The relationship of tempo, pattern length, and grade level on the recognition of rhythm patterns
Love, Diana Bonham
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of tempo, pattern length, and grade level on student ability to recognize rhythm patterns. It was intended that the study would also determine if age and experience are factors which affect rhythm recognition and memory. A 48 item Rhythm Pattern Identification (RPI) test was administered to 2146 band students and 114 nonmusic students in grades 6 through 12. The RPI consisted of 48 pairs of rhythm patterns varied in time length (seconds), number of note values (sound events), and tempo. Students indicated if the pairs of rhythm patterns were the same or different. Statistical analysis indicated the reliability estimate (KR-20) of the RPI to range from .445 to .792 with the median being .553. Criterion related validity was established through a correlation of student scores on the Iowa Tests of Music Literacy (Gordon, 1970) and the RPI, r = .39. A multiple regression analysis of the data indicated that .36 of the variance in the RPI scores was attributable to the linear combination of tempo, length in seconds, number of sound events, and grade level. As expected, the independent variables of length in seconds and length in sound events were significantly correlated R = .63; however, there were no significant correlations between the other independent variables. Inverse relationships were found between tempo and score and length and score. Beta weights indicated that the number of sound events was the most significant influence on student scores. Data indicated a slight increase in score from one grade level to the next with significant differences occurring between grades six and eleven and twelve and between grades seven and eleven and twelve. The results of the study indicate that length of pattern in seconds, number of sound events, tempo, and grade level all affect memory of rhythm patterns. These findings corroborate with those of Dowling (1973), Sink (1983), and Fraisse (1982). The implications for music education are: (1) tempo may be a factor that influences how students learn rhythm and (2) student perception of rhythm may be more affected by the length of the rhythm pattern in the number of sound events rather than the length of a pattern in seconds. Future research should include further investigation of young students ability to comprehend rhythm patterns. It is evident that young students can perceive and recognize as complex patterns as older students.
- Doctoral Dissertations