The utility of a technique for testing the difference in ease of chords on the Ternary Chord Keyboard

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


In a pilot study, response times of 64 possible chords on the Ternary Chord Keyboard (TCK) were compared in order to establish a basis for assigning characters to chords. It was found that subjects had faster response times for some chords than others. Upon close inspection of the experimental procedure, it appeared that the way in which the chords were cued caused part of the differences in response time, which had been expected to depend only on chord motor differences.

The present study was designed to examine the hypotheses that chord cueing caused part of the differences in chord response times, and that this effect of cueing is consistent over practice; and also the hypothesis that the results of the pilot study reflected the motor (movement time) difference between chords, and that the difference itself is consistent over practice. This was done in the framework of Sternbcrg's Additive Factors Method.

lt was found that the cueing scheme used in the pilot study did not cause the differences in chord response times. However, the differences in chord movement time was not reflected by the use of the pilot study paradigm. This technique should therefore not be used in ordering chords according to chord case.