A cross-sectional study of preference for music using recorded acoustic timbre versus music using sound sampled timbre

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Virginia Tech


The purpose of this study was to determine if a preference exists for recorded acoustic music or music using sound sampled timbre, and if that preference is influenced by age or gender. Participants were divided into two groups, 10 to 15 year olds (n=97), and 50-91 year olds (n=99). Each participant listened to a CD which presented 17 pairs of excerpts from classical music. Each pair contained both a recorded acoustic and sound sampled example of the following timbres: trumpet, flute, trombone, oboe, and tuba. A survey form was used to record the participants’ preferences.

Results indicated that preference exists for both music using recorded acoustic timbre and music using sound sampled timbre, with youths preferring recorded acoustic and adults preferring sound sampled. A 2x2 factorial design disclosed that there was a significant difference between the age groups. Gender demonstrated no significant effect nor was there significant interaction between age and gender.

Conclusions pointed to the influence of music heard in the public school environment. With increased availability and exposure to sound sampling, consumption of music using this timbre will increase. Music educators need to recognize that the presentation of timbre used in the classroom may reinforce preferences for acoustic music.



music, preference, timbre