the average foot
of the entire stanza.

[Label 1:  Unaccented Element of Foot.] [Label 2:  Accented Element of Foot.] [Label 3:  Percentage M.V. of Unac.  El.] [Label 4:  Percentage M.V. of Ac.  El.]
Hu. 8 stanzas            [1]      [2]     [3]   [4]
M.V. 1st foot          0.9688   1.3125  11.1  7.8
2d   "            0.8125   0.6563   9.3  3.9
3d   "            0.8438   1.1875   9.7  7.1
4th  "            0.9688           11. 
Av. foot of all stanzas  8.69     16.88
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