1. #1

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    In the frame of a master project, am co-designing a study on the influence of timing on the feeling of swing.

    After a period of pre-study, we were able to identify a couple of parameters that seem to have a positive influence on the "swinginess". In order to establish these results we now seek participants for an online survey based on audio examples.
    If you are interested and feel motivated to help us here is the link to the study :


    The survey is strictly anonymous (no personnal data collected) and open to all. If you say that you are a non-musician a warning will show up. Don't worry, your answers will be taken in account nonetheless. Thanks for your help !


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    Old Lady: "Oh, Mr. Waller, can you explain for me what is this thing you call swing?"

    Fats Waller: "Well Mam', if you haven't found out by now, you never will".

    I gave the questionaire a try but gave up. As you say yourself, the differences between the music examples are small. But the answer options given is a four step scale ranging from "now at all" to "very much". You are not attaching actual numbers but for a statistician it's a four step numerical scale - but you also seem to be treating it somewhat like a rating scale in the questions you ask. Those only four steps can't express the subtle differences between the examples. Maybe a simple ranking would have been better. An alternative way of doing it could have been to draw a continous line going from say 0 to 10 and ask us to place the example somewhere along this line. You wont get any exact numbers this way but you'll get a better feel for how big or little the differences between the examples are as well as the ranking. And IMHO, in the end a ranking is the best you can expect to get in this kind of study. If the markings on that line were very close you could get a rough estimate of the difference - or the lack thereoff - of the music examples. The differences could be so subtle that they are statistically insignificant (?).

    So .... there are many methological poroblems and pitfalls in such a survey. I do understand that what you are trying to do is to come closer to what "swing" and "groove" is, but I find it difficult to deal with a questionaire which is basically asking how much a piece of music has of something we don't know what is. It's not unlike black matter and black energy. We think we can feel an effect of it but we don't know what it is.

    But anyway: Kudos to you for bravely giving this formidable task a try. I really hope that it is me who is unjustifiedly pessimistic (I know myself well enough to know that I have a tendency for that) and that you can actually find something which can clarify what the "dark energy" in jazz is.

  4. #3
    We gave much thoughts into how we should do the rating system, and I agree with you, this is not perfect but for our purposes I think this might the best we can do. The reason for that is that we are not really interested by the exact value of the ratings themselves (since these will be subjective for every participant anyway) but rather by the differences of ratings between the audio examples. If you give people too many rating options for samples presenting only slight differences, they can tend to give an average raking "in the middle" which wouldn't give us any information.
    The data so far tend to show that the hypothesis we are testing is correct but the results are not yet statistically relevant so we hope for more participants

  5. #4

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    I'll be perfectly honest and frank, I tried to participate, but the canned drums in each example made me unable to evaluate it fairly. None of it grooves, and it swings in the technical sense, but there is no real swing without groove.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by djg
    ... consider the jazz wars that still exist over the playing of peterson, bill evans, or keith jarrett....
    What are these Jazz wars you speak of? How could anyone lay claim that these guys are unswinging?