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Drenched Book 

^ DQ 





PH.D., LL.D., BC.D., D.LITT. 





All rights reserved. This book, or 

parts thereof* may not be reproduced 

in any form without permission of 

the publishers. 

To my comrades in research 

for the last forty years 

this volume is affectionately 


npms volume is dedicated to my comrades in research, professors 
J. and students, for the last forty years. I am writing as a spokes- 
man for them all, attempting to present in high lights the new 
approaches developed during this period. This involves the right 
to draw freely from more than one hundred publications emanating 
from the group. Wherever possible I have named the person pri- 
marily responsible for the contribution; but the text embodies 
facts which in large part are common stock in the laboratory. 

In doing the overhead work for all these years, it has been 
difficult to separate my own ideas from the ideas of collaborators 
because our policy has been to share ideas with the utmost gener- 
osity. In the interest of condensation and clarity, I have interpreted 
and classified as much as is consistent with the purpose and, there- 
fore, have not used quotation marks extensively. 

It is difficult to give proper acknowledgment to all the persons 
and sources represented. All authors of publications from which 
substantial units are drawn are mentioned in the text with a super- 
script number which refers to the corresponding number in the 
bibliography. The sources of illustrations are indicated in the text. 
Acknowledgment to authors and publishers for permission to use 
material is herewith gratefully extended.* 

Owing to the nature of the situation, I have counted upon 
many of my collaborators to read and criticize the manuscript in 
whole or in part both from the point of view of science and from 
the point of view of music. 

*The following note from the Music Educator* Journal, September, 1937, IB self- 
explanatory : 

"In a series of reports from the laboratory-studio for the Psychology of Music, Carl E. 
Seashore has presented to Journal readers specimens of scientific findings dealing with 
various phases of the psychology of music. Appearing in the October issue of the Journal 
will be the tenth in a series, which will deal with the problem of the tempered scale a* 


The Psychology of Musical Talent, 1 * 7 published by Silver 
Burdett & Company, in 1919, is a monograph which marks a ne\v 
vantage ground in the psychology of music. It covers a restricted 
field in which it has permanent value and should, therefore, not 
be revised, but supplemented. In the present volume, I have aimed 
to avoid duplication of that work to which this is a logical sequel. 

Concentration in this field of work has been favored by a gen- 
erous attitude on the part of the University of Iowa toward this 
project and through a series of generous fellowships provided by 
Mr. George Eastman, the National Research Council, the Guggen- 
heim Foundation, and the Carnegie Foundation. Through a special 
interest in this subject and such generous financial support, it has 
been possible to maintain a continuous project through trained 
investigators, working on a unified program for a generation. 

The purpose of this book is to stimulate and guide the student 
of music in scientific observation and reasoning about his art. It 
is, therefore, not a summary of all the known facts on any subject, 
but rather a series of flashes illustrating the scientific approach 
from as many angles as space and material permit in an elementary 
textbook. Since the book is written for beginners, no technical 
description of apparatus or method is given except in most 
elementary general principles. Material for the student to work 
upon is, however, furnished abundantly. My attitude throughout 
may be expressed in the invitation, "Come with me into the 
laboratory-studio for the psychology of music and see how the 
study of science of the art of music works." As in my other text- 
books the motto has been 

Not psychology but to psychologize. 

This book has been many years in the making. Certain chapters 
have been revised periodically as knowledge in the field has 
advanced. The present edition may, therefore^ be regarded as a 
report of progress subject to revision in the near future; yet an 
effort has been made to deal only with firmly established facts, 

opposed to the natural scale and others. Beginning in March, 1936, successive issues of the 
Journal have Carried articles on the following subjects: (1) Pitch Intonation in Singing, (2)' 
Approaches to the Experimental Psychology of Music; (3) Quality of Tone: Timbre, 
(4) Quality of Tone: Sonance; (5) Measurement of Musical Talent: The Eastman Experi- 
ment; (6) The Vibrato: What Is It?; (7) The Vibrato: What Makes It Good or Bad?; 
(8) The Vibrato: How Can We Approach an Ideal Vibrato?; (9) A Performance Score 
with Phrasing Score for the Violin." 


even though fragmentary. Diversity in the style of figures is 
justified on the policy of retaining the form given each figure by 
its original author. 

Upon invitation from my Alma Mater to give the so-called 
academic address at an anniversary celebration last year, I chose 
as my subject The Power of Music. This had been the subject of 
my class oration when graduating from the academy fifty-one 
years before. Half a century ago the adolescent lover of music 
began his oration as follows: 

Music is the medium through which we express our feelings 
of joy and sorrow, love and patriotism, penitence and praise. 
It is the charm of the soul, the instrument that lifts mind to 
higher regions, the gateway into the realms of imagination. It 
makes the eye to sparkle, the pulse to beat more quickly. It 
causes emotions to pass over our being like waves over the far- 
reaching sea. 

That was what the music I lived in meant to me half a century 
ago. It was the expression of the genuine thrill of young enthusiasm. 
Considering what music meant to me then and what it means to 
me now after a life career in the science of music, there comes to 
me an analogy from astronomy. Then I was a stargazer; now I am 
an astronomer. Then the youth felt the power of music and gave 
expression to this feeling in the way he loved and wondered at 
the stars before he had studied astronomy. Now the old man feels 
the same "power of music," but thinks of it in the manner that the 
astronomer thinks of the starry heavens. Astronomy has revealed 
a macrocosm, the order of the universe in the large; the science of 
music has revealed a microcosm, the operation of law and order 
in the structure and operation of the musical mind. It is a wonder- 
ful thing that science makes it possible to discover, measure, and 
explain the operations of the musical mind in the same attitude 
that the astronomer explains the operation of the stars. 

It is not easy to pass from stargazing to technical astronomy. 
It is not easy to pass from mere love and practice of mu. ic to an 
intelligent conception of it. To help the lover of music bridge this 
gap is the purpose of this volume. 







The sensory capacities Musical imagery, imagination, and memory 
Musical intelligence Musical feeling Musical performance The 
meaning of this analysis 


Musician, music, listener Characteristics of the sound wave Fre- 
quency: pitch Musical aspects of pitch intonation Intensity: loud- 
ness Musical aspects of loudness Duration: time Musical aspects 
of time Wave form: timbre Musical aspects of tonal timbre The 
musical performance score 

3. THE SCIENCE OP Music 3 

Scope of the subject The performer, the music, the listener General 
principles of science Basic principles in the psychology of music 


Nature of the vibrato An example of the vocal vibrato An example 
of instrumental vibrato Frequency of occurrence, extent and rate of 
vibratos Normal illusions which make for beauty of vibrato The 
nature of beauty in the vibrato Ear training for the vibrato Use 
and abuse of the vibrato The vibrato, good, bad, indifferent, and ideal 


The nature of pitch Limits of audible pitch Pitch discrimination 
^Absolute pitch-^The significance of individual differences Normal 
illusions of pitch Subjective tones The first difference tone Other 
difference tones Summation tones Subjective harmonics The dif- 
ference tone a substitute for a low fundamental Pitch performance 


The role of intensity Sensitivity or hearing ability Deterioration 
with age : presbycousis Children's hearing Discrimination : the sense 
of intensity Number of audible differences in loudness Motor 




capacities Intensity characteristics of musical tones Amplification 
of sound 


Nature of the perception of time Discrimination : the sense of time 
Normal illusions of time Motility 


The nature of timbre Harmonic analysis Synthetic tones Timbre 
discrimination: the sense of timbre 


Analogy in moving pictures Types of sonance Sonance in attack, 
release, and portamento The inside of ji vocal tone What is m a 
name? Sonance in speech Nature of the vowel in music and speech- */ 
The problem of formant regions Dependence of harmonic structure 
upon fundamental pitch and total intensity in the vowel Conversa- 
tional vs. audience voice ^ 

10. CONSONANCE . . . 125 

The nature of consonance The psychological approach Six psycho- 
logical problems Order of merit in each of four criteria Order of 
rank on three criteria combined The sense of consonance 

11. VOLUME 134 

Spatial factors Quantitative factors Qualitative factors Temporal 
factors Subjective factors Carrying power 

12. RHYTHM , . . . 138 

The nature of rhythm What rhythm does Individual differences in 

musical rhythm Psychology of rhythm ^ 

/13. LEARNING IN Music . 14P 

Twelve rules for efficient learning in music (to the pupil) Some 
specific applications (to the instructor) 

14. IMAGINING IN Music 161 

The analogy in sculpture and painting Comparison of musicians and 
scientists R. Schumann Mozart Berl "'>z Wagner Supplemen- 
tary imagery Living in a tonal world The development of imagery 
Individual differences in mental imagery 

/15. THINKING IN Music 173 

The issue The nature of musical intelligence How musicians rate 


Determined by capacities Intensified by pursuit Characterized by 
intelligence and motor skills Transfer to other situations 




The bassoon The clarinet The French horn The baritone horn 
The cornet The slide trombone The flute The oboe The tuba 

18. VIOLIN 199 

The violin performance score The violin phrasing score Comparison 
of the performance of two players The pitch factor The intensity 
factor The temporal aspect The timbre aspect Intervals: the 
problem of scales 

19. PIANO 225 

Piano touch The piano camera The piano performance score 
Section of Chopin Nocturne No. 6 Similarity in statement and 
restatement Consistency of interpretation Asynchronization of 

20. VOICE 254 

Singing The tonal aspect: pitch The dynamic aspect: intensity 
The temporal aspect: time Time and stress: rhythm The qualita- 
tive aspect; timbre and sonance 


The problem Paving the way Reminiscent incidents Principles of 
measurement and guidance Sources of error in guidance procedures 


What can we measure ? Principles involved in the elementary battery 
of measures of musical talent Criticisms of this approach Purpose 
of the phonograph records and supplementary procedures Reliability 
The basis for rank order The uses of these measures 


Origin of the Eastman School experiment Plan and purpose of the 
experiment Classification Representative profiles Stability of the 
classification Retests of adults and children Bearing on success in 
the college music course 


The Lincoln experiment The Rochester service Procedure in the 
guidance program The training of teachers and supervisors The 
organization of a guidance program for the public school 


