Second hearing recognition of music: The design and administration of a research instrument which examines one aspect of music listening
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Listening is the one universal encounter all people have with music. Today the possibility exists of listening to music by itself, for itself, but this accessibility has not resulted in an increase in listening ability nor a closing of the gap between contemporary composers and listeners; consequently listeners need to be assisted to develop their listening skills. Music educators need to understand both the listening process and the composers' expectations. This thesis investigates Recognition (an important area of listening) through a research instrument, the Second Hearing Recognition of Music Test (SHRMT). Its four sub-tests together with a Musical Background Questionnaire (MBQ) were administered in Intermediate Schools. Findings from the SHRMT (using a study of the errors) isolated features of the music which pupils recognised more easily, for example the outline and range of notes of a piece. The pupils identified two parts of the listening process with which they had difficulty - Attention and Memory; teachers identify an additional problem area - Attitude. A review of the general research on these topics has implications for music educators. In terms of their performance and home background the more musically experienced pupils achieved better. The boys' comparative lack of music training outside of the school system evidenced the disadvantaging effects of cultural prejudices. Several New Zealand composers were interviewed to ascertain their ideas on improving listening to contemporary music. The main problems identified by composers were listener attitudes and unfamiliarity with the music and suggestions for improving these were given. The conclusion relates these three approaches of the Thesis (Testing, Review of Research and Interview) to the topic and shows that they speak with a single voice on the question of promoting adequate strategies for listening to music and especially to contemporary compositions.