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Comments to date: 11. Page 1 of 1. Average Rating:
Jerry R Booker 5:54am on Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 
Disk Read problem 2 months After Warranty Expiration This was a very exciting game system for my son. Bought 1 year and 2 months ago. Possibly a must-own device to have in your home! Having upgraded to the latest PlayStation 3 Slim. A review from someone who owns all three next gen consoles I own all three next gen consoles and have nothing bad to say about any of them at all.
sjolin_peter 2:46pm on Sunday, August 29th, 2010 
get an xbox its horrible i hate it and regret buying it is still an excellent console with blue-ray, 3d, free online play.
Hasimir_0 11:02pm on Friday, August 13th, 2010 
Purchased this ps3 to go along with the lg 55lh55 lcd that I ordered from Vanns. The ps3 deffinately lives up to its billing It Only Does Everything! this was an excellent buy i was very satisfied great tv
serps 10:24am on Friday, July 30th, 2010 
Nice looking in its new sleeker format. Excellent features, though it does take time to explore and understand all of the PS3 features
tompaa 3:46pm on Saturday, July 24th, 2010 
the ps3250 is just plain awesomethis.[...]it just doesnt get any better than this.t[...] Fun For All Ages, Great Graphics, Easy To Set Up.
frankd 3:05pm on Monday, July 12th, 2010 
Not like the old customer service My family was very excited to upgrade from the Playstation 2 console to all the great things that can be done with a...
AlaskaHome1959 10:57am on Monday, June 28th, 2010 
This console is great! Im not much on gaming but I use the Bluray portion of the console alot. The picture and sound quality are awesome!
Serna 1:47pm on Saturday, June 26th, 2010 
Good Graphics. Sports, Great Graphics, Lots of Game Choices, Fun For All Ages Older Models can freeze, Online not as good xbox
rrhutch 9:47pm on Thursday, June 24th, 2010 
Watch out for online downloads from PSN which are not full resolution. I have only run into one so far. Wing Commander was a conversion I think. Overall great system. Tiny flaws that can be overlooked. Great buy.
beppy 11:27pm on Saturday, June 12th, 2010 
Aside from the lacking of PS2 support, this system is amazing, I love everything about it, I have no words to describe this beautiful game console.
satish_kols 12:52am on Friday, March 12th, 2010 
This is very nice the remote is universal and works with other items as well was easy to set up and we were able to get this online to play games and ... My son says it is a great gameing system, and has blue ray also. Performs great. Came with remote and hdmi cable, a plus.

Comments posted on are solely the views and opinions of the people posting them and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of us.




Haskins Laboratories Status Report on Speech Research 1994, SR-117/11S, 193-209
Acoustics, Perception, and Production of Legato Articulation on a Digital Piano*

Bruno H. Repp

This study investigated the perception and production of legato ("connected") articulation in repeatedly ascending and descending tone sequences on a digital piano (Roland RD-250s). Initial measurements of the synthetic tones revealed substantial decay times following key release. High tones decayed faster than low tones, as they did prior to key release, and long tones decayed sooner than short tones because of their more extensive pre-release decay. Musically trained subjects (including pianists) were asked to adjust the key overlap times (KOTs) of successive piano tones so that they sounded optimally, minimally, or maximally legato. The results supported two predictions based on the acoustic measurements: KOTs for successive tones judged to be optimally or maximally legato were greater for high than for low tones, and greater for long than for short tones, so that auditory overlap presumably remained more nearly constant. For minimal legato adjustments the effect of tone duration was reversed, however. Adjusted KOTs were also longer for relatively consonant tones (3 semitones separation) than for dissonant tones (1 semitone separation). Subsequently, KOTs were measured in skilled pianists' legato productions of tone sequences similar to those in the perceptual experiment. KOTs clearly increased with tone duration, an effect that was probably mototic in origin. There was no effect of tone height, suggesting that the pianists did not immediately adjust to differences in acoustic overlap. KOTs were slightly shorter for dissonant than for conson.ant tones.
They also varied with position in the ascendingdescending tone sequences, indicating that the pianists exerted strategic control over KOT as a continuous expressive dimension. There were large individual differences among pianists, both in the perceptual judgment and in the production of legato.


