Back to home page
Back to "Occasional Papers"
Back to Contents
This page contains the sound files of the readings discussed in Chapter 14, and the respective texts.
How does grouping assist the simultaneous perception of the conflicting linguistic and versification sequences? For a brilliant demonstration of the principle of "Proximity" in gestalt grouping in the auditory mode listen to one of Al Bregman's experiment demos. The sequence used in the demonstration consists of three high and three low tones, alternating high and low tones. When the cycle is played slowly, one can clearly hear the alternation of high and low tones. When it is played fast, one experiences two streams of sound, one formed of high tones, the other of low ones, each with its own melody, as if two instruments, a high and a low one, were playing along together. When the sequence is played fast, the tones are in greater proximity, occupy a smaller area in the "auditory space". The Law of Proximity works here in two ways. In the fast sequence the tones are "nearer" together in time than in the slow one; and the higher tones are "nearer" to each other in pitch than to the lower ones. Consequently, they organise themselves into two segregated but concurrent figures, each in its own register. In poetry, perceptual grouping of words may be effected in additional ways too, such as by the overlapping of articulation, or the manipulation of peaking (late or early). It is assumed here that in the rhythmical performance of a deviant sequence the verbal and the nonverbal aspects of the stimulus organise themselves into two segregated but concurrent figures.
Listen to Al Bregman's demonstration: