Review of "Perception and production of linguistic and musical rhythm by Korean and English middle school students" by Lydia N. Slobodian
Creators:Iversen, John R.
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Publisher:Empirical Musicology Review
Citation:Empirical Musicology Review, v3 n4 (October 2008), 208-214
Interest in possible cultural influences on basic rhythm perception and production has been growing, and the paper by Slobodian (2008) fits squarely in this trend, studying rhythm perception and production in a large number English and Korean native speakers. The findings were interpreted in terms of cross-cultural similarity, suggesting that preferences, e.g. for binary meter, are broadly shared across cultures. As is commonly encountered in cross-cultural research, however, there were several difficulties in offering a clear interpretation of the results, such as the large extent of Western music enculturation of the Korean participants. This commentary will review Slobodian’s findings, offering an alternative interpretation of one result, suggesting there may be a cultural difference in meter perception. It will also review other relevant research and integrate lessons learned from a recent study of rhythm perception in Korean, American and Japanese listeners. Throughout, it aims to offer suggestions of how to improve the chances of reaching the ultimate goal of understanding what aspect of culture shapes rhythm perception and production, and the mechanisms by which they do so.
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