Help Privacy Policy Disclaimer
  Advanced SearchBrowse




Journal Article

Expert musical improvisations contain sequencing biases seen in language production


Frieler,  Klaus
Scientific Services, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;
Institute for Musicology, University of Music “Franz Liszt” Weimar;

External Resource
No external resources are shared
Fulltext (restricted access)
There are currently no full texts shared for your IP range.
Fulltext (public)
There are no public fulltexts stored in PuRe
Supplementary Material (public)
There is no public supplementary material available

Beaty, R. E., Frieler, K., Norgaard, M., Merseal, H. M., MacDonald, M. C., & Weiss, D. J. (2022). Expert musical improvisations contain sequencing biases seen in language production. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 151(4), 912-920. doi:10.1037/xge0001107.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0009-AF14-C
Language production involves action sequencing to produce fluent speech in real time, placing a computational burden on working memory that leads to sequencing biases in production. Here we examine whether these biases extend beyond language to constrain one of the most complex human behaviors: music improvisation. Using a large corpus of improvised solos from eminent jazz musicians, we test for a production bias observed in language termed easy first—a tendency for more accessible sequences to occur at the beginning of a phrase, allowing incremental planning later in the same phrase. Our analysis shows consistent evidence of easy first in improvised music, with the beginning of musical phrases containing both more frequent and less complex sequences. The findings indicate that expert jazz musicians, known for spontaneous creative performance, reliably retrieve easily accessed melodic sequences before creating more complex sequences, suggesting that a domain-general sequencing system may support multiple forms of complex human behavior, from language production to music improvisation.