A4 Article in conference proceedings
The effects of melodic grouping and meter on eye movements during simple sight-reading tasks

List of Authors: Marjaana Penttinen, Erkki Huovinen
Publication year: 2009
Book title *: Proceesdings of the 7th Triennial Conference of European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music (ESCOM)


This study concerns the processes of eye movements during simple sight-reading tasks, concentrating on the processing of melodic groups separated by larger intervals and the effects of metrical placement of such groups. Thirty-two participants with varying musical background sight-read eight short melodies in two separate sessions. Eye movements during playing were recorded using an eye-tracker, and the performances on an electric piano with sequencer software. The melodies in question were of two types: melodic groupings were either aligned with the metrical divisions or made to overlap with them. The results indicate that reinspections to previously fixated notes during sight-reading increased with previous musical experience. During the performance of a single melody, the alignment of melodic groups with metrical units led to a gradual decrease of reinspections. Within the melodic groups themselves, the second notes of the groups received the largest total processing times. In addition, processing differences for notes involved in larger melodic intervals emerged depending on the visual placement of the notes within, or below, the staff system. Possible explanations of these findings as well as implications for future sight-reading studies will be discussed. 

Last updated on 2019-29-01 at 14:39