The nature of the inheritance of musical talent Basic approaches now 
available Possible ways of organizing investigation The naturalist's 
point of view 



6. PRIMITIVE Music 346 

Musical anthropology through phonophotography Negro songs 


Control of pitch intonation Control of intensity Control of time and 
rhythm The rhythm meter Training for precision in rhythmic 
action Control of timbre General significance of specific training 
for skills 


Approaches to musical esthetics Esthetics as a normative science 
The musical message 









Oscillogram of a pure and steady tone 16 

The Bach-Gounod Ave Maria as sung by Herald Stark 35 

Bach's A ir for the G String, as played by Arnold Small 39 

Drink to me only with thine eyes, as sung by Lawrence Tibbett 48 

Variation with frequency level and sensation level 60 

A scale of just perceptibly different pitch steps 61 

Number of times filter condition was correctly preserved as function of cut-off 

frequency for the piano 69 

Audible frequency range for music, speech, and noise 71 

Compass of musical instruments 73 

Audiograms showing types of hearing loss 79 

Limits of audible sound 82 

Loudness-level contours 83 

The number of just noticeable steps in loudness (j.n.d.) between the thresh- 
old of audibility and the threshold of pain 85 

Dominant partials in a violin tone 98 

Tone spectrum in terms of percentage of energy 98 

Tone spectrum in terms of decibel values 98 

Types of vocal attack 106 

The harmonic structure of a beautiful tone 107 

Record of the speech from The Judgment Day by Josephine Victor 112 

Timbre and sonance in a vowel; same vowel spoken twice by the same person 114 

Timbre and sonance in a vowel; the same vowel spoken by two persons . . 115 

Formant regions 116 

The effect of variations in pitch, intensity constant, and variations in inten- 
sity, pitch constant, on the harmonic composition of the vowel "Ah " . 119 

The variation of harmonic constitution with pitch 120 

Acoustic spectra and total intensity level under the three conditions. . . . 122 

Order of merit of interval in the consonance-dissonance series 1S2 




Distribution of ratings in tonal auditory imagery 163 

The bassoon 189 

The clarinet 191 

The French horn 191 

The baritone horn 193 

The cornet 193 

The slide trombone 195 

The flute 195 

The oboe 197 

The tuba 197 

Ave Maria as played by Slatkin 200, 202 

Ave Maria as played by Small 201, 203 

Phrasing score for first half of Fig. 1 204 

Phrasing score for Fig. 2 204 

Pitch, intensity, and temporal deviations for the Air for the G String (Bach- 

Wilhelmj) as played by Small 208 

Pitch, intensity, and temporal deviations for the Tzigane (Ravel) as played 

by Menuhin 208 

Intensity and temporal deviations for the Air for the G String (Bach- Wil- 
helmj) as played by Elman 209 

Intensity and temporal deviations for the Air for the G String (Bach- Wil- 
helmj) as played by Small (second performance) 209 

G string 216 

D string 216 

A string 217 

E string 217 

Score of the Kreutzer Etude showing passage, between the two arrows, which 

was played 218 

Phrasing score for pitch rendition of the passage in Fig. 13 by four players 219 

Group performance for five intervals 221 

Comparison of performances in three selections 222 

Comparison of the tempered and the natural scales with the Pythagorean 

scale 223 

Drawing from actual photogram taken with the Iowa piano camera .... 234 

Schematic drawing of the mechanism of the piano camera 235 

The photogram of Fig. 1 transcribed into the musical pattern score .... 238 

The chorale section of Chopin's sixth nocturne 239 

The musical pattern score of the chorale section of Chopin's sixth nocturne, 

as played by pianist A 240 

The musical pattern score of the chorale section of Chopin's sixth nocturne, 

as played by pianist B 241 


Relative duration of melody notes and the corresponding relative intensity 

values 245 

Duration of measures in two renditions of the first 24 measures of Chopin's 

Polonaise, op. 40, no. 1, by Bauer 246 

Duration of phrases in same performance as for Fig. 8 246 

Duration of the first 4 phrases in three renditions of the first 4 phrases in 

Beethoven's Sonata, op. 57, by Clapp 247 

Comparison of artistic time and attempted metronomic time in the rendition 

of the first 25 measures of Chopin's Nocturne, op. 27, no. 2, by Clapp 247 

Asynchronization of chords 250 

Drink to me only with thine eyes as sung by Arthur Kraft 256 

All through the night as sung by Arthur Kraft 258 

The aria Come unto Him (Messiah) as sung by Lucy Marsh 260 

The aria Come unto Him (Messiah) as sung by Mrs. Carl Seashore, Jr.. . . 263 

Samples of mean-pitch lines from Stark 269 

Samples of mean-pitch lines from Kraft 270 

Type forms of gliding, rising attack 271 

Type forms of portamento 272 

Spread of tonal powers within a song 275 

Durational progress of the songs from measure to measure 276 

Durational progress of the songs from phrase to phrase 277 

Kraft 1 and Tibbett. The role of several factors in rhythm 280 

Samples of types of profiles 816 

Distribution of Test 1 and Test 2 raw scores in five measures with a 3-year 

interim between measurements 317 

Distribution of Test 1 and Test 2 raw scores for three groups in five measures, 

with a 3-year interim of musical training between measurements . . . 318 
The percentage of students graduating within 4 years in each of the five 

groups 319 

Family pedigree chart of musical talent of the Rho group 343 

On ma journey 350 

Att my days 353 

You ketch dis train 355 

Negro laugh 356 

Transfer of training in pitch intonation 364 

The effect of training for precision in rhythmic action 370 



npHE late Horatio Parker once said in the way of a witticism, 
JL "There are no musicians in this country," and to my intimation 
that there must be some near-musicians he said, after some delibera- 
tion, "Well, there is one." On inquiry as to what his particular 
merits were, it came out that he was a composer. "But," I asked, 
"how about our great singers and instrumental performers?" 
"Ah, they are technicians." Ranging from such a conception of the 
musical mind to that of the mind of Blind Tom or, in a more 
extreme case, the musicial prodigies which we frequently find in 
the institutions for the feeble-minded, it is possible to recognize 
countless varieties of musical minds. 

Avoiding as much as possible the account of technical methods 
of approach, analysis, and measurement, I shall aim to set up in this 
introductory chapter a skeletal structure in terms of which musical 
minds may be described and interpreted. 

The point of view here presented as a result of laboratory 
experience is based upon the analysis of the musical medium 
the physical sound. This rests upon the assumption that a^musical 
mind must be capable of sensing sounds, of imaging these sounds in 
reproductive and creative imagination, of being aroused by them 
emotionally, of being capable of sustained thinking in terms of 
these experiences, and ordinarily, though not necessarily, of giving 
some form of expression of them in musical performance or in 
creative music.) 

( In this objective approach, we must keep in the foreground the 
fundamental fact that the musical mind does not consist of its 

* Reprinted by permission from the Atlantic Monthly. IM 



dissected parts, but in an integrated personality. In its evaluation 
we must always have regard for the total personality as functioning 
in a total situation. 

Musical talent is not one, but a hierarchy of talents, branching 
out along certain trunk lines into the rich arborization, foliage, and 
fruitage of the tree, which we call the "musical mind." The normal 
musical mind is first of all a normal mind. What makes it musical is 
the possession, in a serviceable degree, of those capacities which are 
essential for the hearing, the feeling, the understanding, and, 
ordinarily, for some form of expression of music, with a resulting 
drive or urge toward music. 


The psychological attributes of sound, namely, pitch, loudness, 
time, and timbre, depend upon the physical characteristics of the 
sound wave: frequency, amplitude, duration, and form. In terms of 
these we can account for every conceivable sound in nature and 
art vocal or instrumental, musical or nonmusical. We therefore 
recognize that the musical mind must be capable of apprehending 
these four attributes of sound. 

But in this apprehending we find an inner screen which is more 
significant musically, being composed of the four fundamental 
sensory capacities in complex forms, namely, the sense of tone 
quality, the sense of consonance, the sense of volume, and the sense 
of rhythm. These four complex forms of capacity must be evaluated 
by themselves and not in terms of their elemental components. 
For example, rhythm depends upon the sense of time and the sense 
of intensity, as hydrogen and oxygen combine int^o water; yet water 
and rhythm are practical entities in themselves. )/ 

This classification of sensory capacities is probably complete, 
because it is based upon the known attributes of the sound wave. 
It must be borne in mind that the sound wave is the only medium 
through which music as such is conveyed from the performer to 
the listener; everything that is rendered as music or heard as 
music may be expressed in terms of the concepts of the sound wave. 
As in good reading we are not aware of letters or phonetic elements 
as such, but read for meaning, so in music we are, as a rule, not con- 
scious of specific tonal elements or sound waves as such, but rather of 
musical design or impression as a whole. The lover of flowers may 
derive deep pleasure from flowers through his senses without knowl- 


edge or thought of the physics or chemistry of their structure(So it 
is possible to enjoy and perform music without insight or knowledge 
of its true nature; but the musician who knows his medium and 
thinks intelligently ab^uLit Jiai^^IvasiTy greater satisfaction than 
the one 

On the basis of our experiments in measuring these sensory 
capacities, we find that the basic capacities, the sense of pitch, the 
sense of time, the sense of loudness, and the sense of timbre are 
elemental, by which we mean that they are largely inborn and 

After a comparatively early age 


they do not vary with intelligence, with training, or with increasing 
age, except as the exhibition of these capacities is limited by the 
child's ability to understand or apply himself to the task. This fact 
is of the utmost importance in that it makes diagnosis of talent 
possible before training is begun and points to certain very definite 
principles of musical education. We can measure these capacities 
reliably by the age of ten in the normal child; and this measure is 
likely to stand, except for the numerous vicissitudes of life which 
may cause deterioration. To take an example, the sense of pitch 
depends upon the structure of the ear, just as acuity of vision 
depends upon the structure of the eye. As no amount of training or 
maturing tends to increase the acuity of the eye, so no amount of 
training or maturing can improve the pitch acuity of the ear. How- 
ever, training and maturing in both cases can greatly increase the 
functional scope of these capacities. The ear, like the eye, is an 
instrument, and mental development in music consists in the 
acquisition of skills and the enrichment of experience through this 
channel. This is analogous to the fact that touch and acuity of hear- 
ing are really on the whole as keen in seeing persons as in the blind 
who show apparently marvelous power of orientation through these 

The apparently complex forms of sensory capacities also tend to 
be elemental to a considerable degree; that is, the young child has 
the sense of tone quality, of volume, of rhythm, and the sense of 
consonance long before he begins to sing or know anything about 
music. It is the meaning, and not the capacity, of these forms of 
impression which we train and which matures with age in propor- 
tion to the degree of intelligence and emotional drive. 

