Newsletters‎ > ‎

Volume 11, No. 1


Vol. 11, No. 1
Winter 1995

Steven M. Demorest, Editor
Kim Walls, Associate Editor


A Continuing Dialogue on Issues of Importance to Perception Researchers
================================================================== =====

For this issue, our E-Mail members were asked to respond to the
following question, "If you had to chose a single paradigm to guide
future music education research in the field of music perception, what
would it be?." Thank you to all who responded. Here are selected
responses from some of the leading researchers in our field:

I favor paradigms that use increasingly more complex and "real" music
stimuli that do not suffer from the problem of decontextualized
laboratory settings. I favor mixed approaches to data collection that
feature data from quantitative and qualitative means.

I do not believe a single paradigm approach is productive nor conducive
to research. The more perspectives that are brought to bear on a topic,
the more likely you will end up with a complete picture. Paradigms are
not mutually exclusive; indeed, when viewed with a broad view, the can
only enhance each other. There is not enough ongoing research as it is.
Efforts should be directed to productivity, regardless of mode of inquiry.

A single paradigm? I could not choose--not for research, nor for
pedagogical practice. The richness of our field, and the many dimensions
of our questions cannot be pursued through travels down a single
pathway. My sense is that we must continue our experimental work, and
that we consider as well the potential for other empirical means of
study--with our directions informed by our friends in the social
sciences, from A (anthropology) to Z (zoology).

I feel strongly that the future paradigm for perception research lies
with qualitative studies that offer the possibility for "meaningful"
understanding of how music is perceived. We have had nearly 3/4 of a
century of quantitative studies which have provided much information
about factual perception modes but we know little about what meaning
people take from these modes. This is a qualitative problem and one that
offers much hope and exciting future.

Campbell & Heller (Handbook of Music Psychology, 1980) propose a paradigm
shift from a Cartesian view to a Humean view. In the Cartesian view,
"truth" is that which is measured objectively (e.g., intonation as
measured by a Strobotuner). In the Humean view, "truth" is reality as
perceived by a human observer. If three subjects identify a test tone as
sharp, flat, and in-tune, respectively, each has a perception which is
valid, according to a Humean perspective. From the Cartesian standpoint,
only one of the responses could be valid; the others would be considered
"incorrect." There is much in Campbell & Heller's discussion that is
still important for music perception researchers to consider.

First, we have to assume that the term, "music education research" does
not limit the scope of research in music perception (since music
education, as a field of interest, encompasses almost all aspects of
music perception). Second, we should take the broad definition of
perception; that is, we should not attempt to draw a line
where perception ends and cognition begins (actually, perception and
cognition are interactive, so we can't draw lines, anyway. Frankly, I
would be very much in favor of renaming our PSRIG to something that
includes music sensation [or neurology] and cognition). The paradigm, or
model I would choose is one that is based in relevancy to "real"
activities in music. For example, sight reading is a "real" activity.
If we want to teach our students to become better sight readers, we have
to thoroughly examine musicians who are good sight readers--comparing
them to those of equal musical skill who aren't good sight readers. The
outcome of this kind of research may or may not have practical
implications for music education (chances are good that it will); but if
it does not--then at least it provides data for additional research.
Eventually, and given enough research, we will understand how to train
students to be good sight readers. The point here is that we should
always have a practical objective for our research--that we should start
with a goal and design an organized set of studies that seeks to satisfy
that goal.


