Holger Hennig, Ragnar Fleischmann, Anneke Fredebohm, York Hagmayer, Jan Nagler, Annette Witt, Fabian Theis and Theo Geisel

The nature and perception of fluctuations in human musical rhythms


Examined the correlation properties of temporal fluctuations in music on the timescale of rhythms and their influence on the perception of musical performances. The authors were able to established long-range fluctuations as an inevitable natural companion of both simple and complex human rhythmic performances. To test the preference of computer generated music that has been ``humanized'' compared to plain computer generated music, 39 choir singers (mean age 26 years) were asked to first rate their music expertise on a scale of 1 (amateur) to 6 (professional), yielding an average of 3.8. Then the listeners heard 2 versions (listening to each version 3 times) of a computer generated song that was either humanized, using professional audio editing software which offers a humanizing feature that artificially generates rhythmic fluctuations, or was accompanied by white noise. The results demonstrated that listeners strongly preferred long-range correlated (LRC) fluctuations in musical rhythms. The authors therefore conclude that the favorable fluctuation type for humanizing interbeat intervals coincides with the one generically inherent in human musical performances.