A. Modes of articulation On most musical instruments, successive tones can be produced in two basic modes of articulation: unconnected and connected. In the unconnected mode, perceptible intervals of (what seems to be) silence separate successive tones. On the piano, this is achieved by releasing a key before the next key is depressed. It is appropriate whenever the score indicates a rest or staccato articulation, and also at the ends of phrases or slurs as an aspect of "phrasing." The connected mode is generally referred to as leg at 0 articulation. Here the preceding tone seems to end at the same time as the following tone begins. Correspondingly, the pianist releases a key at about the same time as the next key is depressed. The piano is one of a number of instruments that permit the simultaneous sounding of several tones. This is achieved by depressing several keys at the same time) The possibility of this third mode of articulation, the simultaneous or chordal mode, has implications for legato articulation: In order to achieve a very smooth connection between tones, a pianist may release a key after depressing the key for the following tone, so that there is a small amount of overlap. The duration of this overlap (time of key release minus time of key depression for the following tone) will be referred to as key overlap time (KOT) in the following; it is positive when there is overlap, and negative when

This research was supported by NIlI grant MH-51230. lam grateful to Charles Nichols for his extensive assistance, to Janet Hander-Powers and Nigel Nettheim for comments on an earlier draft, and to the participating pianists for their patience.
the key release precedes the following key depression. 2 A small amount of key overlap is not perceived as a simultaneity but rather as an increased connectedness of the tones. One reason why some amount of key overlap can be tolerated is that the sound level of a piano tone, after a rapid rise, decays as a function of time, so that the end of the preceding tone is usually much softer than the beginning of the following tone. Because of this discrepancy in relative intensity and the abrupt rise time of the following tone, masking may occur, so that a brief acoustic overlap may not be readily detectable. However, masking is not likely to provide a full explanation because the acoustic overlap of successive piano tones is actually much more extensive than suggested by the KOT. Although the damper extinguishes the string vibrations when a key is released, this process is not instantaneous, and soundboard vibrations and acoustic reverberation in a room may further contribute to prolonging a tone's acoustic duration. The highest piano strings (usually starting with F#6) do not have any dampers at all. Thus, when two tones are perceived as unconnected (i.e., when KOT is negative), the apparent silent interval between them is at least partially filled by the decaying energy of the first tone, and there may in fact be some acoustic overlap. In typical legato articulation, where one key is released shortly after the depression of the next key, the acoustic overlap may be quite substantial, yet listeners do not complain about hearing simultaneous tones. This is probably due to auditory grouping of a tone's "tail" with its "body," and consequent perceptual segregation of the simultaneous tones, within limits (see Bregman, 1990).3 Here we note only that a short KOT corresponds to a much longer tone overlap time, whose precise duration depends on the intensities and decay rates of the tones and on the ambient noise level. These considerations give rise to a number of interesting questions about the acoustics, perception, and production of legato articulation on the piano--questions that the present study was intended to address in a preliminary way: (1) Acoustics: What are the decay characteristics of piano tones, particularly after key release? (2) Perception: How much key overlap (and consequent tone overlap) can listeners tolerate when judging the articulation of successive tones to be legato, before they start hearing simultaneities? Does experience as a pianist affect these judg-
ments? What factors influence the amount of key overlap listeners are willing to tolerate? (3) Production: What are the typical KOTs when pianists play legato? Is there variation among individual pianists in this respect? Do pianists vary their timing of key depressions to compensate for factors that affect perceptual overlap? Are there differences in degree of legato between pianists' right and left hands, and between pairs of fingers on each hand? There is not much previous research addressing these questions; what little is known to the author is summarized in the following sections.

