Title

Effects of Stimulus Octave and Timbre on the Tuning Accuracy of Advanced College Instrumentalists

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-2016

Department

Music

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to test the effects of octave and timbre on advanced college musicians' (N = 63) ability to tune their instruments. We asked: Are there differences in tuning accuracy due to octave (B-flat 2, B-flat 4) and stimulus timbre (oboe, clarinet, electronic tuner, tuba)? and To what extent do participants' posttuning perceptions of pitch accuracy align with actual pitch accuracy? Participants were organized according to octave played in the tuning process, thus forming bass, tenor, and soprano groups. Results showed no significant effect due to group and no significant differences due to stimulus. There was no difference in the distribution of in-tune, sharp, and flat responses. Comparisons of participants' performance accuracy and posttuning perceptions of task difficulty were favorable to the electronic tuner's viability as a tuning stimulus and less so to the tuba stimulus. Participants' responses to describe how you know you are out of tune and describe the strategies you use to get in tune brought to the foreground two observations of conceptual importance: tuning as four different and sometimes overlapping experiences and a self-imposed comparative strategy. Considered alongside previous research, results address developmental aspects of musicians' tuning performance.

Publication Title

Journal of Research in Music Education

Volume

64

Issue

3

First Page

344

Last Page

359

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