There seem to be four large trunks in the family tree of musical- 
ity, each of which may develop and ramify to a large extent hide- 


pendently of, or out of proportion to, the others. These four are 
the tonal, the dynamic, the temporal, and the qualitative. Each is 
the main trunk of a musical type. Those of the tonal type are 
peculiarly sensitive to pitch and timbre and dwell upon music in all 
its tonal forms melody, harmony, and all forms of pitch variants 
and compounds; the dynamic have a fine acuity of hearing and 
sense of loudness and dwell by preference upon stress, or the 
dynamic aspect of music, in all forms and modifications of loudness; 
the temporal are peculiarly sensitive to time, tempo, and rhythm, 
and by preference dwell upon the rhythmic patterns and other 
media for the temporal aspect of music; the qualitative are pecul- 
iarly sensitive to timbre and are capable of its control, dwelling 
preferentially upon the harmonic constitution of the tone. 

Of course, a great musician, or a balanced musician of any 
degree of greatness, tends to have these four trunks of capacity 
branching out in balanced and symmetrical form, but such cases 
are comparatively rare. Many distinguished musicians are domi- 
nantly of one of these types; their performance and appreciation 
and their musical creations all give evidence favoring dominance 
of one of the trunk lines, although within these trunk lines large and 
distinctive subbranchings may be recognized. Furthermore, great 
capacity in each of these types is not essential to marked distinc- 
tion in musical achievement; very extreme sensitivity in one or more 
of them may even be a drawback to balanced musical development. 

Let me give a very striking illustration on this last point. In 
measuring certain phases of musical talent in all of the available 
living members of six of the foremost musical families in the United 
States, Dr. Stanton found that the brother of one of the protagons 
of these musical families said that he had no musical talent what- 
ever, and this seemed to be the opinion of the family. But the 
experimenter found that in the five basic capacities measured, this 
man was extraordinarily keen, indeed, conspicuously keener than 
his brother, the famous musician. The interesting confession came 
out that the reason he was not musical was that practically all the 
music that he heard seemed to him so bad that it jarred upon him 
and was intolerable. That was the reason that he was not musical in 
the conventional sense of the word; he was so keen that the ordinary 
humdrum of music, even in a musical family, continually jarred 
him. Is he in reality musical or is he not? The psychologist would 
say, "In terms of all the evidence at hand, he has extraordinary 


musical capacities." Yet in his family he was the one who had not 
"amounted to anything" in music. 

Generalizing on the basis of all types of record available we may 
say that, so far as the sensory capacities are concerned, a balanced 
and distinctly gifted musical mind will in these capacities measure 
in the highest 10 per cent of the normal community. But great 
musical achievement may be attained by persons who may have as 
low as average sensory capacity in one of these four main lines. 

But here it must be pointed out, of course, that success depends 
upon following the lead of natural capacity. For example, a person 
who has only an average sense of pitch can never become a good 
violinist or a great singer; but, with the other three skills well 
developed, he may become a pianist or a composer of great distinc- 
tion. A person relatively lacking in dynamic capacities cannot 
become a great pianist, but might well find success with voice or 
wind instruments. It is not that the musician always engages in 
fine distinctions; it is rather that his possession of a fine sensitivity 
makes him live dominantly in that musical atmosphere to which he 
is most sensitive and responsive, even when he employs the most 
dissonant, rough, or unrhythmic characteristics of sound. 


Granting the presence of sensory capacities in adequate degree, 
success or failure in music depends upon the capacity for living in a 
tonal world through productive and reproductive imagination. The 
musician lives in a world of images, realistic sometimes even to the 
point of a normal illusion. This does not mean that he is aware of 
the image as such any more than he needs to be aware of sensation 
in seeing an object. But he is able to " hear over " a musical program 
which he has heard in the past as if it were rendered in the present. 
He creates music by "hearing it out," not by picking it out on the 
piano or by mere seeing of the score or by abstract theories, but by 
hearing it out in his creative imagination through his "mind's 
ear." That is, his memory and imagination are rich and strong in 
power of concrete, faithful, and vivid tonal imagery; this imagery 
is so fully at his command that he can build the most complex 
musical structures and hear and feel all the effects of every detailed 
element before he has written down a note or sounded it out by 
voice or instrument. This capacity, I should say, is the outstanding 
mark of a musical mind at the representation level the capacity of 


living in a representative tonal world. This capacity brings the 
tonal material into the present; it colors and greatly enriches the 
actual hearing of musical sounds; it largely determines the char- 
acter and realism of the emotional experience; it is familiarity with 
these images which makes the cognitive memory for music realistic. 
Thus, tonal imagery is a condition for learning, for retention, 
for recall, for recognition, and for the anticipation of musical facts. 
Take out the image from the musical mind and you take out its 
very essence. 

No one maintains at the present time that a person can be of a 
single imaginal type; but, in natural musicians with a rich feeling 
for music, the auditory type dominates, and perhaps largely 
because realistic imagery is always intimately associated with 
organic responsiveness. The motor imaginal type is ordinarily 
also well developed. It is not necessary for us to quarrel about the 
relation of kinesthetic imagery to kinesthetic sensation, but we can 
agree upon this: that the motor tendency to image the tone or 
execute it in inceptive movements is highly developed in the musical 
mind. The auditory and the motor images are normal stimuli for 
organic reaction in musical emotion. 

The necessity of living in a world of representation tends to 
bring out vivid visual imagery as well as imagery in the other 
senses, because there is a general tendency to reinstate, in the repre- 
sentation of a sensory experience, the whole of the original setting. 
Thus a musician not only hears the music but often lives it out so 
realistically in his imagination and memory that he sees and feels a 
response to the persons, instruments, or total situation in the rendi- 
tion represented. Without this warmth of experience, music would 
lose its essential esthetic nature. It is a well-known fact that many 
persons who ply the art or business of music report having no devel- 
oped imaginal life or concrete imagination. And it has been very 
interesting to observe in many such cases that, although they are 
engaged in the practice of music, their musical life is quite devoid of 
the genuine musical experience. They are often mere pedagogues or 
musical managers. 

The power of mental imagery may be developed to a marked 
degree with training. There is also good evidence to show that the 
power of vivid imagery deteriorates with nonuse. A comparison of 
musicians and psychologists shows that the musicians stand very 
high in auditory imagery and the psychologists as a class compara- 


lively low. This marked difference is probably due partly to selec- 
tion and partly to training. There seems to be no doubt but that 
there are very great differences in the original nature of children in 
this respect. 

Mere strength and fidelity of imagery is, however, of little value 
except insofar as it is the medium for imagination. Music is an art, 
and he who plies it successfullyjias the power of creative imagina- 
tion.. This may be of the sensuous type which Is characterized by 
luxuriant and realistic imagery without much reflection; it may be 
of the intellectual type in which creation takes the form of purpose, 
theories, or postulates as to the material of musical content; it may 
be of the sentimental type in which the flow of imagery is under 
the sway of the higher sentiments which are often nursed into 
esthetic attitudes, sometimes called "musical temperament"; it 
may be of the impulsive type in which the drive or urge of emotion 
flares up but is not long sustained; it may be of the motor type, 
sometimes called "architech tonic," which takes the form of a realistic 
experience of action or of mere performance. According as a person 
is dominantly of any one or of a combination of these types, his 
personality as a whole may in large part be designated by such a 
pattern. Thus, among others, we may recognize as types the 
sensorimotor, sentimental, impulsive, reflective, motile, and the 
balanced musician. 

While retentive and serviceable memory is a very great asset to a 
musical person, it is not at all an essential condition for musical- 
mindedness. A person may have naturally very poor memory of all 
kinds and get along well in music, just as an absent-minded philoso- 
pher may get along very well in his field. Furthermore, the possibility 
for the development of memory is so very great that with careful 
training a person with very poor memory may improve this many- 
fold to the point of serviceability. The musical mind that can repro- 
duce many repertoires with precision is, however, a different mind 
from one which has neither large scope nor fidelity in retention or 
reproduction. But both may be musical. The personal traits in 
memory and imagination color and condition the musical life and 
often set limits to achievement in music. 


Insofar as the power of reflective thinking is concerned, musical 
intelligence is like philosophical, mathematical, or scientific 


intelligence. Intelligence is musical when its background is a store- 
house of musical knowledge, a dynamo of musical interests, an 
outlet in musical tasks, and a warmth of musical experiences and 
responses. Here, as in the case of imagination, the type and the 
degree of intelligence may characterize or set limits for the musical 
achievement. The great composer, the great conductor, the great 
interpreter live in large intellectual movements. They have the 
power of sustained thought, a great store of organized information, 
and the ability to elaborate and control their creative work at a 
high intellectual level. At the other extreme are the various kinds of 
small musicianship in which reflective thinking does not function; 
the experience and the performance are on a sensorimotor level. 
Such music is to real music as fantasy is to creative imagination. 
Between these extremes we may sort musicianships into markedly 
different qualities and levels in terms of some sort of intelligence 
quotient a hypothetical musical intelligence quotient which we 
might designate as M.I.Q. Thought is, however, not limited to the 
difficult and ponderous in music, for, as in all other realms of 
reflection, the highest and most beautiful achievements of thought 
often have the charm of simplicity. 

We should not infer from this that a great mathematician or 
philosopher, who plays the violin or sings beautifully, does so as a 
great thinker. The violin and the voice are often a relief to him from 
the strain of sustained cogitation. He may not create music at all; 
he may not even interpret at the level at which he philosophizes; 
yet his sensuous and his imaginative experiences are chastened, 
mellowed, and balanced by the fact that he is a contemplative man. 

