Tapping to Carter: A Response to Fischinger and Dyck-Hemming


  • Poudrier University of British Columbia




expertise, periodicity, rhythmic complexity, Elliott Carter


This short essay responds to issues raised by Fischinger and Dyck-Hemming in their commentary on this author's article "Tapping to Carter: Mensural Determinacy in Complex Rhythmic Sequences." Borrowing Christopher Hasty's concept of mensural determinacy, I used an excerpt of Elliott Carter's 90+ for piano (1994) as source materials for a tapping experiment aimed at: (1) testing the hypothesis that style-specific expertise correlates with lower tapping variability; (2) exploring the influence of an implied beat on participants' interpretation of the underlying pulse, as shown by spontaneous tapping; and (3) exploring the influence of a subset of musical parameters as well as participants' characteristics on tapping behavior. This response aims to clarify the methodology employed, especially with reference to the interpretation of the results; it also addresses concerns raised by the reviewers in relation to the use of the tapping paradigm to investigate Carter's compositional language. While the experimental method necessarily limited the interpretation of participants' ongoing experience of pulse, the findings provide useful insights on the role of style-specific expertise and call for a more diverse and disciplinarily unbounded methodological approach to the study of musical communication.




How to Cite

Poudrier. (2018). Tapping to Carter: A Response to Fischinger and Dyck-Hemming. Empirical Musicology Review, 12(3-4), 321–326. https://doi.org/10.18061/emr.v12i3-4.6389