B. Acoustics

The acoustic decay characteristics of sustained (undamped) piano tones are fairly well understood (see, e.g., Martin, 1947; Weinreich, 1990; Wogram, 1990). After a brief rise time and early amplitude peak, the sound decays slowly, typically with an initial faster rate of decay giving way to a slower rate. These two decay rates seem to represent the respective contributions of vertical and horizontal string motion: The vertical component is initially larger but is transmitted to the vertically moving soundboard and hence decays to below the level of the horizontal component within a few seconds (Weinreich, 1990). The decay rate of the vertical component can be altered radically, however, by interactions among the two or three strings struck by the same key (Weinreich, 1990) and by the relative impedance of the soundboard at the vibrating frequencies (Wogram, 1990); thus the two components may not always be clearly distinguishable in the amplitude envelope. Tones above roughly 700 Hz (about F5) seem to have only a single decay rate (Martin, 1947). The fact most relevant to the present study is that the decay rate increases with fundamental frequency: While a low tone such as C2 takes about 4 s to decay by 20 dB (1/10 of the amplitude) on an upright piano, C4 takes only about 2 s, and C6 about 1 s (Wogram, 1990). Because of the complex resonance characteristics of the soundboard and other factors, however, the decay rates of tones close in pitch may differ substantially (Benade, 1990; Wogram, 1990). The precise decay characteristics of individual piano tones thus are largely instrument-specific and need to be measured in any particular experimental context. The literature offers surprisingly little information about the decay characteristics of piano tones following key release, after the damper falls upon the strings. These post-release decay times are
Acoustics, Perception, and Production of Legato Articulation on a Digital Piano
likely to depend on the amplitude of string vibration when the damper touches the strings, on the thickness of the strings, on the weight and surface condition of the damper, and on the velocity of key release (damper lowering), among other things. Moreover, the post-release decay times of tones heard by a listener are probably a good deal longer than those of the strings alone, since they include the decay of (undamped) sound board vibrations and reverberation. Therefore, it is necessary to measure these times in any specific setting used for research purposes. In the first part of the present study, this was done on the output of an electronic instrument whose sounds presumably had been modeled on a specific piano recorded under specific conditions. The main concern here was not the representativeness of these measurements for pianos in general but an adequate characterization of the specific acoustic environment in which the following perception and production experiments were conducted.

experiments, with particular attention to the decay following key release. The analysis was essential because the tones were produced by an electronic instrument about whose sound inventory no detailed specifications were available from the manufacturer. A previous study (Repp, 1993) had focused on their peak sound levels and on aspects of their spectral structure but had not considered their decay characteristics. It would have led too far to investigate in detail the extent to which these synthetic piano tones were representative of natural piano tones. However, it seemed highly likely that they were modelled on a set of acoustically recorded tones. Thus, their decay probably represented not only the decay of string vibrations but also the decay of soundboard vibrations and acoustic reverberation in some enclosed space. This was as it should be because it corresponds to what a listener hears and because it makes the synthetic tones sound realistic, especially over earphones.


The instrument was a Roland RD-250s digital piano using a proprietary "adaptive synthesis" algorithm. "Piano 1" sound was used with a constant MIDI velocity of 40, because this velocity was also used in the subsequent perception experiment. 8 To reduce the number of measurements, only every third tone was analyzed in the range from C2 (65 Hz) to C7 (2093 Hz). Four series of tones between these two endpoints were played under the control of a Macintosh IIvx computer, using the Performer MIDI sequencing program. The' four series differed in the nominal tone duration, i.e. in the interval between MIDI "note on" (key depression) and "note off' (key release) commands, which was 250,500,750, or 1000 ms'. The nominal intertone interval (between each MIDI "note off' command and the next "note on" command) was 500 ms. 9 The analog output of the digital piano was input to a Macintosh lIci computer using AudioMedia software with a sampling rate of 44.1 kHz. The digitized waveforms were then analyzed using Signalyze software. The RMS amplitude envelope was computed for each tone using a window size of 30 ms. Since the program does not display dB values, all measurements were performed on the RMS amplitude values and subsequently converted into dB (with an arbitrary reference). As the output of the digital piano was deterministic and temporal resolution was very fine, it was not necessary to perform each measurement more than once. Apparent irregularities were double-checked, however.