Hey, Buddy Can You "Paradigm"?
Steven M. Demorest

The word 'paradigm' has become a frequently used term in
education and other fields to describe a particular philosophy,
framework, or approach to a problem. In scientific inquiry the term has
been defined more specifically as a theory that a) attracts a group of
adherents away from previous or competing theories, and b) is open-ended
enough to leave problems that must be tested and resolved (Kuhn, 1970).
In Kuhn's view these paradigms "implicitly define the legitimate problems
and methods of a research field for succeeding generations of
practitioners" (p. 10). The question posed to our members in the
previous column was perhaps unfair in terms of choosing ONE paradigm, but
I was curious as to what theories or approaches may have captured
peopleUs imaginations. One of the questions raised by many of the
respondents was whether or not it was desirable to seek RaS paradigm for
perceptual research in music education. I would like to speak to that
issue here.
I believe that perceptual research in music education would
benefit greatly from one or two shared paradigms to guide our work. We
seem to fear the limiting aspects of working within a theory, perhaps
afraid that we might "miss" something by adopting a particular world
view. That is certainly a legitimate concern, but, as Francis Bacon
said, "Truth emerges more readily from error than from confusion."
Without clear paradigms to guide our research, we run the risk of
'drowning in a sea of data', in which each new result can only be
understood and evaluated within the individual researcherUs own implicit
or explicit world view. I would not presume in this forum to propose
which research approaches or theories are the most promising, but I
believe we as music perception researchers in music education must make
such a decision if we are to advance our knowledge in any significant
By way of example, I point to music theory's relatively recent
foray into music perception and cognition research over the last 10+
years, which has already produced a large body of information. One
explanation for this productivity is that music theoristUs historically
have worked within a particular shared theoretical framework or
paradigm. They speak of a "Schenkarian" approach to analysis, much as
one might take a "Newtonian" view of physics. By working within shared
paradigms theorists intersted in music perception have produced a
significant body of research on Krumhansl's Tonal Heirarchy Theory,
Lerdahl and Jackendoff's Generative Theory, and more recently, Butler's
Intervallic Rivalry Theory. While any one of these theories may be found
false at some point in the future (indeed Popper suggested that that is
the ultimate fate of all scientific hypotheses), that does not diminish a
theoryUs usefulness in providing a common reference point for researchers
to compare what they know about a phenomenon.
I am not suggesting that we adopt music theoryUs paradigms, since
I think our goals are often quite different. What I do suggest is that
we seek out or develop some compelling theories or at least common
approaches to guide our study of music perception and its relationship to
education. I would like to stress that I am not suggesting a decision
between qualitative and quantitative approaches to research. Those terms
refer to the type of data being collected and corresponding methods, not
to a theoretical framework. Both qualitative and quantitative
information are necessary to examine the validity of a particular theory
of music perception and music learning. I think we need to take a stand,
pick a side, and dare to be wrong if we are going to progress as a

I invite discussion on this issue in the form of either letters to the
editor or articles. If you have questions that we might distribute for
the next "Perceptions" column, please send it to me, or contact the SRIG
Chair for your region.

Kuhn, T. S. (1970). The structure of scientific revolutions. (Second
ed.) Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


Convention Focus:
Interdisciplinary Research in Music Perception
Steve Demorest

I had the pleasure of attending two very interesting conferences
this past year related to music perception research. The first was the
"International Conference for Music Perception and Cognition" held last
July in Liege, Belgium. It was an incredibly broad-ranging program with
papers presented in the areas of neuropsychology, development of
perception and cognition, prenatal audition, tonal relations in cognition
and music performance to name a few. Some of the featured presenters
were Dowling, Sloboda, Trehub, Bharucha, Lerdahl, and Narmour. The
Perception SRIG was represented by myself, Eugenia Costa-Giomi, and Carol
Richardson. We discussed how wonderful it would be to have more
interaction between music education researchers and the other disciplines
represented. Next year the national conference of this organization will
be held at Berkley in June. I will distribute more specific information
when I receive it.
The second conference I attended was the Society for Music Theory
Conference, held this November in Tallahassee, Florida. I was very
impressed with both the amount and quality of cognition research going on
in SMT's Cognition Research Group. I was part of a poster session in
which almost all the "posters" were actually interactive computer setups
where participants could try out software, or perform the task from
somebody's study. Kim Walls and I are exploring the possibility of a
similar session for our conference in Kansas City.
For our SRIG session in Kansas City, the chairs and I are
proposing an interdisciplinary panel featuring a psychologist, a music
theorist, a neurologist and a music educator to discuss issues of common
interest in music perception research. The success of such a session
would depend on a) finding outstanding representatives from these
disciplines (that would come for FREE), and b) having a very focused set
of questions for them to address. This is where you come in. I would
like to ask all the members of the SRIG to submit nominations for
participants and potential discussion topics to me at:

Steven M. Demorest
School of Music, DN-10
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195

All nominations and topics will be considered. If the panel proposal
becomes too unwieldy, the backup plan would be to feature a single
researcher from one of the disciplines listed above. Thank you in
advance for your input and participation.


