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 simple sound series is fairly regular, because of its cyclic and automatic character.  It is not a matter of time estimation, and the ‘Taktgleichheit’ is not observed with accuracy.  The primary requisite for the unit groups is that they shall be alike, not that they shall be equal.  The normal cycle with a heavy accent is longer than the normal cycle with a lighter accent, for the simple reason that it takes muscles longer to relax from the tenser condition.  Time is not mysteriously ‘lost’; the objective difference is not noticed, simply because there are no striking differences in the cycles to lead one to a time judgment.  Ebhardt’s notion that the motor reaction interferes with the time judgment, and that a small amount of time is needed in the rhythmic series in which to make time judgments, is a mere myth.

An unusual irregularity, like a ‘lag,’ is noted because of the sense of strain and because other events supervene in the interval.  But such lags may be large without destroying the rhythm; indeed caesural and verse pauses are essential to a rhythm, and in no sense rhythm-destroying.  An unbroken series of unit groups is an abstraction to which most forms of apparatus have helped us.  Between the extreme views of Bolton[24] and Sidney Lanier,[25]who make regularity an essential of the rhythm of verse, and Meumann, on the other hand, who makes the meaning predominate over the rhythm, the choice would fall with Meumann, if one must choose.  Bolton comes to the matter after an investigation in which regularity was a characteristic of all the series.  Lanier’s constructions are in musical terms, and for that very reason open to question.  He points out many subtle and interesting relationships, but that verse can be formulated in terms of music is a theory which stands or falls by experimental tests.

   [24] Bolton, T.L.:  loc. cit.

   [25] Lanier, S.:  ‘The Science of English Verse.’


I    saw    a    ship    a    sailing
50    16  20  13 9 18  32 23-  132
A    sailing    on    the    sea
10 16  45       22     8  15  49  -68
And    it    was    full    of    pretty    things
8   6 20 6   6  27  37  12  8  7   20   12   41    -34
For    baby    and    for    me
14  9  27  37  18 20  14 8  46   —­

Totals of the feet:  —­6660/187

Who    killed    Cock    Robin
19      34       23     24 17-77
I    said    the    sparrow
45 21  19      3     47   29 —­
With    my    bow    and    arrow
22     36 25  49 11  38 12 23 33-42
I    killed    Cock    Robin
33 12  33   21  22  5  21 16-95
(The first stanza was measured in the Harvard Laboratory.  The last is modified from Scripture’s measurements of the gramophone record (1899).  As the scansion of the last is in doubt with Scripture, no totals of feet are given.)

In the cases given in the above table there is an irregularity quite impossible to music.

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