The purpose of the acoustic analysis was to characterize the sound pressure envelopes of the piano tones used in the perception and production
B. Results and discussion Figure 1 shows pre-release decay as a function of musical pitch, as measured in the 1000-ms tones. The graph shows each tone's peak RMS level, as well as the sound levels 250, 500, 750, and 1000 ms from energy onset. 10 Peak level was reached after a variable rise time, which ranged from 24 to 43 ms for C2 to C5 (except for A4, which had an unusually slow rise time of 89 ms) but was much shorter (around 5 ms) from E b 5 on.n Peak levels were fairly stable between C2 and C6, although there was some variation from tone to tone (as already demonstrated by Repp, 1993). Above C6, peak level decreased as a function of pitch. The initial pre-release decay also increased dramatically at high pitches. Tones below C6 decayed by only a few dB over the first 250 ms, whereas from C6 on there was a very substantial initial decay. Beyond 250 ms, the decay rates varied less dramatically as a function of pitch, except for the tones in the lowest octave, which decayed at a much slower rate. Some individual tones (e.g., E b 4, A5) had amplitude envelopes with irregular characteristics, which may reflect beats caused by slightly mistuned strings in the original piano that served as a model. The sound level of C7 beyond 500 ms was too low to be measured. It is clear from Figure 1 that the pre-release decay increased with pitch, as expected, though there were irregularities in this relationship which presumably reflect the complex acoustics of real pianos.l 2
The four lower functions in Figure 1 represent the sound levels at the time of key release for the four tone durations employed here. Since this sound level decreased as pitch increased and as tone duration increased, the post-release decay time must likewise have decreased with increasing pitch and increasing duration. This is confirmed in Figure 2, which shows how soon after key release tones of different nominal durations reached 1/10 (-20 dB) or 1/100 (-40 dB) of their peak amplitude.Missing data points indicate that the specified level was reached before key release. The post-release decay times were quite substantial. Even by the conservative -40 dB criterion, the lowest tones took about 300 ms to decay, and tones up to C6 took at least 100 ms. Tones above C6 decayed somewhat sooner, though A6 and C7 were abnormal in that they showed much slower decay when released early than when released late. The reason for this anomaly was not clear, as these tones should not have been affected at all by key release because of the absence of dampers for the highest strings in a real piano.

Nominal tone duration

350.,.---------1. 250 ms (-40 dB) ___ 500 ms (-40 dB). 750 ms (-40 dB)

. 1000 mS (-40 dB)

-0- 250 ms (-20 dB)

-0- 500 ms (-20 dB)


-tr- 750 ms (-20 dB)

-0- 1000 ms (-20 dB)
- t - peak value. after250ms

after 500 ms

~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

. after 750 ms after1000ms
Figure 2. Post-release decay times: Time after key release by which the tones had decayed to -20 and -40 dB of their peak level.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Pitch

Figure 1. Pre-release decay: RelativeRMS sound levels of digital piano tones at their peaks and at four time points in their amplitude envelopes (measured from energy onset).
The effects of pre-release decay on the postrelease decay time, shown in Figure 2, would have been obtained even if the post-release decay rate had been constant. However, higher-pitched tones also decayed faster than lower tones, not only
berore but also after key release. Pre-release tone duration, on the other hand, did not seem to have any" systematic effect on post-release decay rate; therefore, Figure 3 shows the data averaged over the four nominal tone durations. The figure shows the time it took for the post-release sound level to decay by 20 dB. (This is the time difference between the -20 dB and -40 dB points in Figure 2.) This time decreased from about 180 to 90 ms over the pitch range investigated (i.e., the decay rate increased from about 11 dB/cs to 22 dB/cs), and the decrease as a function of pitch was much steeper during the lowest octave than during the higher octaves. The points for the two highest pitches have been omitted in the figure because of their much slower post-release decay rates (cf. Figure 2). The lines were fitted by hand to indicate the general trend of the data; again, there are some irregularities. 14
environment within which the following experiments were conducted.
The purpose of this experiment, as already indicated, was to investigate the influence of three factors (register, tempo, and relative consonance) on the amount of key overlap perceived as legato. An adjustment task was used to determine the overlaps judged to represent the "best" as well as "minimal" and "maximal" legato. It was expected that listeners would tolerate more key overlap in conditions where there is less acoustic overlap due to shorter post-release decay times, namely in the high register and at a slow tempo (long tone durations). Furthermore, it was predicted that more key (and acoustic) overlap would be tolerated for relatively consonant than for dissonant tones. (The consonant tones were also more widely separated in pitch, which could lead to the same prediction.) Half of the musically trained subjects were pianists, and it was of interest whether their specific experience would be reflected in different criteria for, and/or reduced variability of, their adjustments. Fourteen paid volunteers participated. All but one were Yale undergraduates; they ranged in age from 18 to 25. All subjects were musically trained, having received between 8 and 15 years of formal instruction on at least one instrument. Seven were pianists (though several of them played a second instrument as well); the others played various instruments including violin, cello, double bass, oboe, trumpet, and guitar. 2. Materials and procedure. An interactive adjustment task was set up using the Roland RD250s digital piano interfaced with a Macintosh IIvx computer. The control program was written using the Max graphic programming environment. The program created various random orders of 24 tone sequences resulting from the combination of three registers, four tempi, and two step sizes (or degrees of relative consonance). All tones had a constant MIDI velocity of 40. Each sequence consisted of a continuously ascending and descending scale or arpeggio based on five different tones. The three registers (low, medium, high) represented starting frequencies of C2 (65 Hz), C4 (262 Hz), and C6 (1047 Hz), respectively. The four tempi represented tone inter-onset


