The development of the unsteady pressure field on the floor of a rectangular cavity was studied at Mach 0.9 using high-frequency pressure-sensitive paint. Power spectral amplitudes at each cavity resonance exhibit a spatial distribution with a streamwise-oscillatory pattern; additional maxima and minima appear as the mode number is increased. This spatial distribution also appears in the propagation velocity of modal pressure disturbances. This behaviour was tied to the superposition of a downstream-propagating shear-layer disturbance and an upstream-propagating acoustic wave of different amplitudes and convection velocities, consistent with the classical Rossiter model. The summation of these waves generates a net downstream-travelling wave whose amplitude and phase velocity are modulated by a fixed envelope within the cavity. This travelling-wave interpretation of the Rossiter model correctly predicts the instantaneous modal pressure behaviour in the cavity. Subtle spanwise variations in the modal pressure behaviour were also observed, which could be attributed to a shift in the resonance pattern as a result of spillage effects at the edges of the finite-width cavity.