Again the great intellect in music may dwell so exclusively upon 
the musical forms and upon conceptions of new musical structures 
as to become calloused to the more spontaneous appreciation and 
expression of music. He becomes hypercritical and may even lose 
the ability to enjoy music. The penetrating critic often derives more 
pain than pleasure out of music as it is. 

My main point, however, is : as is the intelligence of a man, so is 
his music. If he is in a school for feeble-minded, his music may be 
spontaneous and appealing to a high degree; but it will, neverthe- 
less, be feeble-minded. If it is the expression of the philosophical 
and highly trained composer or conductor, it will be a thought 
creation whether or not it has the more elemental musical appeals 
which reach the masses. 



' Music is essentially a play upon feeling with feeling. It is ap- 
preciated only insofar as it arouses feeling and can be expressed 
only by active feeling. On the basis of the degree and the kind of 
feeling, we may again classify persons into characteristic types in 
terms of affective responsiveness. ) 

As a fundamental proposition we may say that the artistic 
expression of feeling in music consists in esthetic deviation from 
the regular from pure tone, true pitch, even dynamics, metro- 
nomic time, rigid rhythms, etc. All of these deviations can be 
measured so that we can now compare singers quantitatively in 
terms of their use of a particular one of the countless devices for 
deviating from the regular or rigid, including also adherence to the 
regular as a means of expressing emotion in music. The emotional 
medium at one moment may be primarily fine modulation in tonal 
timbre, at another in rhythm, at another in stress, and each of these 
in countless forms of sublimation or hierarchies. In the ensemble of 
such deviation from the regular lies the beauty, the charm, the 
grandeur of music. When Tetrazzini catalogues among the chief 
faults of singing "faulty intonation, faulty phrasing, imperfect 
attack, scooping up to notes, digging or arriving at a note from a 
semitone beneath" she, of course, is right but may fail to realize 
that in just such variables lie the resources for beauty and power of 

In other words, our concept of feeling as expressed in music 
may become concretely scientific, so that, if the music critic praises 
or blames a singer for a certain emotional quality, it need no longer 
remain a question of dispute or opinion; but, just as we could snap 
the profile of the singer with the camera, we can get the profile of 
the sound wave and settle the dispute about the musical 
quality. The music critics, of course, have not yet adopted this 
technique, but the next generation will make a beginning. The ex- 
pression of feeling in music, that mysterious and enchanting retreat 
for all things musical, is being explored; trails are being blazed, and 
the music critic will soon talk about musical expression of feeling in 
terms of precise and scientific concepts. 

When Grace Moore sings in New York and the critics opine 
about the technique of quavers in her voice, we may have at the 
footlights a recording instrument which photographs every sound 


wave and enables us to preserve for all time the form of her expres- 
sion of emotion. We are, of course, not thinking here about that 
mystic inner something which is spoken of as feeling, as such, but 
of the expression of feeling. In modern psychology, to feel is always 
to do, to express something action of the organism. The expression 
does not take ethereal, magical, or even mystic form but comes to 
us through the media to which our senses are open. 

(There are two other aspects of feeling in music. One is the nature 
of esthetic experience, and the other is what we may call the 
"creative feeling" as it operates in the composer. It is evident that 
both of these will stand out in an entirely new light the moment the 
conception of the concreteness, describability, and tangibleness of 
the expression of emotion in music is recognized. 


Musical performance, like all other acts of skill involving un- 
usually high capacity, is limited by certain inherent and inherited 
motor capacities. For example, a child may be slow and sure or 
quick and erratic in certain specific activities, or he may be found in 
any other combinations of the two series from the extremely slow 
to the extremely quick, and extremely precise to the extremely 
erratic. And, as a child is found, so will be the youth and the man. 
Such a "personal equation" is a personal trait, like stature or color 
of hair. Singing involves the possession of a favorable structure of 
the vocal organs and motor control. Playing various kinds of instru- 
ments calls for a high order of natural capacity, for speed and accu - 
racy in control. Such motor capacities can be measured before 
musical training is begun. Musical action is, of course, also limited 
by limitations in each and all of the talents heretofore discussed; for 
example, a person who is low in sense of rhythm will of necessity be 
low in rhythmic performance. In the next generation, the music 
student and the music teacher and theorist will rate progress and 
quality in musical performance in relation to capacity, just as at the 
present time we are beginning to consider it reasonable not to 
expect as much from a moron as we do from a philosopher. 

It is quite possible to recognize fundamental types of motor 
resourcefulness in musical performance, but for the present purpose 
the main thing to be stressed is that there is nothing indescribable 
about it and that individual motor fortes or faults of a basic char- 
acter often determine the character of the musician. 


' The musician, in passing judgment upon a prospective musician, 
rightly says, "Give me the child with the musical instinct." By 
that he does not mean any one of the specific capacities we have 
discussed, but rather a fundamental urge, drive, or emotional 
dominance, craving expression in music from early childhood. This 
general trait is often feigned, fragmentary, or imaginary, but when 
genuine it constitutes the most certain indication of the presence 
of the musical mind that we have. When submitted to analysis, it is 
found to represent an effective grouping, dominance, or balance 
of fundamental sensory and motor capacities and therefore yields 
to measurement and scientific description and evaluation. * 


This, in brief, is the skeletal structure I promised. In many 
respects it is but dangling and rattling dry bones. "Atomistic!" 
some of my confreres will say. Now, atoms are not roses, resplendent 
in bloom, fragrance, and configuration living roses! The esthete, 
whiffing and raving about the beauty of the rose, can ignore the 
atom, but the botanist cannot. It is to the botanist that we look for 
a true revelation of the origin, the growth, the nature, and the role 
of roses in the economy of nature. It is the botanist who can make 
verifiable and permanent distinctions among roses. 

Fifty years ago, Wundt was asked, "What have you learned 
from the reaction experiment?" to which his whole laboratory 
force had devoted its first three years. His reply was, "It has given 
me a new conception of the human mind." Speaking for those who 
take the scientific point of view in the psychology of music, I may 
say that experiment has given us a new conception of the musical 
personality as a whole its infinite capacities and the intimate 
relationships among them, the marvelous range for possible train- 
ing, growth, and substitution, the sublimation of musical interests 
in daily life, the necessity of viewing the personality as a dynamic 

Does this point of view oversimplify the musical mind? The 
argument I have made is that it can and should vastly enrich and 
deepen the concept; if you ask one question of nature in the labora- 
tory, nature asks you ten, and each of these when pursued in turn 
multiplies into tens of tens of tens. For laboratory procedure is 
but the setting of conditions for more and more precise observations 
of specific, concrete, verifiable facts or features. What I have stated 


is, after all, merely a point of view. The details remain to be worked 
out, filled in, modified as science progresses. The whole appeal is to 
and for verifiable facts. 

What shall it profit ? Perhaps I may bring together in a construc- 
tive way some of the features which seem to me to be involved in the 
acceptance of scientific procedure in the interpretation, evaluation, 
and education of the musical mind. 

It gives us a psychology of music in that it furnishes describable 
and verifiable facts as a basis for classification. The particular data I 
have presented are just plain psychology; not any particular brand, 
but rather an attempt to select and consolidate what is usable in the 
various modern points of view. 

It furnishes us a technique for the development of musical 
esthetics. The armchair deductions about the nature of beauty in 
music give way to experiment, and conclusions must be limited to 
factors under control. Musical esthetics will soon loom up as one of 
the applied and normative sciences. 

It forms a basis for the analysis and evaluation of musical talent 
and will furnish helpful data for vocational and avocational guid- 
ance in music. 

It develops an intimate relationship between music and speech. 
Speech, especially dramatic art, is gaining recognition in esthetics 
because of its close relationship to music. 

It lays the foundations for musical criticism, musical biography 
and autobiography, and musical theory in general, even for intelli- 
gent parlor conversation about musical thrills. 

It furnishes the foundation for the essential facts for the con- 
struction of the curriculum, for the selection and motivation of the 
musically educable, for the evaluation of progress in training, and 
for countless improvements in the technique and economy of teach- 
ing. If a committee of scientifically trained musicians should make 
a survey of the economies or wastes involved in current methods of 
teaching music and should be free to set forth the pedagogical 
consequence of facing the new scientifically known facts about the 
musical mind, very radical changes would follow. 

It helps to give music its true place and influence by enhancing 
the musical life for the musically gifted and thereby furnishing a 
natural drive for the effective functioning of music in the life of the 


THE medium with which the musician works is the sound wave; 
his works of art take the form of artistically built sound struc- 
tures. The painter creates his work of art through the medium of 
physical paints; the sculptor models his creation in clay, or chisels, 
hews, and molds in metals or stone. The musician has but one 
medium, the physical sound. 


^The psychology of music may be divided into three large fields 
dealing with the musician, the music, and the listener, respectively. 
It is concerned with the description and explanation of the opera- 
tions of the musical mind, the music as a thing in itself, and the 
musical activities of the listener. Naturally, it deals primarily with 
the music as a work of art in sound and from that works back to the 
producer of music and forward to the listener who hears it musically . 
Psychology proceeds systematically by analyzing situations and 
reducing them progressively to their simplest terms. The first great 
step in approaching the psychology of music is to recognize that 
everything that the singer or player conveys to the listener is con- 
veyed through sound waves or in terms of these. This conception 
simplifies our approach immensely in that it frees us from confusion 
with unnecessary accessories, furnishes us with a basis for classifica- 
tion and terminology, and paves a way for preservation of findings, 
measurement, and scientific explanation. 

v^But, the reader may say, music is more than sound. It must have 
atmosphere; it ordinarily involves some degree of dramatic action; 
it is modified by the character of the audience, the personal appear- 



ance, manners and mannerisms of the performed the total situation 
of which the performance is a part. In other words, music is essen- 
tially tied up with a larger setting in which it plays a leading role. 
This must be taken for granted, and we may recognize that there is 
a very interesting psychology of each of these accessories, such as 
the picture hat, the smile, the anticipated applause, the sentiment 
connected with the national anthem, or the mood of the listener. 
These contribute to the atmosphere and should be cultivated with 
care, but they are not the music. They present very interesting 
psychological problems; but it is to the advantage of the psychology 
of music to separate clearly the music in itself from its accessories. 

