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Durham e-Theses
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An analysis of factors involved in musical ability, and the derivation of tests of musical aptitude

Davies, J. B. (1969) An analysis of factors involved in musical ability, and the derivation of tests of musical aptitude. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Existing tests of musical ability or aptitude, with the exception of the Seashore battery, have largely been drawn up from the musician’s standpoint. The use of musical material. in the construction of test items has been almost universal; this approach being to a considerable extent the result of the view that only measurements taken 'in situ', that is in a musical context, have any value. This does not accord with the psychometric position which places emphasis on the predictive value of test items, but makes no statement about what the nature of items must be. The present study is an attempt to construct a battery of tests of musical aptitude from the point of view of the psychologist. The approach is simply psychometric, and involves the use of elementary signal detection, and information, theory. The result is a battery of tests for use with schoolchildren between the ages of seven and eleven years. The data for reliability and validity, though by no means conclusive, suggests that such an approach is viable. In addition, there are reasons for supposing that the types of material selected have less experiential and cultural bias than other testing systems. The work described falls into two main categories. Firstly there is an examination of existing test batteries, and of certain factorial studies of these batteries. In this section an attempt is made to define such terms as 'musical ability', 'aptitude', and 'ability'. Secondly, the construction of a test battery is described, together with certain experiments performed. This leads on to the discussion of the results obtained as a result of administering the tests to some 2,000 schoolchildren. In terms of reliability the results are comparable with existing batteries. The indications from the validity data are also on the whole favourable, but further studies are desirable.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1969
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:51

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