Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of directing participant (N = 60) attention to one voice in three-part homophonic and polyphonic instrumental music on music majors’ detection of pitch and rhythm errors. Directed attention participants studied one voice prior to studying the entire score through either visual or aural methods. Visual group participants (n = 20) studied the voice of directed attention (VDA), which was color highlighted, in silence. Aural group participants (n = 20) studied the VDA in a three-phase treatment: sight-singing the VDA, using a piano and their own singing to correct any errors they perceived in their sight-singing performance, and singing the VDA again. Free group participants (n = 20) studied the entire score for the duration of their score study period and choose any strategy to learn the music. Following score study, participants listened three times to the recorded marred performance of the excerpt and detected pitch and rhythm errors inserted into the studied excerpt. Four errors (2 pitch and 2 rhythm) were inserted into the six excerpts used in this study for 24 total errors. Neither treatment group (aural, visual, or free) nor texture (homophonic/ polyphonic) had a significant main effect on participants’ error detection accuracy. Error type (rhythm over pitch), error focus (focused over non-focused), and error location (top over middle and bottom voices) had significant main effects on error detection accuracy, illustrating the influence of musical context on error detection. Three significant interactions further illustrate the complexity of the error detection process and support the findings in previous research. The interaction among error location, texture, and treatment group illustrates not only similarities in performance between aural and free group participants, but also how certain musical contexts may impede detection of errors. The interaction among error focus, error type, and texture suggests that directing attention to pitch in homophonic excerpts may improve pitch perception while having minimal effect on rhythm error detection and errors in general in polyphony. The interaction between texture and location points to top voice perceptual dominance in homophonic texture. Implications regarding score study are discussed.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Byo, James L.



Included in

Music Commons