Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Cornelia Yarbrough


The purpose of this study was to examine intonation in response to a variety of conventional stimuli. Specifically, the tuning accuracy of university, high school, and junior high school woodwind, brass, and string instrumentalists was compared when responding to taped stimuli of A = 440 Hz played on oboe non-vibrato and oboe with vibrato; and pitches produced electronically on a Korg$\sp{\rm TM}$ tuner of A = 430 Hz; A = 435 Hz; and A = 445 Hz. In question were the effects of vibrato, timbre, and frequency on tuning accuracy. Subjects (N = 198) were university music students (n = 85), high school students (n = 55) and junior high school students (n = 58). Subjects were individually recorded tuning to each of the five stimuli. Responses were analyzed through a computer system using MacRecorder$\sp{\rm TM}$ software. These digitized pitches were analyzed for absolute and directional cent deviation with a Korg$\sp{\rm TM}$ Auto Chromatic Tuner. Results demonstrated significant differences in absolute cent deviation scores among educational levels, among instrumental groups, and among tuning stimuli. University students deviated less from tuning stimuli; Junior high school deviated most. String players were most accurate in tuning; brass players were least accurate. Students tuned most accurately to the oboe vibrato, A = 440 Hz stimuli and least accurately to the oboe non-vibrato, A = 440 Hz. Results regarding directional cent deviation analysis demonstrated a propensity toward flat responses. However, while more flat responses occurred for strings and brass, there were more sharp responses for woodwinds. There were more flat responses to the higher tuning stimuli (A = 440 Hz and A = 445 Hz) and more sharp responses for the lower stimuli (A = 430 Hz and A = 435 Hz). Finally, while flat responses were dominant in response to the oboe stimuli, more sharp responses occurred in response to the Korg$\sp{\rm TM}$.