(It also is admitted that the music is in the first and last instances, 
in the mind of the composer and in the mind of the listener, not 
actual sounds but images, ideas, ideals, thoughts, and emotions. 
We shall find, however, that these are always in terms of the 
physical sound to which they refer. In this respect, the creations of 
the musician are analogous to the creations of the painter and the 
sculptor; they are purely objective, j 

The musical instrument or voice or any other sound-producing 
body sends out puffs or waves of air which radiate in all directions 
from the source. When segments of these waves strike the ear, they 
set up vibrations in the tympanic membrane. These in turn are 
transmitted through the middle ear as vibrations of three bones. 
They are taken up by the oval membrane, which in turn transmits 
them to the liquid of the inner ear. The vibrations in this liquid 
are transferred to the receiving mechanism of the nerve cells, the 
end organs of hearing in the inner ear. For each vibration, the 
mechanical shaking of the end organs of the auditory nerve sets 
up a nerve impulse. These nerve impulses are transmitted to the 
brain and give rise to the tone that is heard. 

Thus, in terms of waves, we may trace the physical medium 
of sound from the vibration of the sounding body, such as a reed or 
the vocal cords, through the air as air waves and through the tym- 
panic membrane, the bony system, the oval membrane, the liquid 
of the inner ear, and the receiving mechanism of the nerve cells, as 
physical vibrations of material bodies. Then follow the physio- 
logical stages consisting of the arousing of the nerve impulse in the 
end organ, its transmission over the auditory nerve, and the action 
set up in the various brain centers reached. It is this nerve impulse 
that primarily determines the tone which we hear. 


In this way nature has provided a means of transforming the 
musical medium from one form of energy to another; and in this 
process the waves are adapted progressively to each medium, 
finally resulting in brain activity associated with the musical 
experience. The experience is not that of a wave, but of a tone 
having pitch, duration, loudness, and timbre. The following state- 
ment in The Psychology of Musical Talent 1 * 7 is apposite: 

Thinking of musical experience in terms of this physical 
medium, we are confronted with one of the greatest marvels 
of nature, the wondrous "transformation from matter to mind": 
out of mere vibration is built a world of musical tones which 
do not in themselves suggest vibration at all. So it is in all the 
senses. The vibrations of light reflected from the landscape give 
us the mental experience of color and form, and our minds are so 
endowed that we can experience beauty and see meaning in this 
display. It is the physical flower that we love and admire and 
seek to understand. No one doubts the existence of this physical 
flower; no one doubts the experience of its beauty. The love and 
understanding of things seen in nature and art take for granted 
this physical-physiological-mental series as an integrated unit. 
The artist and the common man who experience it need not think 
in terms of light vibrations, but the scientist who is to explain 
the experience must think in terms of physical, physiological, and 
mental processes as units in terms of light waves, nerve 
impulses, and mental process. 

So it is with music. Musical art and the everyday experience 
of sound may proceed without any knowledge of physics, 
physiology, or psychology; but when the scientist attempts to 
explain these experiences he must deal with the series as a whole, 
the sound wave, the nerve impulse, and the experience of sound. 
The object of our study is music from the psychological point of 
view. Music is the center and core of our interest, the goal toward 
which we are working. 

It is possible to intercept the sound wave by measuring instru- 
ments at any of these stages : in the condensation and rarification of 
the air, in the physical vibration of the various parts of the ear, or 
in the physiological pulsations of the nerve impulse in the end organ, 
the nerve, or the brain center. 


The most serviceable approach is that of phonophotography, 
by which the air waves are intercepted and recorded faithfully 
with cameras suitable for the purpose. Our descriptions of the 
musical medium will, therefore, be given largely in terms of these 
phonophotograms which reveal all the characteristics of the sound 
wave in measurable form. 


As we have seen, sound waves have four, and only four, char- 
acteristics; namely, frequency, amplitude, duration, and form. 
Sounds of every conceivable sort, from pure tone to the roughest 
noise, can be recorded and described in terms of these four. The 
same four characteristics may be traced in the nerve impulse which 
results from the physical vibration; corresponding to these four 

FIG 1. Oscillogram of a pure and steady tone. 

characteristics of physical wave and nerve impulse, we have the 
four characteristics of musical tones. The full and serious recogni- 
tion of this parallelism vastly simplifies our problem and furnishes 
us a key to the understanding, the recording, the production, the 
description of musical phenomena; it enables us to know that we 
are taking all factors into account, since these four are all-inclusive; 
it furnishes us a terminology which is simple, consistent, and 
verifiable; it facilitates the adoption of units of measurement; it 
does away with the notion that tones may vary in an " infinite 
and unknowable variety of ways"; it furnishes a cornerstone for the 
psychology of music and musical esthetics. 

Figure 1 is a phonophotogram of a pure tone, lasting 0.1 sec. 
In this picture there are 5 waves in this tenth of a second. There- 
fore, the number of waves in 1 second is 50, the frequency of the 
tone. The pressure or energy of the sound wave, which determines 
the intensity of the physical tone and loudness of the tone as heard, 
is expressed in terms of the amplitude or height of the wave from 
crest to trough. The duration* is, of course, expressed in terms 

* In physics, duration is not spoken of as a characteristic of the wave except insofar 
as it refers to wave length, which is the reciprocal of frequency. For psychological reasons, 


of time length of the tone, that is, the continuation of the sound 
waves as recorded over the time line. The form of the wave deter- 
mines its harmonic constitution, which gives us the experience of 
timbre. In this case, the smooth sine curve is an indication of the 
pure tone.* 

Before proceeding to describe the sounds which we hear 
in terms of these four characteristics, it should be made clear that 
in reality the hearing of tones is rarely an exact copy of these phys- 
ical characteristics of the sound, because hearing is seldom complete 
and many principles of distortion operate. We are subject to a 
great variety of faults and errors in hearing. These are due primarily 
to five sources: the physical limit of the sense organ, the physiolog- 
ical limitations, inaccurate or inadequate perception, principles of 
economy in hearing, and principles of artistic hearing. These devia- 
tions from direct correspondence to the actual physical sound we 
call " normal illusions." It is significant that they are not mere 
errors but may serve in the interests of economy, efficiency, and 
the feeling of beauty in mental life. And it is particularly significant 
for us at this stage that all these illusions may themselves be 
measured in terms of these same four attributes of the sound wave. 

This principle is true in all our perception. When we see the 
color and form of the Japanese cherry tree in blossom, we rarely 
see the exact color or the exact detail or shape of the parts of the 
tree, yet we assert that we see the tree and recognize that it is the 
actual thing which really exists and which we ought to see. But we 
know numerous laws of illusion of color and form and the limits 
of sensation, all of which tend to modify the thing that we see. So, 
in musical hearing, we are fully justified in speaking in quantitative 
terms of the physical sound wave as the true description of the 
physical tone. But a large and very interesting part of the psy- 
chology of musical hearing consists of principles of deviation from 
the actual physical tone. 


The terms "frequency," "double vibrations" (d.v.), "number 
of vibrations per second," "cycles," and "waves" are synonymous 

duration of the recurrence of waves is here spoken of as a wave characteristic; that is, 
something that can be measured in terms of waves. 

* For latest definitions of terms in hearing see Report of Committee on Acoustical 
Standardization . a 


and may be used interchangeably to designate frequency and pitch. 
It is now customary to use the sign ~ to designate these. Histor- 
ically, the term " pitch" has been used appropriately in two mean- 
ings : first, in the narrow sense, to denote an attribute of the sound 
as heard, that is, the mental experience; second, in a broader sense, 
to denote the total process, physical, physiological, and psycholog- 
ical. Current practice attempts to use " pitch" to designate the 
psychological experience and "frequency " to designate the physical 
vibration. However, in the science of music and speech we con- 
stantly have occasion to mean the whole situation mental, 
physiological, physical; and then we employ the term "pitch" in 
the broader sense. The context generally indicates which of these 
connotations is intended. 

In determining frequency, we count the number of waves per 
second or we measure the length of successive waves, counting 
from characteristic points such as from crest of one wave to the 
corresponding point in the next. 

In musical hearing and performance, we demand answers to 
questions like these: What is the actual pitch of the tone? How 
faithful is it? How does it vary artistically? In what respects is it 
faulty? What license has the performer taken? How is pitch ren- 
dered in the attack, the release, or the portamento? What unusual 
characteristics of intonation, if any, are there? We may picture 
problems of this kind in terms of the following skeletal outline: 

Musical aspects of pitch intonation 

Actual pitch in terms of frequency 
Faults of intonation 

Ex. Level flatting or sharping; progressive flatting or sharping; erratic 

Musical ornaments 

Ex. Trills and grace notes indicated in the score; vibrato and other periodic 
inflections not indicated in the score 

Other varied inflections involving art principles 
Unconventional artistic license 

Ex. Pitch swoops in primitive music or semispeech intonation for dramatic 

Glides in attack, release, or portamento 
Intervals: melody, harmony 



For psychological purposes, the intensity of tone is expressed in 
terms of decibels (db). The decibel is a new term devised by elec- 
trical engineers for the measurement of sound in radio, talking 
pictures, sound abatement, and architecture; but it is destined to 
take its place among the common units of measurements, such as a 
degree of temperature. Like pitch and loudness, the decibel is a 
psychological unit representing the degree of loudness. Its physical 
counterpart, intensity, is expressed in terms of units of electrical 
energy. On the physical side, we speak of dynamic value in terms of 
intensity and on the mental side in terms of loudness. 

