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      The Schultz MIDI Benchmarking Toolbox for MIDI interfaces, percussion pads, and sound cards


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          The Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) was readily adopted for auditory sensorimotor synchronization experiments. These experiments typically use MIDI percussion pads to collect responses, a MIDI–USB converter (or MIDI–PCI interface) to record responses on a PC and manipulate feedback, and an external MIDI sound module to generate auditory feedback. Previous studies have suggested that auditory feedback latencies can be introduced by these devices. The Schultz MIDI Benchmarking Toolbox (SMIDIBT) is an open-source, Arduino-based package designed to measure the point-to-point latencies incurred by several devices used in the generation of response-triggered auditory feedback. Experiment 1 showed that MIDI messages are sent and received within 1 ms (on average) in the absence of any external MIDI device. Latencies decreased when the baud rate increased above the MIDI protocol default (31,250 bps). Experiment 2 benchmarked the latencies introduced by different MIDI–USB and MIDI–PCI interfaces. MIDI–PCI was superior to MIDI–USB, primarily because MIDI–USB is subject to USB polling. Experiment 3 tested three MIDI percussion pads. Both the audio and MIDI message latencies were significantly greater than 1 ms for all devices, and there were significant differences between percussion pads and instrument patches. Experiment 4 benchmarked four MIDI sound modules. Audio latencies were significantly greater than 1 ms, and there were significant differences between sound modules and instrument patches. These experiments suggest that millisecond accuracy might not be achievable with MIDI devices. The SMIDIBT can be used to benchmark a range of MIDI devices, thus allowing researchers to make informed decisions when choosing testing materials and to arrive at an acceptable latency at their discretion.

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          The online version of this article (10.3758/s13428-018-1042-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Sensorimotor synchronization: a review of recent research (2006-2012).

          Sensorimotor synchronization (SMS) is the coordination of rhythmic movement with an external rhythm, ranging from finger tapping in time with a metronome to musical ensemble performance. An earlier review (Repp, 2005) covered tapping studies; two additional reviews (Repp, 2006a, b) focused on music performance and on rate limits of SMS, respectively. The present article supplements and extends these earlier reviews by surveying more recent research in what appears to be a burgeoning field. The article comprises four parts, dealing with (1) conventional tapping studies, (2) other forms of moving in synchrony with external rhythms (including dance and nonhuman animals' synchronization abilities), (3) interpersonal synchronization (including musical ensemble performance), and (4) the neuroscience of SMS. It is evident that much new knowledge about SMS has been acquired in the last 7 years.
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            Sensorimotor synchronization and perception of timing: effects of music training and task experience.

            To assess individual differences in basic synchronization skills and in perceptual sensitivity to timing deviations, brief tests made up of isochronous auditory sequences containing phase shifts or tempo changes were administered to 31 college students (most of them with little or no music training) and nine highly trained musicians (graduate students of music performance). Musicians showed smaller asynchronies, lower tapping variability, and greater perceptual sensitivity than college students, on average. They also showed faster phase correction following a tempo change in the pacing sequence. Unexpectedly, however, phase correction following a simple phase shift was unusually quick in both groups, especially in college students. It emerged that some of the musicians, who had previous experience with laboratory synchronization tasks, showed a much slower corrective response to phase shifts than did the other musicians. When these others were retested after having gained some task experience, their phase correction was slower than previously. These results show (1) that instantaneous phase correction in response to phase perturbations is more common than was previously believed, and suggest that (2) gradual phase correction is not a shortcoming but reflects a reduction in the strength of sensorimotor coupling afforded by practice.
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              The role of temporal prediction abilities in interpersonal sensorimotor synchronization.

              Musical ensemble performance is a form of joint action that requires highly precise yet flexible interpersonal action coordination. To maintain synchrony during expressive passages that contain tempo variations, musicians presumably anticipate the sounds that will be produced by their co-performers. Our previous studies revealed that individuals differ in their ability to predict upcoming event timing when finger tapping in synchrony with tempo-changing pacing signals (i.e., the degree to which inter-tap intervals match vs. lag behind inter-onset intervals in the pacing signal varies between individuals). The current study examines the influence of these individual differences on synchronization performance in a dyadic tapping task. In addition, the stability of individual prediction tendencies across time is tested. Individuals with high or low prediction tendencies were invited to participate in two experimental sessions. In both sessions, participants were asked (1) to tap alone with a tempo-changing pacing signal and (2) to tap synchronously in dyads comprising individuals with similar or different prediction tendencies. Results indicated that individual differences in prediction tendencies were stable over several months and played a significant role in dyadic synchronization. Dyads composed of two high-predicting individuals tapped with higher accuracy and less variability than low-predicting dyads, while mixed dyads were intermediate. Prediction tendencies explained variance in dyadic synchronization performance over and above individual synchronization ability. These findings suggest that individual differences in temporal prediction ability may potentially mediate the interaction of cognitive, motor, and social processes underlying musical joint action.

                Author and article information

                Behav Res Methods
                Behav Res Methods
                Behavior Research Methods
                Springer US (New York )
                17 April 2018
                17 April 2018
                : 51
                : 1
                : 204-234
                ISNI 0000 0001 0481 6099, GRID grid.5012.6, Basic & Applied Neurodynamics Laboratory, Department of Neuropsychology & Psychopharmolcology, , Maastricht University, ; Universiteitssingel 40, 6229 ER Maastricht, The Netherlands
                © The Author(s) 2018

                Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

                Funded by: Maastricht University
                Custom metadata
                © The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2019

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                musical instrument digital interface (midi),auditory feedback,sensorimotor synchronization,motor timing,microcontrollers


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