l:O -0

_140 120

A. Method 1. Subjects.

oS 100

Figure 3. Post-release decay rates: The time it took for tones to decay by 20 dB following key release.
Although there seem to be no data in the literature to compare the present results with, the complex and somewhat irregular acoustic characteristics of the present tones suggest that they were indeed modelled after acoustically recorded piano tones. It should be noted, however, that natural piano tones exhibit much greater variation in peak sound level (Repp, 1993); some kind of equalization must have been applied in the proprietary synthesis scheme that generated the digital tones. To what extent the present findings are representative of the decay characteristics of natural piano tones remains to be detennined. However, they adequately describe the acoustic
intervals (lOIs) of 260, 519, 779, and 1039 ms. I5 The two step sizes were 1 and 3 semitones (st), so that the tone sequences represented either a short chromatic scale extending over 4 st (a major third) or a diminished-seventh-chord arpeggio extending over one octave. Tones separated by 1 st formed the highly dissonant interval of a minor second, whereas tones separated by 3 st formed the moderately consonant interval of a minor third. Sequences were started and stopped by clicking START and STOP "buttons" on the computer screen. Nominal tone duration (key release time, and hence also KOT) was controlled by a horizontal "slider" on the screen that could be dragged or clicked with the mouse. Each sequence started with the slider in the left-most position, corresponding to a nominal tone duration of 150 ms, which made the tones sound definitely unconnected. Nominal tone durations controlled by the slider ranged from 150 to 1500 ms in 10-ms steps; they were not displayed numerically. Subjects sat at the computer and listened binaurally to the output of the digital piano over Sennheiser HD540II earphones. The volume was set at the same comfortable level for all subjects. After receiving written instructions and a few minutes of free practice, subjects completed four blocks of 24 trials each, with short breaks in between. Each block was initiated by the experimenter who reset the program, which then generated a new random sequence of the same 24 trials. The current trial number was displayed on the computer screen. The subject initiated each trial by clicking the START button and terminated it by clicking the STOP button after adjusting the slider according to the criterion specified. The program: stored the slider settings, and the experimenter saved them in a file at the end of each block. Each block took between 10 and 15 minutes to complete. Instructions were different for each of the first three blocks. In the first block, the subject was asked to adjust the slider so as to find the "best" legato. (S)he was advised to move the slider slowly to tlle right until the tones sounded not only connected but unacceptably overlapping, and then to reverse direction and try to "zero in" on the optimal legato setting by moving the slider back and forth over a narrower region. (S)he was warned not to "overshoot" the target zone on the slider when the tempo was fasU6 In the second block, the subject was asked to zero in on the boundary between unconnected and connected tones, and to find the setting that was just barely acceptable as legato ("minimal" legato). In the

Acoustics, Perc tion, and Production
Le ato Articulation on a Oi ital Piano

Low register

Middle register

High register

400.,----.---.----.,.------,r------,------, 1 st 3 st 1 st 1 st 3 st 3 st

____ Max

-. - Min


a. 100 ttl

> o >Q)

00>0>0> C\IlCl


Inter-onset interval (ms)
Figure 4. Adjusted KOT in three conditions as a function of register, step size, and 101. The bars represent plus/minus

ope standard error.

