A1 Journal article – refereed
Silent music reading: Amateur musicians' visual processing and descriptive skill

List of Authors: Penttinen M, Huovinen E, Ylitalo AK
Publication year: 2013
Journal: Musicae Scientiae
Journal name in source: MUSICAE SCIENTIAE
Journal acronym: MUSIC SCI
Number in series: 2
Volume number: 17
Issue number: 2
ISSN: 1029-8649

This article addresses the silent reading of music notation, combining eye-movement measures with a semantic analysis of readers' verbal descriptions of the notated music. A group of musical novices (n = 16) and two groups of musical amateurs (less experienced n = 11 and more experienced n = 10) participated in three separate measurement sessions during a nine-month-long university music course designed for future primary-school teachers. In each session they viewed a notated folk song for 30 s and then described what they had seen. Greater musical experience was found to be connected with shorter fixation durations, more linear scanning of the notated music, and more accurate and integrative verbal descriptions. Repeated measurements during the course were connected to more accurate and integrative descriptions as well as the use of longer saccades for all participants. A cluster analysis of the results revealed three separate silent-reading styles: elementary processors, lacking in both accuracy and integration in their verbal reports; accurate analyzers, producing accurate but non-integrative descriptions; and accurate integrators who, besides accurate and integrative descriptions, showed a tendency of using shorter fixation times than the two other groups. The results are discussed with a view to visual processes in other domains. In addition, a question is raised whether educational programs tend to unduly neglect considering music notation as a source of information beyond its role as a performance aid.

Last updated on 2019-29-01 at 11:59