First Advisor

Barry Anderson

Term of Graduation

Fall 1976

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology






Singing, Musical pitch, Visual aids, Chants



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, v, 73 pages)


A review of the literature on the inaccurate singer provided strong evidence that improvement in pitch matching skill was possible. Visual feedback was found to be an effective aid in earlier studies, but none of the previous studies provided both a comparison group which had identical practice without the visual cues and a control group which received no form of practice. Such a design was used in the present study.

Thirty students at Portland State University who claimed to have considerable difficulty carrying a tune were given the opportunity to try to match Individual pitches under one of three conditions to which they were randomly assigned. The two experimental groups (I and II) had a period of about 45 minutes to practice matching a prerecorded model of each of the eight notes of the C major scale. There were nine trials per note. Group II received additional feedback from a Stroboconn, which provided visual information on accuracy or degree and direction of error. Group III was the control and had no training period. All subjects' initial pitch matching ability was assessed, and all subjects took a posttest.

The results on pitch matching were not as expected. Analyses of covariance showed that there were no significant effects of practice in general and no significant differences between the two experimental conditions.

The results of self-evaluation, based on interviews given after the posttest, showed that some subjects tended to improve their opinion of their pitch matching ability. This was significant, though only with a one-tailed test (z = 1.74, p < .05). It thus seems that even a brief opportunity to try out this skill in a relatively non-threatening setting can begin to reverse a lifelong negative self-assessment.

It is speculated that the experiment was too brief to allow the subjects in the Visual group to take full advantage of the Stroboconn. In addition, results of the preliminary assessment measure showed that the tasks may have been too easy for the majority of the subjects, who despite having difficulty carrying a tune, were not severely deficient in their ability to match Individual pitches.


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