The results for "maximal" legato judgments were basically similar, except that the adjusted J{OTs were longer and the effect of 101 was stronger and more nearly monotonic. Variability was very high and increased with register and 101, though not with step size. The effect of registflr was pronounced [F(2,24) = 21.45, P <.0001], with average KOTs of 87, 162, and 235 IllS, respectively. The predicted effect of step size (or consonance) was prflsent [F(1,12) = 8.91, p <.02], though not very large; the average KOTs were 137 and 185 ms, respectively. The step size effect was again absent in the high register, although the two-way interaction fell short of significance. The effect of 101 was highly significant [F(3,36) == 19.20, p <.0001], due to a negatively accelerated increase in KQT with 101 (80, 164, 198, and 204 ms, respectively). There was a significant 101 by register interaction [F(6,72) = 3.71, p <.003], due to larger effects of 101 as register increasfld. There was no effect of pianistic expertise. Adjustments of "minimal" legato exhibited much leSS variability. The average KOTs were negativfl, indicating that nominal gaps of up to 100 ms can still be acceptable as legato, depending on the
condition: The most striking effect here was that of 101 [F(3,36) = 25.22, P <.0001], though it was inverted: KOT decreased (i.e., nominal gap time increasfld) as 101 increased, the average durations being -26, -50, -89, and -107 ms, respectively. There was also a significant effect of step size [F(1,12) = 9.40, p <.01] in the predicted direction, with average KOT being less for chromatic scales (-76 ms) than for diminished-seventh-chord arpeggi (-60 ms). Finally, there was an effect of registflr [F(2,24) = 3.85, p <.04], though it was not monotonic: KOTs were shortest for low tones (-81 ms) and longest for medium-pitched tones (-57 ms), with high tones in between (-66 ms). No other effects reached significance. From Figure 4 it is clear that the range of KOTs acceptable as legato increases dramatically with 101 and with register. Since several degrees of connectedness are probably discriminable within the larger ranges (though the relevant perceptual experiments remain to be conducted), the results imply that, the slower the tempo and the higher the register, the greater the variety of possible legato nuances. The opposite effects ofIOl on the upper and lower boundaries of the legato range probably account for the irregular effect of 101 on

"best" legato judgments, which lie approximately in the center of the range in the low and middle registers, but closer to the upper boundary in the high register. The effect of 101 on "maximal" legato judgments was as expected, with increasing KOTs being tolerated as 101 increased. This is almost certainly due to the lower sound levels at release and the shorter post-release decay times of long tones, which result in reduced acoustic and auditory overlap with the following tone. It is noteworthy that the 101 effect was largest between 250 and 500 ms and smallest or absent between 750 and 1000 ms. This agrees with the faster initial decay of piano tones, which takes place during the first 500 ms or so (see Figure 1). The strong effect of register for both "best" and "maximal" legato judgments was also in the predicted direction, with the largest KOTs in the high register and the smallest in the low register. This is consistent with the much faster decay of high than low tones, both before and after key release. Unlike the effect of 101, the register effect was of similar magnitude in "best" and "maximal" legato judgments. The predicted effect of step size was obtained for both ''best'' and "maximal" legato judgments, but it was virtually absent in the high register. This interaction is compatible with an interpretation in terms of relative consonance. The relative dissonance of complex tones has been attributed to the interaction of individual partials (Plomp and Levelt, 1965; Kameoka & Kuriyagawa, 1969), and since high piano tones have fewer significant partials than low tones, they are likely to show fewer such interactions and hence smaller effects of perceived dissonance. It is difficult to see how such an interaction could have arisen from fundamental frequency separation alone. The fundamentals of tones separated by 3 st were well within the auditory filter bandwidth (Moore & Glasberg, 1983) in the low register but were separated by more than one critical band in the high register, whereas frequencies separated by 1 st were always within the same critical band. If anything, this should have led to a larger step size effect in the higher register. The "minimal" legato judgments essentially represent gap detection thresholds. Of course, these estimates are much less precise than those obtained in typical psychoacoustic experiments, but their ecological validity may be greater. It is interesting to note that the average adjustments never corresponded to a key overlap, not even for high tones whose rapid pre-release decay caused a
substantial drop in sound level before the onset of the following tone. Moreover, even though this drop increased with tone duration, more rather than less of a nominal gap was needed to hear a separation between long tones, and this was true regardless of pitch, the effect of register being rather small and nonmonotonic. Thus it was not the case that a sufficiently large drop in the amplitude envelope disrupted perception of connectedness. Rather, it seemed as if long tones sounded inherently more legato than short tones, so that more of a physical separation was required to hear them as disconnected. Although Kuwano et al. (1994) did not investigate the effect of nominal tone duration on perceptual judgments, their measurements of acoustic overlap times in a pianist's production show longer overlaps for long than for short tones when the intention was to play with various degrees of connectedness or overlap, but also longer acoustic gaps for long than for short tones when the intention was to play in a disconnected mode.l 7 This pattern seems congruent with the present perceptual findings of an increased range of KOTs for long tones and of an inverted effect of tone duration (i.e., IOn on nominal gap durations. Kuwano et al. (1994) did not report KOTs but only acoustic overlap times, based on a -60 dB criterion for the end of a tone. According to that measure, the. acoustic overlap was less than 170 ms when listeners gave predominantly "separated" responses, about 240 ms when they judged the tones to be "marginally connected," and more than 280 ms when they gave mostly "overlapping" responses. The lOIs were 600 and 300 ms (Kuwano, pers. comm.; the test melody contained both quarter and eighth notes), the pitch steps varied between 2 and 5 st, and the pitches ranged from F4 to F5. The present 260 and 519 ms 101 conditions in the middle register with a 3 st step size come closest to their stimuli. The average post-release decay time to -60 dB (extrapolated from the -20 and -40 dB points in Figure 2) of the relevant tones is roughly 250 ms. This implies acoustic overlaps of about 230 ms for "minimal" legato, 340 ms for "best" legato, and 400 ms for "maximal" legato. If the "marginally connected" category of Kuwano et al. is equated with the present "minimal" legato, then the data seem in agreement. It seems, however, that the present "best" legato stimuli would have been judged by their listeners as "overlapping," and the present "maximal" legato stimuli, as "extensively overlapping." There are a number of differences between the studies, however, that could account

