Date of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Type




Director of Thesis

Jessica Green

First Reader

Elizabeth Myers

Second Reader

Elizabeth Myers


The study described herein compares improvements in tonal memory for young adults (age 19- 22), specifically retention of pitches, between two groups (n1=8, n2=8) with nearly identical training programs. One group was provided electronic pitch stimuli for the training program, while the other group was given human vocal stimuli. Self-paced computerized training sessions were conducted in a soundproofed testing room and interposed between pre-test and post-test measurements. A pre-test—post-test randomized experimental design allowed for assessment of whether the training was effective for each group in addition to comparing effectiveness of training between groups. Analyses with demographic factors, particularly previous musical experience and experience with tonal languages, are also discussed. No significant improvements were found over the course of the training for either group, with averages on pre-tests and posttests falling between 35% and 36% accuracy in all cases. The hypothesis that the vocal pitch stimulus group would experience greater improvements than the electronic stimulus group is not supported. No correlation between previous musical experience and baseline tonal memory assessment was found. Limitations of this research include small sample size leading to high variability in addition to the brevity of the computerized training program.

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© 2023, Grayson M. Fletcher