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       M U S I C          T H E O R Y         O N L I N E

                     A Publication of the
                   Society for Music Theory
          Copyright (c) 1994 Society for Music Theory
| Volume 0, Number 7      March, 1994      ISSN:  1067-3040   |

  All queries to: mto-editor@husc.harvard.edu
AUTHOR: Kopiez, Reinhard
TITLE: Report on the Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft fuer 
Musikpsychologie (DGM) Muenster, 10-12 September, 1993, trans. 
Richard Parncutt
KEYWORDS: music psychology, music development

Reinhard Kopiez
Technische Universitaet Berlin
Institut fuer Musikwissenschaft 
Sekretariat H 63
D-10623 Berlin Germany

Translated by Richard Parncutt 
in collaboration with the author

[1] The 1993 meeting of the DGM had the theme "Musikalische Entwicklung 
in der Lebenszeitperspektive" (a lifespan perspective on musical 
development). The theme was chosen in response to the recent trend in 
music psychology to investigate musical ability over the entire lifespan. 
Here is a brief summary of the various presentations. 

[2] The opening talk was given by Maria Manturzewska (Warsaw, Poland), who 
reported a biographical long-term study of the musical careers of various
Polish artists. Although the author comes from a psychometric tradition, 
this study employed mainly descriptive and qualitative methods (e.g., 
interviews). The age at which soloists, orchestral musicians, and 
instrumental teachers begin their early childhood lessons varies widely. 
In general, better players tend to have accumulated more total practice 
time during their lives, in agreement with the results of other, 
quantitative studies (some of which were reported at the same conference; 
a similar result was recently reported by John Sloboda in England). 

[3] Ralph Krampe investigated the emergence of musical expertise. How 
does a musical expert become expert? He criticized certain preconceptions 
from older research on musical talent, such as the idea that the more 
talented need to practise less, learn more easily, or are more internally 
motivated than the less talented. His approach was to reject the 
idealogically-loaded concept of "talent" and replace it by "deliberate 
practice", defined as follows: 1) Motoric practice is determined by a 
specific goal, and by the intention to improve skills. 2) The optimal 
duration of a single practice session is determined by the learner. 
3) External conditions such as the search for a teacher will generally 
be overcome. The "deliberate practice" of a professional musician
differs in these ways from the spare-time practice of a lay or hobby 
musician. Krampe looked at variations in the amount of time devoted 
to practice over the entire lifespan, taking data from several practice 
diaries that had been maintained for a long period. Addressing the theme 
of the conference, he then asked how differences between young and old 
experts might be explained. It appears that both younger and older
experts need to devote a considerable amounts of time to "deliberate 
practice" if they are to maintain their skills. Practice can thus become 
a considerable burden, especially for older people. Experts generally 
accumulate more overall practice time in their lives than do lay 
musicians. Krampe concluded -- in agreement with Sloboda, and others in 
the conference -- that differences in ability depend primarily on 
differences in musical experience, not in-born talent. 

[4] Ludwig Haesler investigated the developmental origin of emotional
semantics in music, from a psychoanalytic viewpoint. He suggested that 
both non-verbal, affective aspects and quasi-linguistic or symbolic 
aspects of music have their origin in the preverbal phase of an infant's 
emotional experience. 

[5] Renate Mueller advanced the thesis that young people develop
aesthetically through the twin processes of self-socialization and
self-professionalization. She supported her claim with reference to 
rap singers. A condition for the emergence of a style of music such as 
rap is the existence of so-called "education-free spaces" such as 
groups and gangs. Mueller presented a scenario of responsible media-users 
who develop their own cultural practices, and who often cannot easily be
integrated into existing cultural theories. An important aspect of self-
socialization is the presentation of one's identity to others. For this 
purpose, young people often become members of groups that are defined by 
their musical taste. Mueller suggested that people who are themselves 
musically socialized are consequently more tolerant toward other
musical styles. Missing from Mueller's theory, however, was a clear 
articulation of the link between two different, simultaneous functions 
of spare-time activities: first, the creation of a pleasant situation 
for oneself, and second, the self-socializing function of spare-time 
activities. Another theoretical difficulty is the issue of whether
and how individual self-socialization can be separated from the dynamics 
of a group. 

[6] At the end of the first day, the Swiss violist Walter Faehndrich gave a
fascinating concert, improvizing non-thematic, minimalistic music based 
on minute timbral variations. The performance incorporated both 
traditional and novel bowing techniques, in combination with 
psychoacoustic effects. 