However, intensity is frequently used to designate either the 
mental or the physical, or both, for the reason that it is the recog- 
nized term expressing an attribute of sensation in psychology, and, 
in a great variety of situations, the object is not to distinguish 
between the physical and the mental but to represent the total 
situation. Likewise, the decibel is used to designate both the phys- 
ical and the mental. Types of questions which may be answered in 
terms of decibels are indicated in the following skeletal outline: 

Musical aspects of loudness 

Degree of loudness, or absolute intensity 
Dynamic modulation 

Ex. Periodic variations in intensity as in the vibrato; progressive variations 
in intensity as in crescendo, diminuendo, swell, circumflex; dynamic 
license, as in acute swells and dips characteristic of primitive music and 
certain rare artistic modulations for the dramatic effect; and attack, 
release, and portamento 

Dynamic rhythm (see Chap. 12) 
Volume (see Chap. 11) 

Ex. Dynamic changes in relation to pitch, time, intensity, and timbre 
Erratic changes in intensity 


Pitch and intensity are always recorded against time, expressing 
the duration of notes, pauses, or any specific feature of these. We 
may, therefore, take our time values from either the pitch record or 
the intensity record. Some of the musically significant time values 
are shown in the following skeletal outline: 


Musical aspects of time 

Actual duration of tones, pauses, or any specific aspect of these 
Time and tempo 
Temporal rhythm 

Ex. Measure rhythm, phrase rhythm, or sentence rhythm 

Time of attack and release 

Ex. Asynchronization of chords or overlapping of notes through pedal 
action and syncopation 

Artistic variations 

Ex. Accelerando, retardando, holds, legato, staccato, vibrato 
Erratic and faulty variations in time 


Timbre is described in terms of the form of the sound wave. It 
ranges from the pure tone through an infinite number of changes in 
complexity up to the pitchless sound we call "noise." As we shall see 
later, timbre is determined primarily by the number, the order, 
and the relative intensity of the fundamental and its overtones as 
expressed in the wave form. It also is modified by the absolute pitch 
and total intensity of the tone as a whole. The physical structure of 
the complex sound is called its "harmonic composition." Psycholog- 
ically it may be spoken of as the overtone structure. This is fully 
illustrated in Chaps. 8, 9, and 17. 

In actual music, it is possible to have as many as 30 or 40 
partials in combination, constituting a rich tone. As we shall see 
in the chapter on timbre, the wave form may be analyzed so as to 
show how many partials are present, the form of their distribution, 
and the relative amount of energy that each contributes. In terms 
of such facts, we can represent the harmonic constitution and, 
therefore, the timbre of the tone by a graph called a "tone 

An unscientific person listening to all the sounds in art and 
nature is tempted to pronounce the variety of differences indescrib- 
able; but, from the physicist's point of view, every physical tone is 
describable in terms of its partials which, from the point of view of 
hearing, we call "overtones," as expressed in timbre. In other words, 
the sound wave is capable of as many types of form as nature and 


art may be capable of sounding as variations in tone quality. We 
should here recognize that timbre as a fourth attribute of tone is by 
far the most important aspect of tone and introduces the largest 
number of problems and variables. Some of these may be indicated 
in the following skeletal outline: 

Musical aspects of tonal timbre 

The actual description of the quality of any tone 

Ex. The exact and objective description of any voice, any instrument, any 



Variation in tone quality 

Ex. Variation of timbre with register, loudness, duration, location of tone, 
nasality, placement, breathing 


Ex. The determination of norms of beauty in tones, either actual or ideal: 
the relation of timbre to art forms 

Ex. The expression of love, grief, fear, rage: musical mood 

Any musician could extend this list in terms of questions about 
tone quality which he would like to have measured. Many of these 
questions arise alike in both music and speech, and the findings in 
one transfer to the other. 

In this very brief outline, we have become aware of the ele- 
ments which function in the musical medium, which are measurable 
in terms of the sound wave and which have distinct psychological 
and musical meaning. For full illustrations and discussion, we must 
pursue in turn Chaps. 5, 6, 7, and 8. 


If we bear in mind that all of these aspects of music which have 
been mentioned are measurable and capable of description and 
statement in exact scientific form, the question of scientific musical 
notation becomes urgent. Without such notation, the psychology 
of music would be in a position of mathematics without mathe- 
matical symbols. As has been outlined, every aspect of the musical 
medium can be measured, analyzed in great detail, recorded, de- 
scribed, and explained. We should soon be swamped with the mass 
of that type of information unless we had some standardized, very 
simple, scientifically accurate, and musically significant graphical 


language or symbols in which the facts could be preserved and made 
readily available in music. 

Such language has been devised in the form of what has been 
called the musical performance score. Instead of taking space to 
illustrate and explain such scores at this stage, we may ask the 
reader to turn to Figs. 1 and 2 in Chap. 4, Fig. 1 in Chap. 18, 
Fig. 3 in Chap. 19, and Fig. 3 in Chap. 20, where we have full 
illustrations of its nature and use. It will be observed that these 
performance scores record three factors: namely, pitch, time, and 
intensity. Timbre is of such a complex nature that it must be re- 
ported in individual tone spectra as seen and explained in Chaps. 
8, 9, 17, 18, and 20. 


THE preceding chapter was an attempt to introduce the reader to 
the psychology of music by showing how this science describes 
and explains musical phenomena in terms of the musical medium. 
Let us now seek further insight into this new field of applied science 
and art, and obtain a bird's-eye view of the ground which lies before 
us. A full science of music cannot be written in one or in 3, small 
number of volumes. It therefore is necessary to select a specific 
point of view and recognize important limitations of the subject 
treated in this volume. 


1. The subject is limited to a scientific approach. Description 
and explanation in music draw upon several sciences: primarily, 
physics, mathematics, physiology, anatomy, anthropology, and 
psychology, as well as the history and theory of musical practice. 
But it has come to be a function of the psychologist, as a student of 
human experience and behavior, to integrate these under the gen- 
eral concept of the "psychology of music." Although there may be 
much practical wisdom in popular psychology, resting on loose 
theory not suitable for verification by scientific method, such topics 
are excluded, and so is also the legitimate subject of philosophy of 
music ^ 

2. It is limited to those topics which are peculiarly amenable to 
treatment in the psychological laboratory, thus excluding problems 
specific to other sciences, such as physics, physiology, and mathe- 
matics, except as accessories. 

3. It is further limited to the treatment of topics on which the 
author has firsthand experience, emanating directly or indirectly 


from the psychological laboratory. It therefore is necessarily selec- 
tive, skeletal, and illustrative rather than systematic. It constitutes 
only a series of fair samples of problems, procedures, facts, and 
principles, both theoretical and applied. 

Psychology of music, even in a narrow sense, is unlimited, 
because music involves countless varieties of musical performance, 
countless varieties of moods, emotions, and ideas to be expressed, 
and countless attitudes, capacities, urges, and interests of the 
listener. In a way it involves all psychology; because the under- 
standing, description, and explanation of musical experience and 
behavior implies understanding, description, and explanation 
of fundamental experience and behavior in general. We must 
therefore seek to confine ourselves to the most essential situations 
exhibited in music and, among these, to those immediately essen- 
tial for the understanding, appreciation, and expression of music. 

Yet the treatment is not restricted to music. It carries many 
implications and interpretations which have a bearing on the science 
of fine arts in general. Because of the common elements involved, 
the analysis of the situation in the psychology of music has its 
analogies in other fine arts and interests, such as graphic and 
plastic art, dramatic art, and poetry. In other words, the science of 
music transfers in various degrees to each of these fields, in both 
their pure and their applied aspects. Furthermore, any contribution 
to the psychology of music becomes also a contribution to general 
psychology. Therefore, while music is our specific objective, a 
study of this kind throws much light upon the interrelations of the 
fine arts and their common problems, particularly with reference to 
vocational and educational guidance and training for skills. 


The musical performer. We must consider here the performer, 
either vocal or instrumental, his instrument, his physical organism 
and physiological condition on the physical side, and on the mental 
side, the cognitive, affective, and motor aspects of his performance. 

On the physical side, we are concerned with the instrument, 
which may be the human voice or any other sound-producing 
mechanism that may have musical significance. The self-expression 
of the musician is naturally related to, and characterized by, the 
physical instrument which serves as his tool. 


With reference to this aspect, we must take into account not 
only natural capacity for voice, as in singing, but also a number of 
other physical and neural mechanisms which favor or interfere with 
successful performance, in either voice or instrument. The character 
of the performance and the limits of achievement often are set by 
the physique of the performer, his physiological condition, such as 
the state of health, fatigue, adaptation, and other chronic or 
temporary physiological factors which affect sensitivity, mental 
alertness, muscular tonus, and general attitudes and impulses of the 

Given favorable physical and physiological conditions, we still 
find the largest variables in the psychological and educational 
aspect of the performer. Among these are the character of his 
knowledge and training, the development of his temperamental and 
emotional life, and the motor and interpretative skills which are 
the media of his musical expression. Each of these may be regarded 
from the point of view of natural ability, including his inheritance 
and environmental influences. On the other hand, each may be 
regarded from the point of view of mental development, maturation, 
musical tastes and leanings, and acquired skills. Thus the psy- 
chology of the performer involves the psychology of his instru- 
ment, his neuromuscular equipment, and all the factors which are 
determined by knowledge, feeling, action, and will power, both 
from the view of the natural capacity and as a result of nurture in 
his environment and of training. 

The music. The central problem in the psychology of music is 
the description and explanation of the musical creation the 
actual music regarded on the one hand as the expression of musical 
feeling and on the other as the stimulus for arousing musical feeling. 
The psychology of music on the whole begins with and centers 
around the performance. The first step is to record it adequately, 
measure it, and analyze it as a work of art. As has been pointed out, 
the four characteristics of the sound wave may be recorded, meas- 
ured, and classified in a relatively complete system and to a degree 
which far exceeds the limits of musical hearing. They may be 
reported in scientific terminology which is complete and adequate 
for the description of every possible element or variant in the song 
or' instrumental performance as an art object. Therefore, the 
psychology of musical performance implies an adequate knowledge 


of the physical characteristics of sound, the mode of its transmis- 
sion, and the countless physical and physiological conditions which 
determine its functioning. 

The psychological problem here is to convert the objective 
record of the physical aspects of music as performed into terms of 
psychological experiences and responses which have musical mean- 
ing. Thus, instead of being concerned with frequency, intensity, 
duration, and form of sound waves, we shall speak and think in 
terms of pitch, loudness, time, and timbre, and all their derivatives 
and variants, giving a scientific account of the performance in 
terms of musical terminology. Here we must deal with a vast array 
of principles, such as the psychophysics of hearing, musical evolu- 
tion, musical knowledge and training, the limits of the organism, 
individual differences, health, musical environment, musical 
guidance, practical norms, and esthetic principles, and shall aim in 
general to give an interpretative account of that which is trans- 
mitted from the performer to the listener as music. 

