Research by S. Handel and J. S. Oshinsky (1981) has shown that when tapping to polyrhythms, people synchronize with different subsequences depending on the overall tempo, with a global change from the faster component at slow tempi to the slower component at medium tempi and then to the overall repeating pattern at fast tempi. In this article, similar polyrhythmic patterns are studied, adding larger pitch intervals between the two sequences. The results largely confirm the findings of Handel and Oshinsky at small pitch intervals, but at larger pitch intervals, the importance of the overall pattern decreases in favor of the slow component of the polyrhythm. This effect can be explained by the increased possibility for streaming of the two components and the decrease in peripheral interaction of the coinciding tones. The results of the experiment are modeled following the resonance model for temporal selectivity proposed by L. Van Noorden and D. Moelants (1999). The preference for certain subsequences can be explained as a resonance phenomenon with a natural frequency of 2 Hz.
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