The Role of Tonal Memory in Learning Novel Musical Tasks on Theremin
AuthorReynolds, Benjamin S.
AdvisorParrott Hayes, Linda J.
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Tonal memory has been shown to significantly correlate with extent of musical achievement more than other auditory discriminative abilities (e.g. Bugg & Herpel, 1946; Henson & Wyke, 1982). Despite these findings, no study has yet determined whether tonal memory predicts future music learning potential. This collection of two studies sought to determine the correlates of music learning by implementing the Seashore Tonal Memory Test (1957) and Drake Musical Memory Test (1957) as assessments of tonal and musical memory followed by a novel direct instruction application using the theremin as a musical apparatus to teach absolute pitch production. Demographic information of participants was also correlated to tonal and musical memory scores as well as overall probe average performances and durations to completing the first learning task. Results showed that the Seashore test predicted prompted music learning typical of ensemble settings and the Drake test predicted both prompted and advanced unprompted music learning typical to absolute pitch. Additionally, gender and musical training of more than three years were shown to significantly affect Seashore and Drake composite score, though they were not predictive of overall probe average performance or duration to completion of the first learning task. Implications of these findings for music education and music learning research are discussed.