Central to the interpretation of performance as musical art are 
a number of facts which are strictly musical; such as musical form 
and all its variants, musical theory involving all its aspects of 
composition, setting of words and themes, racial and historical 
aspects, and many other matters of musical esthetics. 

The listener. Having considered the psychology of the per- 
former and the performance, there remains the very important 
stage of the psychology of the listener. What is characteristic of the 
musical message as it is received ? What are the factors, physiolog- 
ical, physical, psychological, and esthetic, which determine this 
response in hearing, interpretation, and enjoyment of music? Evi- 
dently the problems in the psychology of the listener are, in general, 
the same as the psychology of the performer, which we need not 
here repeat. Central among these, however, are the psychology of 
musical appreciation, the limits of the capacity for hearing, for 
interpreting and reliving the musical emotion which the artist has 
attempted to convey. 

From these considerations it is evident that our subject is 
enormously involved and that therefore a single coherent treatment 
will of necessity be fragmentary and restricted. With this in mind, 
the present volume presents an outline in high lights for the purpose 
of stimulating and guiding the student in dealing with observation, 
reading, and thinking on the subject. Our aim is primarily to pre- 


sent the psychology of the subject in such a way as to lead the reader 
to psychologize about music himself. 


Most of our knowledge is of the common-sense variety gained in 
uncontrolled observation. Very little is based upon experiment; 
yet, where there is no experiment, there can be no science. Further- 
more, in a new applied science like this, there is a vast amount of 
so-called "experimentation" that is neither scientific nor valid. In 
planning an experiment or in evaluating the results of an experi- 
ment in the psychology of music, we should check the procedure 
against such criteria as the following six. Let us consider, for exam- 
ple, an experiment to determine the carrying power of voice or 

1. The factor under consideration must be isolated in order that 
we may know exactly what it is that we are measuring. For exam- 
ple, we must take one factor, such as pitch, intensity, timbre, 
tempo, size of the room, or the acoustical treatment of the walls and 
isolate and define it adequately. 

2. All other factors must be kept constant while the selected 
factor is varied under control. For example, if intensity is a selected 
factor, we must vary that factor in graded steps while all other 
factors in the tone and in the total environment are kept constant. 

3. The observed facts must be recordable. For example, the in- 
tensity may be recorded in terms of the energy or power of the tone. 

4. The situation must be repeatable for verification. It should 
be possible for any scientist with proper equipment to repeat the 
experiment under identical conditions. 

5. The conclusion must be validated in relation to the total 
personality and in the total musical situation. 

6. The conclusion must be limited to the factor under control. 
For example, we can only say that the most favorable intensity 
here found holds for the conditions here controlled and that it must 
therefore be integrated with other factors in a series of experiments 
in which each of these is taken in turn. 

If the plan for an experiment fails on any one of these points, 
this may invalidate the conclusion to be drawn. If we wish to weigh 
the reliability of evidence from experiment, here is a fair scale. We 
should not maintain that every serious study in psychology should 
be scientific. There is nothing sacred about science. Science simply 


strives for accuracy and logical coherence of facts. In the interest 
of progress and practice, we must put up Tjvith a great many make- 
shifts, often of no scientific value but very useful in the process of 
trial and error at our present state of limited knowledge. The 
scientist makes the supreme sacrifice of being willing to devote 
time and energy to the study of one specific isolated factor at a time, 
regardless of how small a part it may be of the whole; but the re- 
ward for this sacrifice is adequate the discovery of verifiable truth. 
The musician as a practical man must draw upon currently ac- 
cepted truths through tradition, common-sense observation, and 
general knowledge, and do the best he can in the practical situation; 
but as science progresses, he will be more and more open-minded 
and eager for the fragments of scientific facts that dribble in or that 
he may discover by his own experiments. 

The criteria here set up represent the bedrock requirements of 
science. A survey of the experimental literature in psychology shows 
that experiments generally accepted as more or less scientific range 
from those which conform rigidly to these requirements to those 
which can scarcely be said to follow any of them. In this situation 
formative science can be tolerated on the ground that "doing the 
best we can" from time to time is often a preliminary stage to 
mastery. In all sciences we find such regions of exploratory effort. 
Therefore, while we should not flaunt the criteria for simon-pure 
experiment in a censorious way, we should always hold before our- 
selves a goal which must be approached in a stabilized science and 
temper and evaluate our conclusions by the limitations thus set 
up in relation to this goal. 


f Laboratory experiments in the psychology of music have re- 
vealed progressively a number of principles which seem to facilitate 
experiment, introduce important elements of economy, insure 
exhaustive treatment, furnish criteria of validity, and form bases 
for the foundation of esthetic theories. 

Some principles have emerged incidentally throughout the fore- 
going chapters. A selected number of these are here thrown into 
high relief in the interest of a combined review and forecast. It has 
been suggested that we call these a duo-decalogue for the 
psychology of music.] 


1. All that is conveyed from the musician to the listener as 
music is conveyed on sound waves. As was pointed out in Chap. 2, 
countless other factors dramatic action, gesture, grimaces, smiles 
and frowns, picture hats and jewelry, personal charm, environment, 
and audience all contribute to the pleasure or displeasure in the 
musical situation, but they are not music. Recognition of this fact 
simplifies our problem.* 

2. The sound waves are measurable, and there are only four 
variables which have musical significance: frequency, intensity, 
duration, and form. Recognition of this is a great forward leap in 
that it brings order and simplicity out of chaos and despair; 
physically, the infinite variety of musical sounds can be reduced to 
these four variables and measured in terms of them. 

3. The psychological equivalents or correlates of these char- 
acteristics of sound are pitch, loudness, time, and timbre. Rhythm, 
harmony, volume, and tone quality are compounds of these; 
thought, feeling, action, memory, and imagination are in terms of 
these. We thus obtain a basic classification of all musical 
phenomena and give each its place in the family tree with its four 
large branches: the tonal, the dynamic, the temporal, and the 

4. The correspondence between the physical fact and the mental 
fact is not entirely direct or constant; there are many illusions of 
hearing. While we describe, for example, the pitch of A conven- 
tionally and practically as having a frequency of 440 cycles per 
second (abbreviated 440 ~), which is an invariable factor, the 
experience of that pitch may vary under a large variety of condi- 
tions resulting in illusions of pitch, many of which are very interest- 
ing and of practical significance in actual music. It is a triumph 
of science, however, that we can identify, measure, and explain 
each of these illusions. Thank God for illusions! Without illusions 
there could be no musical art. 

5. The medium of musical art lies primarily in artistic devia- 
tion from the fixed and regular: from rigid pitch, uniform intensity, 
fixed rhythm, pure tone, and perfect harmony. Therefore the 

* The reader will do the author the kindness to assume that qualifying phrases could 
be added for this and other direct and categorical statements which lack of space compels 
us to make without qualifications. Such phrases as "other things being equal," "as a general 
principle," "subject to exceptions in minor detail," "in our present state of knowledge," 
etc., should be understood throughout. 


quantitative measurement of performance may be expressed in 
terms of adherence to the fixed and so-called "true," or deviation 
from it in each of the four groups of musical attributes. 

6. In each of the four categories, we have a zero point for a 
scale of measures. Thus, for pitch we may start from a standard 
tone; for intensity, from silence; for duration, from zero duration; 
and for timbre, from the pure tone. 

7. On the basis of the above considerations, we may develop a 
definable, consistent, and verifiable musical terminology. For 
example, we shall be able to say exactly what timbre is and adopt 
adequate terminology for its variants. In the same way we shall be 
asked to scrap the hundreds of loose and synonymous terms used 
to designate timbre and be enabled to use the selected term cor- 
rectly in the light of its new definition. 

8. All measurements may be represented graphically in what 
we have called the musical pattern score or performance score, 
which symbolizes the language of scientific measurement in a 
graph that has musical meaning. This score carries the three factors, 
pitch, intensity, and time. Timbre must be represented in a series 
by itself in the form of tonal spectra. 

9. Norms t)f artistic performance may be set up in terms of objec- 
tive measurement and analysis of superior performance for the pur- 
pose of evaluating achievement and indicating goals of attainment. 

10. The best performance of today can be improved upon. We 
must therefore look forward to experimental procedures to deter- 
mine ideal norms which will set up new standards of attainment, 
vastly increased resources, power and beauty in music. 

11. In the future, musical esthetics will be built upon the bases 
of scientific measurement and experimental analysis. With modern 
means of measurement, any advocated theories may be put to the 
acid test. 

12. Where there is no experiment, direct or indirect, there is no 
science. Science, by virtue of its adherence to minute detail, is 
always fragmentary and incomplete. Its findings must always be 
supplemented by practical intuition, common sense, and sound 
philosophical theories of the art. Science deals with selected topics. 
The musician must deal with the situation as a whole with the 
means at his command. 

There is an important scientific approach in the clinical field; 
for music may have marked therapeutic value. Clinical psychology 


of music will draw upon psychiatry, sociology, criminology, and 
education for scientific principles. But the field is yet quite un- 
worked. Van de Wall's Music in Institutions 20 * furnishes a good 
introduction to this subject and contains a full bibliography. 

13. Musical talent may be measured and analyzed in terms of a 
hierarchy of talents as related to the total personality, the musical 
medium, the extent of proposed training, and the object to be 
served in the musical pursuit. 

14. For musical guidance on the basis of scientific measure- 
ment, the application must be restricted to the factors measured; 
but it should be supplemented by an adequate audition, case 
history, and consideration of personality traits and avenues for 
achievement. All musical guidance should be tempered by the 
recognition of the extraordinary resourcefulness of the human 
organism and the vast variety of the possible musical outlets for 

15. Successful performance rests upon the mastery of funda- 
mental skills which may be isolated and acquired as specific habits; 
but in artistic performance, these skills should be integrated so that 
in the musical mood there is no consciousness of habits, skills, or 
techniques as such. 

