Jieun Oh
Music 220C
May 14, 2007

Where I am, How I Got Here, Where to Go Next!



<a star denotes predicted placement of a clap>



Revised Hypothesis

Hypothesis 1. Duple Perception as Side-effects of Clapping

Hypothesis 2. Lack of Anacrusis as the Direct Result of Language (Accents)

            (This hypothesis is still valid, especially given that all Koreans perceived the very first beat as the downbeat. My overarching intuition is that a much higher proportion of English words are iambic (short-long) than are Korean words, which almost always receive the strongest emphasis on the first of multi-syllabic words). This leads to my next “gut-feeing” that more English songs are characterized by having an anacrusis (pick-up) than Korean songs. (An example of this is a popular Christmas tune “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” where the English version—with the lyrics “You better watch out, you better not cry”—has a pick-up while the Korean version—with the lyrics “ul-myeon-ahn-dwe, ul-myeon-ahn-dwe” starts right on the down beat…) It would be interesting to explore this further.

[Note Hypothesis1 and Hypothesis2 are quite independent and thus are compatible]

Hypothesis 3. Learning to Sing Songs

            I’m sure that there are some common songs in ¾ meter that Koreans would find it very weird and awkward to clap in duple. Perhaps it’s some strange way we learn to sing Happy Birthday that makes it feel so natural for Koreans to sing the song in duples. A quick exploration of videos uploaded in people’s blogs/ websites helped me discover some fun clips that convey how kids learn to sing Happy Birthday.


Hypothesis 4. Influence of Metric Cues heard prior to performance

Perhaps Koreans are biased to duple because often people start off a song by saying the two-syllable cue, “shi~ jak~” (meaning “start now”). Compare the following three scenarios to test the extent of influence of metric cues heard prior to performance:

If the effect goes away dramatically between (a) and (b), that would suggest that the two-syllable cue in Korean affects meter perception of Happy Birthday. If this is indeed the case, I may want to confirm the influence of metric cues heard prior by having participants listen to songs of specific meter before performing this task.


SPRING 2007 (Goal: figure out the optimal hardware & software set-up to measure perceived emphasis)