for this apparently lower tolerance for overlap in their subjects, such as their use of musically untrained subjects. Also, their piano tones may have had decay characteristics different from those of the present tones; unfortunately, they did not describe those characteristics. On a more general level, the present data agree with their findings in demonstrating that a substantial acoustic overlap can be tolerated by listeners before they complain about simultaneity of pitches. However, the results should not be taken to imply that the overlap is not detectable as such, even though the end of the "tail" of the decaying tone is almost certainly masked by the more powerful following tone. To assess the auditory detectability of overlap and the masking between simultaneous complex tones, precise psychoacoustical experiments are required. What matters more than detectability in a musical context, however, is perceptual and aesthetic tolerance within a specific instrumental environment and an associated performance tradition. Because of masking between andlor perceptual segregation of simultaneous tones, it seems unlikely that any perceptual criterion (either "best" or "maximal" legato) corresponds to a fixed amount of acoustic overlap. This possibility was explored briefly by adding the post-release decay times determined in the first part of this study to the KOTs found in the second part. As expected, there was no constancy overall, though lowpitched tones judged to be maximally legato all overlapped by about the same amount. The listeners' responses in the adjustment task may be prima facie evidence for some auditory constancy in terms of degree of connectedness. However, there may be no simple acoustic correlate of this constancy. A final word is in order about individual differences. There was no difference between experienced pianists and nonpianists, but there was large variability within each group. The Illost unusual subject was a guitarist whose adjusted KOTs were all negative, even for "maximal" legato. Apparently, he was acutely sensitive to acoustic tone overlap and employed a criterion appropriate for his own instrument. Of course, he contributed strongly to the variability among the nonpianists. But even when his data were excluded, there was no clear difference between the two groups, and pianists themselves apparently had widely divergent criteria for what counted as a good legato. This may be related to individual differences in average KOT during

legato articulation, an aspect of a pianist's "touch." The final part of this study investigated this production aspect of legato playing.
The purpose of this experiment was twofold. One aim was to measure the KOTs pianists produce when they intend to play optimally legato and to assess the magnitude of individual differences, as well as possible differences between right and left hands and between pairs of fingers. The second aim was to investigate whether pianists adjust, consciously or subconsciously, to factors that affect acoustic tone overlap and perceptual judgments of legato style, as demonstrated in the previous experiment. The pianists were asked to play scales and arpeggi like those used as stimuli in Part II, on the same instrument. Thus they were operating under similar acoustic conditions, and even though the sounds were synthetic and the keyboard felt different from that of a real piano, it was expected that, if adjustments in legato playing occur in response to acoustic factors on a real piano, they would also occur on a digital piano. The same three factors as in Part II were varied in the materials, and the predictions were the same: Pianists were expected to show longer KOTs in Ii high register than in a low register, at a slow tempo (long lOIs) than at a fast tempo (short lOIs), and in a relatively consonant than in a dissonant sequence of tones. A complicating circumstance, however, was that these factors, tempo and step size in particular, may also have purely motoric consequences that are independent of the auditory feedback about tone overlap. Thus it seems that a smooth legato is more difficult to achieve (and perhaps also aesthetically less desirable) at a fast than at a slow tempo; if so, this effect reinforces the prediction based on acoustic considerations, but results supporting the prediction then cannot be attributed to a single cause. The situation is different with regard to step size: It may be more difficult to achieve a smooth legato when the fingers are spread (3 st step size) than when they are close together (l st step size); if so, this effect counteracts the predicted effect of relative consonance, so that attribution of an obtained effect to acousticaesthetic or motoric causes is possible. Only a change of register seems to have no obvious motoric implications, as long as each hand stays within its typical range on the keyboard. Thus an
effect of register on KaT would provide the best evidence for an adjustment to acoustic conditions. Individual differences among pianists in average KaT were of interest because they may reflect an aspect of the elusive quality of "touch." Since in much music the right hand plays the melody and the left hand the accompaniment, it was also considered possible that legato style is better developed in the right hand, leading to longer KOTs. As noted in the Introduction, MacKenzie and Van Eerd (1990) observed such a hand difference in rapid scale playing, but the fact that the right hand played in a higher register was not controlled for. In the present design, to avoid awkwardness, the low register was played only with the left hand, and the high register only with the right; however, the middle register was assigned to either hand, thus making a direct comparison possible. Finally, it was hypothesized that there might be more overlap between the "weak" fourth finger and its neighbors than between the more independent first three fingers.


