Author: Vives, Thomas E.
Title: The Effect of Timbre on the Chord Identification Accuracy of Sophomore-Level College Music Theory Students
Institution: University of Florida
Begun: September 1997
Completed: August 1998
This study examined electronic keyboards in use at college and university music departments, the available sounds these keyboards have in common, and the effects of these sounds on students’ identification accuracy in harmonic aural skills exercises. Correlations were made between the different timbres and the students’ levels of accuracy. The primary question that this study attempted to address was as follows: Does any one specific timbre facilitate greater student accuracy? This study comprised a single experimental trial--a prepared treatment that contained forty-five random examples of triads and seventh chords--that tested several timbral conditions under a single test condition--specifically, the identification of triad or seventh chord quality. The dependent variable for this trial was the subjects’ accuracy in identifying both triads and seventh chords. The independent variables were (1) the nine different types of triads and seventh chords (5 seventh chord types and 4 triads) and (2) the five different timbres. The five timbres (electric piano, harpsichord, organ, acoustic piano, and vibraphone) were selected for this study based on communication with keyboard manufacturers. All timbres were generated via digital synthesizers. Two intact first-semester sophomore-level music theory classes served as the sample for this study. Multiple analysis of variance showed that timbre by itself had no significant overall effect on the accuracy of subjects’ responses, although the electric piano and acoustic piano timbres produced slightly, but not significantly, more accurate responses. Closer analysis of the data, including the interaction of gender and principle performance instrument, indicated that neither gender nor principle performance instrument significantly affected subjects’ response accuracy, although due to the small size of the subject pool, the results for principle performance instrument were considered unreliable. Suggestions for further research and future studies are included.
Keywords: Timbre, Perception, Pedagogy, Aural Skills, CAI, CBI.
Statement of Purpose
Purpose of the Study
Need for the Study
Limitations of the Study
Delimitations of the Study
2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE
General Timbre Studies
Computer-Assisted and Computer-Based Instruction
Timbre Perception and Timbre Preference in Children
Timbre Perception in College Students
Discussion of the Literature
3 REVIEWING THE PRODUCTS
Keyboard Manufacturers Models and Specifications
Keyboards in use at University Music Departments
Design and Apparatus
Preparation of the Stimuli
Validity and Reliability
Administration of the Test Instrument
Principal Performance Instrument Analysis
Interactions Between Gender, PPI, Timbre, and Triad and Seventh Chord Quality
6 SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
Recommendations for Further Research
C TEST INSTRUMENT MATERIALS AND CORRESPONDENCE
D SUBJECTS’ WRITTEN RESPONSES TO TEST INSTRUMENT
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