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ERIC Number: EJ778687
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Feb
Pages: 32
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0285
The Role of Retrieval Structures in Memorizing Music
Williamon, Aaron; Valentine, Elizabeth
Cognitive Psychology, v44 n1 p1-32 Feb 2002
This article explores the use of structure in the encoding and retrieval of music and its relation to level of skill. Twenty-two pianists, classified into four levels of skill, were asked to learn and memorize an assigned composition by J. S. Bach (different for each level). All practice was recorded on cassette tape. At the end of the learning process, the pianists performed their assigned composition in a recital setting. The performances were subsequently evaluated by three experienced pianists according to a standardized grading system. From the cassette tapes, values for the frequency with which pianists started and stopped their practice on "structural," "difficult," and "other" bars were obtained. Starts and stops on each bar type were compared across three stages of the learning process. The analyses reveal that all pianists, regardless of level, started and stopped their practice increasingly on structural bars and decreasingly on difficult bars across the learning process. Moreover, the data indicate that starts and stops increased on structural bars and decreased on difficult bars systematically with increases in level of skill. These findings are interpreted and discussed so as to elucidate characteristics of the retrieval structures adopted by musicians in their practice and performance and how the formation and use of retrieval structures develop as a function of expertise. Finally, the elicited values for starts on structural, difficult, and other bars are examined and discussed according to how they relate to the pianists' scores on performance quality. [This research was supported in part by the Rotary Foundation.]
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals of the Universities of the United Kingdom, London.
Authoring Institution: N/A