. Righthand. Lefthand
.htW~~~~~wR Ig ~ c\, cJ>.t.b.t cJ> c\, w~~~~~w-

c\, cJ>

.t.b.t cJ>


Pairs of fingers
Figure 6. Legato production: Average KOT as a function
of finger pair, step size, and hand.
The consistency of the finger effect indicates that it represents an important aspect of legato articulation, though its exact cause is uncertain at present. One possibility is that the forearm rotates as the scale or arpeggio is being played, transferring weight from one part of the hand to the other; this larger-scale movement may lag behind the fingers, causing decreased key overlap when moving in a given direction. Another factor that could contribute to the relatively short KOT just before a reversal is that the same finger must be used twice in close succession (2-1-2 or 4-5-4). However, there was no finger by 101 interaction, which would be expected if anticipatory lifting of a finger played an important role. Another possible factor that apparently can be ruled out is dynamic variation. The pianists naturally tended to increase the dynamic level as they went up and to dec~ease it as they went down a scale or arpeggio. WhIle the absolute and especially the relative sound levels of successive tones could have an in fluence on the perception and production of KOTs, note that the obtained parallel trends for the ascending and descending halves (Figure 6) is contrary to the opposite trends expected on the basis of dynamics. Most likely, therefore, the finger effect, like the tempo effect, is not perceptual but rather motoric or cognitive in origin.


The prese?t study combined acoustic analyses, perceptual Judgments, and production measure-
ments in an attempt to obtain some basic information about legato playing. Stimulated by the recent demonstration by Kuwano et al. (1994) that tones played and judged to sound connected show considerable acoustic overlap, the present study extended the investigation to focus on several factors that influence the amount ofthis overlap. The acoustic analyses demonstrated that the post-release decay times of piano tones decrease as pitch (register) increases and as the duration of the tone increases. These effects are due in part to pre-release decay, which is faster for high than for low tones and more extensive for long than for short tones, and in part to an increase in postrelease decay rate with pitch (but not with duration). This information, previously unavailable in systematic form in the literature led to the prediction that listeners would adjust their perceptual criteria in judging legato articulation, and that pianists would adjust their legato playing, so as to avoid extensive acoustic overlap. That is, KOTs (the directly observable variable in MIDI recordings) were expected to be longer for tones with shorter post-release decay times (i.e., high and long tones). These predictions were confirmed in the perceptual experiment, which was really a study of "passive" legato production, without involvement of the fingers. Listeners' adjustments were evidently sensitive to acoustic overlap, with KOTs being longer for high and long tones. Whether perceptual constancy in terms of some criterion of auditory (non)overlap was maintained across conditions could not be demonstrated directly, but it may be assumed that the subjects aimed for such a constancy, as this was essentially what the instructions requested them to do. It would be naive to expect a simple measure of acoustic overlap to correspond to such a perceptual constancy, but application of dynamic models of auditory processing may uncover an invariant auditory property in future research. The results of "active" legato production were different. Although KOTs were longer for long than for short tones, this may be attributed to motoric factors. There was no effect of register; what seemed like one was probably due to a difference between hands. Thus pianists' playing seemed to reflect primarily motoric constraints, not adjustments to varying acoustic overlap. This implies, paradoxically, that the pianists' intended "best" legato might be judged by listeners (even by themselves!) to be nonoptimal in certain conditions, for example at a slow tempo in the low register (compare Figsures 5 and 4). A perceptual



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