SRIG E-Mail Directory

We have added quite a few names to our directory, so I thought
I'd include an updated list. We are trying to move away from a paper
newsletter, since E-Mail is so much more interactive and cheaper to
distribute. If you have access to E-mail at your institution, we would
appreciate the opportunity to move you off the paper list and on to the
electronic one. Just send your name and institutional affiliation to
the SRIG Chair.

[Note from Editor/Webmaster in 2006: Due to rampant abuse of email addresses, only the names have been retained in the list below to assist in minimizing the amount of spam and other unwanted email received by our members. Member email addresses were included in the original Newsletter.]

The Directory-------------

Asmus, Edward (U of Utah)
Barrett, Janet R. (U of W-Whitewater)
Barry, Nancy (Auburn University)
Bartel, Lee (U of Toronto)
Bauer, Bill (Kent State University)
Blackman, Mary Dave (Weber St)
Brown, Rebekah (Indiana U)
Carlsen, James (U of Washington)
Coffman, Don (U of Iowa)
Coffman, Phillip (U of Minn-Duluth)
Colwell, Richard (New England Consv.)
Cooper, Nancy (Rutgers U)
Costa-Giomi, Eugenia (McGill U)
Cutietta, Robert (Kent State U)
Delzell, Judith (Ohio State U)
Demorest, Steven (U of Washington)
Duke, Robert A. (U of Texas-Austin)
Dura, Marian (Northwestern U)
Flohr, John (Texas Womans U)
Fung , Victor (U of Minnesota)
Gates, Terry (SUNY-Buffalo)
Goolsby, Thomas (U of Washington)
Gumm, Alan (Ithaca College)
Hair, Harriet (U of Georgia)
Hamann, Don (Kent State U)
Heuser, Frank (U of Oregon)
Hickey, Maud (Ithaca College)
Hodges, Don (UT-SanAntonio)
Hughes, Tom (Sydney Conservatory)
Humphreys, Jere (Arizona State U)
Imhoff, Jim (SUNY-Potsdam)
Jorgensen, Estelle (U of Indiana)
Kuhn, Terry (Kent State U)
Lee, Karen (Connecticut College)
Manthei, Mike (U of Minnesota)
May, William (U of North Texas)
McAllister, Peter (Kent State U)
Ogawa, Masafumi (Oita U)
Oliva, Jack (U of Florida)
Palmer, Anthony
Price, Harry (U of Alabama)
Rasmussen, Nancy (U of Wisconsin)
Roberts, Brian (Memorial U, Newf)
Schleuter, Stan (Indiana U)
Smith, William (Radford U.)
Taylor, Jack (Florida State U)
Thompson, Keith (Penn State U)
Tunks, Tom (Southern Methodist U)
Walls, Kim (UT-San Antonio)
Weaver, Molly (West Virginia U)
Webster, Peter (Northwestern U)
Wells, Barrie (Arizona State U)
York, Frank (James Cook U)


Abstracts of Ongoing Research

An Investigation of the Effect of Training with a Tuning Fork
on the Development of Pseudo-Absolute Pitch: A Study in Progress

Rosemary C. Watkins and Kimberly C. Walls

This study is designed to determine if subjects trained to use
A=440 as a reference pitch will be able to sing notated random pitches,
without aid of an external referent, more accurately than those who have
not been trained. Subjects are 37 undergraduate instrumental and vocal
music majors in two intact classes, enrolled in the third semester of a
four-semester aural skills sequence at a medium-sized state university.
One section of 19 students was randomly chosen as the experimental group;
the other section of 18 students will serve as the control group. Three
subjects were eliminated from the study (N=37) because they declined to
participate or failed to complete the pretest. The test instrument for
both tests consists of ten pitches randomly chosen from a twelve-note
chromatic scale. Enharmonic notes will be determined as sharps or flats
by tossing a coin. Subjects will randomly select one of three item
orders for each test and sing the pitches. The treatment phase of the
study will consist of one ten-minute training session per week for a
total of ten weeks. A collection of eight folk song excerpts, each with
the same starting pitch, will be used in each training session. For the
first training session, the collection will be transposed so that the
starting pitch for each excerpt is A; for each subsequent session, the
collection will be transposed to have a different starting pitch,
according to the order of intervals presented in the course textbook. At
every session, subjects will be instructed to sound an A=440 tuning
fork, match the pitch in their most comfortable register, and sing the
pitch aloud in response to a conducting cue before singing each excerpt.
The control group will be taught as usual with no additional training in
the use of A=440 as a reference pitch. Audio recordings of the subjectsU
pre- and posttest vocal responses will be analyzed for pitch accuracy.
Responses within a quarter-step (50 cents) of the pitch will be judged as
correct and assigned a value of 1 point. Responses which are from a
quarter- to a half-step from the pitch will be assigned a value of .5
point. Other responses will be assigned no points. An analysis of
covariance (ANCOVA) will be calculated using the subjectsU total pretest
scores as covariate.

