Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation


School of Music


Music Education

First Advisor

Jeremy S Lane


The purpose of this study was to examine influences on melodic error detection ability of adult amateur musicians; specifically, listening-condition, age, and years of experience. Following are the specific research questions of this study:

1) Are there differences in error detection with regard to listening condition?

2) What are the relationships between age and years of experience on error detection ability?

3) What are participants' perceptions of melodic error detection thought processes?

Participants (N=33) met with the investigator individually to complete a melodic error detection task. Each participant listened to three melodies and performed three melodies, noting any perceived melodic errors they may have heard. After providing each participant a 10-second time period to examine the melodic notation, the investigator asked each participant to identify any errors he/she may have perceived in each melody, while either a) listening to the melodies or b) playing the melodies. Participants responded by circling the errors on the error detection form provided by the investigator. Three of the melodies did not contain melodic errors; three melodies contained specific melodic errors (i.e. incorrect interval).

Results indicated a high overall success rate in error detection tasks under both listening and playing conditions, although participants tended to be significantly more

successful under the playing condition than under the listening condition. Findings of correlations among age and experience suggest no significant influence of these variables on error detection ability. In general, participants' perception of the difficulty of error detection tasks were not accurate; they tended to perceive tasks as difficult even though they demonstrated high rates of success in locating and identifying melodic errors in both listening and playing conditions.