Desain, P. (1992). A (de)composable theory of rhythm perception. Music Perception, 9, 439-454.

RHYTHM, TIME AND ACCENT THEORIES OF. Concerning the controversy between so-called time and accent theories of rhythm (cf., Brown, 1911), J. Wallin asserts that absolutely periodic or regular occurrences are not essential to the appreciation of the phenomenon of rhythm, although absolute regularity improves the quality of the rhythmic impression. Wallin's studies show that it is slightly easier for one to differentiate between grades of rhythmical qualities than to notice differences in time, and he points to the fact that time and rhythm do not rest upon the same basis precisely. Rhythm is viewed as less a matter of judgment than of feeling or a "rhythm sense." Wallin notes that to define a genuine rhythmical reaction, a movement in time must arouse those sensory processes and motor responses or physiological reactions that lie at the foundation of the feeling of rhythm. Without an active functioning of the physiological or neural substrate, the "rhythmical consciousness" would consist of only a certain awareness of a quasi-rhythmical movement in time. Wallin maintains, also, that the thresholds for rhythm are amenable to the Weber-Fechner psychophysical law, having a mathematical constant of one-third. See also FECHNER'S LAW; TIME, THEORIES OF.

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