For more information please contact Kim Walls. 


The Effect of Diverse Timbres on Singing Response of Education Majors:
A Study in Progress

Lynn M. Brinckmeyer

The primary purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of
varying the stimulus timbre on collegiate education majors pitch-matching
response. The task requires each subject to sing back nine individual
pitches played by each of three different instruments: trumpet,
clarinet, and piano. 86 education majors from varying backgrounds have
participated to date.
The dependent variable of singing in tune is measured by the Kay
Elemetrics DSP Sona-Graph model 5500. Accuracy scores compare each of
the 27 stimulus pitches with its consecutive response. There are three
within-subject levels of the independent variable represented by the
trumpet, clarinet and piano stimuli. A multivariate analysis of variance
(MANOVA) will be used to test for significant differences in each of the
three timbre conditions.
This is a replication and extension of a previous study conducted
by the researcher. The earlier experiment utilized the same
instrumental stimulus timbres, but focused on vocal responses of
non-singing collegiate music majors and high school instrumental
students. This study should provide information about the most effective
pitch sources to use for teaching singing to individuals who are
unaccustomed to participating in singing activities.

For more information please contact Lynn M. Brinckmeyer.



Sixteenth International Seminar on
Research in Music Education
Frascati, Italy
July 13-19, 1995


XXII ISME International Conference
Amsterdam, Holland
July 21-27, 1996

Call for Papers---------------

The Research Commission of the International Society for Music Education
invites (a) reports of recent research in music education for the
Sixteenth International Seminar to be held from July 13-19, 1996 in
Frascati, Italy, and (b) research posters for the XXII International
Conference of ISME to be held from July 21-27, 1996 in Amsterdam, Holland.
The purpose of these meetings is to provide discussion of results
and implications of recently completed research as well as its
methodology. Papers selected will normally reflect an experimental,
observational, descriptive, ethnographic, philosophical, or historical
research design. Papers selected will focus upon a clearly articulated
research question or hypothesis.
Twenty-five (25) papers will be selected from those submitted,
and the authors will be invited to participate in the seminar as guests
of the Commission (room and board for the week will be provided). Papers
will also be selected for the poster session as part of the Research
CommissionUs presentation at the XXII ISME International Conference in
Amsterdam. (Participants in the poster session will be expected to pay
for their own accomodation and board.)

Procedures for submitting papers are as follows:
1. Submit three copies of a paper reporting recently completed research
with contributes to the theory or practice of music education. The
implications of the research for music education should be stated clearly.
2. The papers must be submitted in English, since the formal sessions of
the seminar will be in English.
3. The paper must be complete, but must not exceed 2000 words excluding
references. No more than one table and one figure shall be included.
4. Three copies of an abstract (of no more than 200 words) must
accompany the paper.
5. If a multiple-author paper is selected, only one author will be invited.
6. Papers and abstracts must be typed and double spaced.
7. At the top of the first page of the paper and of the abstract, the
following information should be included:
a. Name
b. Complete mailing address, with FAX number and email address
if available.
c. ONE of the following statements:
(i) This paper is submitted for consideration for the
Sixteenth International Research Seminar, Frascati, July 1996.
(ii) This paper is submitted for consideration for the
poster session as part of the Research Commission's presentation at the
XXII ISME International Conferenc in Amsterdam, July, 1996.
(iii) This paper is submitted for consideration for BOTH
the Sixteenth International Research Seminar, Frascati,
and the poster session at the XXII ISME International Conference,
Amsterdam, July, 1996.