[7] The second day began with a talk by Roland Hafen, who spoke on behalf 
of Hans-Guenther Bastian, Director of the recently founded Institut fuer
Begabungsforschung in Paderborn. Hafen and Bastian believe that talent 
is inseparable from overall personal development, and should be researched 
from that viewpoint. The immediate aim of their research is to develop a 
new test of musical talent, and to apply their findings to the counselling 
of young, highly gifted musicians. The institute's research is based on 
the credo that "musical talent is multiple talent". A suitable research
design should therefore account for many variables. This idea was 
supported by school psychologist Adam Kormann's insightful report on the 
social situation of talented children and their parents. Kormann looked 
specifically at special music classes held in Berlin primary schools. 

[8] Klaus-Ernst Behne reported some first results of a long-term study 
on the development of musical experience among young people. He aims to 
explore changes in the subjective experience of music between the ages of 
10 and 16 years. So far, the study has only been running for one year. 
A preliminary result is that, at age 12, children have already learned 
to use music in a specific way. For example, they can use music as a 
source of comfort. However, early musical preferences are seldom stable, 
and vary particularly strongly in the case of art music. A further finding 
is that any salient response to music (e.g., "music always makes me sad") 
tends to result in a strong overall interest in music.  

[9] Gertrud Orff, a music therapist, spoke on the musical development of
children with various disabilities. Photos from her therapy sessions 
demonstrated long-term, positive behavioral changes in depressed children. 
The following talk by Guenter Adler was  devoted to the musical 
development of adults. By means of structured interviews, he investigated 
adults' motivation to learn a musical instrument.  A content analysis 
based on categories from motivation theory revealed a very complex
structure of reasons for beginning music lessons in later life. However, 
the strongly individual nature of the data made it hard to reach any 
general conclusions.

[10] In his presentation on social functions of musical performance in the
area of human relationships, Heiner Gembris emphasized that musical 
development is still largely a "terra incognita." He investigated the 
extent to which musical interests affect attractiveness, by analyzing 
personal interviews and the personal columns of newspapers, and referring 
to previous research on attractiveness. He concluded that similar musical 
tastes attract. Moreover, the communicative function of music is more 
important for lay musicians than is the quality of the performance. Music 
can often catalyze further development of an individual, for example, in 
situations of personal crisis. 

[11] The last two papers that afternoon were by Guenther Roetter (Muenster)
and Soeren Nielzen (Lund, Sweden). Roetter discussed the influence of age 
on professional musicians' perception of time. In contrast to existing 
theories that assume either positive or negative deviations in time 
perception with increasing age, his experimental study demonstrated a 
more precise estimation of time intervals by older people. Nielzen 
investigated the effect of various psychological illnesses on the 
judgment of musical emotions. Depending on the nature of their illness, 
his patients ascribed different meanings to both short musical pieces and 
to single noises lasting less than one second. 

[12] The evening presentation on the second day was held by the psychoanalyst
Harm Willms. He spoke on the power of music over people, illustrating his 
remarks with examples from poetry and from the visual arts. The idea of 
musical support for the unification of two people (e.g., Orpheus und 
Euridice) is a very old one. In Shakespeare, we encounter the idea that 
music can heal insanity. Music frees people from powerlessness in the 
face of nature or their own feelings, bringing them from a state of fear 
or ecstacy back to the human level. In Thomas Mann's "Zauberberg", 
music is again a means of uniting with a loved one.

[13] The third and final day of the meeting was devoted to research reports
on topics other than the main theme of the conference. Andreas Lehmann
(Tallahassee, USA) addressed the subject of sight-reading. In contrast to 
older research methods, he selected a group of pianists of a uniform 
standard. He simulated a real playing situation by giving subjects a 
melody, asking them to play a piano accompaniment at the same time and 
at a constant speed. Research on expert performance explains why 
experienced piano accompanists are better sight-readers than young students: 
Sightreading skill is related to the total time spent sight-reading over the
entire lifespan. Sightreading skill may thus be relatively independent 
of general musical talent.

[14] Joerg Langner presented a computer model that explains musical hearing
in terms of psychoacoustic measures of tension. He has developed software 
based on theories of constructivism and connectionism. The program learns 
musical structures, and models auditory expectations via rules of self-

[15] Peter Linzenkirchner presented research on stage fright, based on
observations of young participants in a well-known German music 
competition ("Jugend musiziert"). Surprisingly, no effect of habituation 
was found, suggesting that stage fright may be a permanent burden to most 
musicians -- regardless of the duration of their performance 
experience. However, the effect of stage fright on performance standard is
only weakly negative; and personality may have a considerable effect. 

[16] The generally high standard of the research reports and the discussions,
combined with the spacious atmosphere of the castle in which the conference
took place, ensured the success of the event. 

[17] Those interested in the activities of the DGM should contact Prof. Dr.
Heiner Gembris, Musikwissenschaftliches Seminar, Universitaet Muenster, 
D-48149 Muenster, Germany.


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