Timing variations can be seen as one of the several acoustical dimensions influencing music perception.
Several studies have been proposed in order to analyze timing variations in mechanical and musical performances. The most basic timing variations are increasing and decreasing the inter onset intervals of the whole excerpt. By doing this over some structural elements, for example only over the sixteenth notes, we know that rhythmic groups can appear.
A recent study by Penel and Drake (2004) presents a perceptual performance paradigm to disentangle the timing variations in music performance.
Our study explores the impact of timing variations on perceived basic emotions.
The musical material we use is Chopin’s Etude Op. 10 No. 3 generated by computer.
In a neutral excerpt the inter onset intervals will reflect the variations in the score perfectly.
In other excerpts different acoustical dimensions such as intensity will be kept constant, and variations over time will be manipulated.
The excerpts will be presented pairwise to the listener who will be asked to judge the excerpts on several dimensions related to basic emotions.
We hypothesize that timing variations will indeed have an impact on the perceived emotions of the listener.