8. Submit a one-page curriculum vitae, including the highest academic
degree held, current teaching (or other) position, a bibliography of
research articles published since January 1992 and principal area(s) of
research interest.
9. Submit a statement specifying particulars of any earlier presentation
of the paper at a seminar or conference at national or international
levels. Submission of a paper signifies that the author agrees to comply
with the code of ethics governing duplicate publications of papers as
specified, for example, by the Journal of Research in Music Education..
10. Decisions concerning the acceptance of papers rests solely with the
Research Commission. Manuscripts submitted will not be returned. The
Commission reserves the right to publish invited papers and abstract.
11. Submitted materials not meeting these criteria will not be
considered by the Research Commission. Manuscripts submitted will not be
returned. The Commission reserves the right to publish invited papers
and abstracts.
12. Three copies of the 2000 word paper, the 200-word abstract and the
one-page curriculum vitae must be postmarked AIRMAIL no later than
November 1, 1995. All materials should be sent directly to the Research
Commission member in your geographic region: United States
Dr. John Geringer,
School of Music,
University of Texas at Austin,
Austin, Texas 78712-1208,


Association for Technology in Music Instruction (ATMI)

The Conference Committee of ATMI invites the submission of proposals for
papers, presentations, workshops, panels, and software demonstrations to
be presented at the 1995 ATMI Conference. This meeting will be held
jointly with the College Music Society and will take place November 9-12
in Portland, Oregon.
PAPERS,PRESENTATIONS, and WORKSHOPS: Topics dealing with all
aspects of technology in music instruction are welcome. Especially
encouraged are papers, presentations, and workshops that focus on the
central theme: MUSIC TECHNOLOGY FOR TOMORROW. To this end, the
Conference Committee invites individual and joint proposals concerning:
1) The Internet and Its Use in Teaching; 2) Multimedia and
Digital Movies; 3) Research on the Effectiveness of Music
Technology; 4) Innovative Interdisciplinary Uses of Technology in the
Arts; 5) K-12 Applications, Tools, and Techniques; 6) Telecourses
and Long Distance Learning
SOFTWARE DEMONSTRATIONS: Also encouraged are presentations that
focus on newly authored software from all aspects of the music
curriculum. Especially welcomed are programs that take an innovative
approach to music teaching and learning. Proposals should include a
complete description of the software's design and its use in the teaching
SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: All proposals will be submitted for
blind review and authors are encouraged to exclude references to
individuals or institutions that might compromise this process. Proposals
for papers, presentations, and workshops should include clear statements
of theoretical background, methodology, and conclusions. Panel proposals
should include a complete description of the content to be covered,
panelists and their affiliation, and confirmation of panelists
participation. Proposals should be no more than 2,000 words and contain a
detailed listing of required equipment and operating system(s).
Deadline for submission is FEBRUARY 28, 1995. Both e-mail and
regular mail submissions will be acknowledged upon receipt. Send four
copies of each proposal to: Frank Clark
ATMI Program Chair
Department of Music, FCE 5
University of South Alabama
Mobile, Alabama 36688
E-mail submissions are encouraged and can be sent to Frank Clark.

April 7-10, 1995

This symposium is the fourth in a series of international
symposia on music education research, sponsored by the School of Music,
Indiana University, and held on the Bloomington campus. It is devoted to
the in-depth discussionof recent unpublished research in music
education. Papers representing a variety of disciplines including
sociology, anthropology, ethnomusicology, psychology, history,
philosophy, religion, and education, and other fields related to music
education will be presented.

Conference, 22-25 June 1995

University of California at Berkeley
Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT)
Department of Psychology
Department of Music
Proposals for papers, panels, and other sessions are invited in the form of
300-500 word abstracts. Abstracts can be posted to:
SMPC Conference Secretary
1750 Arch Street
Berkeley, California 94720
Electronic submission is encouraged
Deadline is 15 March 1995


A whopper huh??


Steven M. Demorest Phone: (206)-543-7587
Music Education FAX: (206)-685-9499
School of Music, DN-10
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195