EFFECTS OF SELECTED MUSIC FACTORS ON SECOND- AND FIFTH-GRADE CHILDREN'S PERCEPTION OF MELODIC MOTION


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Abstract

1Three experiments examined the selected music factors of interval size, timbre, loudness, and length of the melodic pattern on children's ability to perceive the motion of melodic patterns. Thirty-two second- and 32 fifth-grade children participated in a series of three experiments. The task consisted of identifying the motion of unidirectional, 2- and 3-pitch melodic patterns composed of melodic intervals of varying size. After each pattern, the child made a three-choice button push to indicate whether the music moved up, down, or to the same pitch. Experiment I trained children to focus on the pitch dimension of melodie motion. Experiment II examined the effect of varying the timbre and loudness of the first tone of a pattern on children's perceptual focus on pitch. Experiment III examined the effect of increasing the length of the melodic pattern from 2 to 3 tones. Melodic interval size was examined in all experiments and used as a within-group variable. Task (fixed and varied initial tone), duration of the initial-tone and the intertone time (200 and 1500 ms), and grade (second and fifth) were between-group effects for all experiments. The results indicated that errors in identifying melodic motion increased as melodic interval size became smaller. Timbre or loadness variations significantly biased perception of melodic motion in an ascending direction with the smallest melodic interval. No interaction was found between interval size and the variables of task and grade. Fifth graders performed significantly better than second graders. The varied task was more difficult than the fixed task.

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