16. To facilitate the acquisition of musical skills, objective 
instrumental aids may be used to great advantage, for both 
economy of time and precision of achievement. Among such aids 
are visual projection or quantitative indication of pitch, intensity, 
time, and timbre at the moment the tone is produced. 

17. In the coming electrical organs, pianos, and other instru- 
ments, and in the criticism which all instruments will be subjected 
to as a result of the possibility of measurement, future progress 
will depend upon the adoption of the scientific point of view and 
the utilization of measurement. We are on the frontier of a new 
music. With the application of science, the composer will be set new 
tasks and given new opportunities; the performer will constantly be 
facing new problems; the listener will always be expecting some- 
thing new. 

18. If the pedagogy of music in the public schools is to keep 
pace with the pedagogy of all the other subjects, it must frankly 
face and adopt the scientific point of view. Music will have its 
first scientific approaches in the public schools rather than in the 
private studios or conservatories. 


19. The psychology of music is ultimately not a thing in itself. 
In employing a technique peculiar to that field, one must fall back 
upon a general grounding in psychology. After all, the laws of sensa- 
tion, perception, learning, thinking, feeling, and action in general 
need only be specifically adapted to the demands of the musical 

20. While the cold details of musical facts can be recorded and 
organized by a mere psychologist, validity and interpretation de- 
pend upon an intimate knowledge of music and feeling for it. The 
applied science will progress at its best when the musician can set 
the problem in compliance with the criteria enumerated above for 
scientific experiment. 



THE vibrato is the most important of all musical ornaments, both 
in voice and in instrument.* It is the most important because 
it occurs in practically all the tones of artistic singing and in 
sustained tones of various instruments; because, of all orna- 
ments, it produces the most significant changes in tone quality; 
and because it is the factor on which artistic singing and playing are 
most frequently judged, whether the factor is consciously recog- 
nized as vibrato or not. 


Definition. A good vibrato is a pulsation of pitch, usually 
accompanied with synchronous pulsations of loudness and timbre, 
of such extent and rate as to give a pleasing flexibility, tenderness, 
and richness to the tone. 

* The purpose of this chapter is to give a single sustained illustration of the sort of 
facts which can be ascertained about any musical phenomenon taken into the psychological 
laboratory-studio for experiment. It is based upon the author's Psychology of the 
Vibrato in Voice and Instrument. IM The mass of statements represents the principal con- 
clusions reached in that book and the volume of studies, The Vibrato, 119 on which it was 
based. This chapter will make heavy reading because all of the detailed descriptions and 
illustrations in the original are omitted. The interested student will turn to the original for 
deeper satisfaction. 

Fifteen years ago, practically none of the facts here cited was known. The vibrato was 
a bone of contention, grossly misunderstood and misinterpreted. The reader may judge for 
himself whether or not the present presentation of findings constitutes a fair sample of the 
science of a musical phenomenon. While every item in this chapter is based upon experiment 
and is verifiable, the condensation and abbreviation of findings necessarily calls for limita- 
tions, qualifications, and explanations which can only be given in a fuller treatment. The 
chapter should not be read as a story, but item for item, with time for reflection. 



In general, we may say that a bad vibrato is any periodic pulsa- 
tion of pitch, loudness, or timbre which, singly or in combination, 
fails to produce pleasing flexibility, tenderness, and richness of 
tone. Likewise, if we desire a generic definition of all vibratos, we 
might say that the vibrato in music is a periodic pulsation of pitch, 
loudness, or timbre, singly or in combination. In quantitative terms 
of these factors, any particular vibrato may be discussed 

An experiment. To prepare for an actual and effective apprecia- 
tion of the magnitude, the universality, and the complication of the 
vibrato in good music, let the reader perform the following experi- 
ment at this stage: Select the most beautiful song you have avail- 
able on a phonograph record and play it once, listening critically for 
the vibrato. Then slow down the phonograph turntable to about 30 
or 40 revolutions per minute and observe that: (1) these pulsations 
become shockingly bold; (2) they are present in every note; (3) 
there is a confusion of pitch, loudness, and timbre; (4) the slow rate 
makes the vibrato very ugly. 


Figure 1, from Harold Seashore, 155 is an example of the musical 
performance score. It is explained as follows: The pitch frequency 
of each note is designated by a graph. The wave in that graph on 
each note represents the pitch vibrato based on very precise meas- 
urement. Each vertical space for the pitch graph represents a half- 
tone step. Thus it will be seen that, while the extent of the pitch 
pulsation varies from note to note, the average for the whole song 
is about a semitone. In order to identify the graph, each note from 
the conventional musical staff is interpolated at the point at which 
the tone begins. The duration of the tone is indicated by the vertical 
bars which mark off seconds and by the dots and dashes which 
mark tenths of a second. 

The loudness or intensity changes are indicated in terms of 
decibels. In this staff, one vertical space designates 4 db of 
intensity; zero is taken as the softest tone which is heard in the 
song. Thus, the first note comes in very softly and rises to 16 db 
during the first second, remains around 16 db in the second second, 
then goes up to 20 db in the third, and 22 db in the fourth. The main 
thing to bear in mind is that, as the curve rises, the intensity 
increases. Pauses are indicated by the drop in the intensity curve. 



This score contains a vast amount of information about the 
character of the rendition of this song, but let us here consider 
only what it shows about the vibrato. To aid the reader, a series of 

FIG. 1. The Bach-Gounod /lt^ Maria as sung by Herald Stark. (From H Seashore. 1 ) 
Frequency (pitch) is represented by a graph for each note on a semitone staff, intensity, 
by the lower parallel graph in a decibel scale; and duration by dots in tenths of a second. 
Measures are numbered at the bottom of the btaff for ready reference. 

statements are made with the suggestion that for each one he turn 
to the score and verify the statement. 

1. The pitch vibrato is present in every tone throughout the song, whether 
the tone is long or short, high or low, weak or strong. 

2. It is present in the portamentos of the legato rendition and in the attacks 
and releases of the tones. 

3. The pitch extent, that is, the width of the pulsation of pitch, averages 
about a semitone. 

4. The rate of the vibrato cycles averages about 6.5 pulsations per second. 






. ---- 


*". " ft* 

FIG. 1. (Continued). 


5. The form of the pitch pulsation is fairly smooth and constant, approxi- 
mately that of a sine curve. 


FIG. 1. (Continued}. 

6. The extent of the pulsation of pitch is fairly constant and regular. 

7. The rate of pulsation in pitch is fairly constant. 

8. An intensity vibrato, though very small and often insignificant, is observ- 
able about one-third of the time. 



9. The intensity vibrato is weak and quite irregular, seldom present at the 
beginning of a tone or in transitions. 











Fia. 1. (Continued). 

10. In view of the relative weakness and infrequent occurrence of the intensity 
vibrato, it must be regarded as incidental and subordinate to the pitch vibrato, 
which is dominant. 

11. The rate of the intensity vibrato when present is about the same as for 
the pitch vibrato. 


12. The crest of a pitch wave tends to coincide with the crest of the intensity 
wave, that is, as the pitch goes up in a vibrato cycle the intensity increases, but 
this relationship is neither uniform nor regular. 

13. The mean pitch, that is, the mean between the crest and the trough of the 
vibrato cycles, coincides fairly with the true pitch. 

14. The singer did not hold any note on even or true pitch. 

15. If there is beauty in this pitch intonation it must lie in the artistic devi- 
ation from true pitch. 

Here we have a very important array of scientific facts observa- 
ble in a single song. Many of these facts are common to all singing. 
Many other specific details about vibrato are to be seen in this 
score; such as, the variation with length of tone, register, loudness, 
and vowel. 

The timbre vibrato is not shown in the score but may be de- 
duced in many respects from the pitch score. By an adequate 
selection of samples of songs arid a fair sampling of singers, we can 
build up the science of the vibrato in vocal art. 

Now turn to Fig. 3, and check to see to what extent the above 
facts apply to the singing of Lawrence Tibbett. 


A perusal of Fig. 2 will reveal the following facts about the violin 
vibrato as summarized by Small: 166 

Pitch. 1. The vibrato is present in practically all tones produced by com- 
pletely stopping the string, except in a trill. Ordinarily there is no pitch vibrato 
present when the open string is employed. 

2. The vibrato is present throughout the entire duration of the tone in 
which it is employed. 

3. As a rule, it is not present in the portamentos, although there are numer- 
ous exceptions. 

4. The form of the pitch pulsation is fairly smooth and regular, approxi- 
mating a sine curve. 

5. The rate of pitch pulsation is relatively constant about six pulsations 
per second. 

6. The extent of the pitch vibrato is about a quarter tone and is fairly con- 
stant and regular. 

7. The mean pitch of the tones tends to coincide with the pitch indicated in 
the printed score.* 

* Exception to this rule is found m what may be called "tendency notes," for which 
there are recognized reasons for augmenting or diminishing the interval. Samples of 
tendency notes are C# to G in the third measure, and B to F in the fourth measure The 
first represents both a natural tendency upward of a leading tone C# and the tendency of a 
diminished interval (here the diminished fifth) to contract. The second represents likewise 
the tendency of contraction in a diminished fifth, as well as the natural tendency of the 
fourth or subdominant step of a scale downward toward the mediant. 



8. The movement responsible for the pitch vibrato is initiated most fre- 
quently with the movement toward the bridge, and the final vibrato movement 
is most frequently toward the scroll. 



FIG. 2. Bach's Air for the G String, as played by Arnold Small. (From Small. 1 **) 
Frequency (pitch) is represented by a graph for each note on a semitone staff, intensity, 
by the lower parallel graph in a decibel scale; and duration by dots in tenths of a second. 
Measures are numbered at the bottom of the staff for ready reference. 


9. Change of bow does not interrupt the vibrato-producing movement. 
Likewise, change of finger within a single position does not interrupt the vibrato- 
producing movement. 

10. Tones devoid of vibrato occur infrequently. 

11. The extent and possibly the rate tend to diminish toward the end of a 
tone which just precedes the use of the open string. 

12. The extent of the vibrato increases with the increase of intensity of the 
tone over a large range in an extended crescendo. 

FIG. 2. (Continued). 

The trill. 1. The trill in measure 2 resembles the vibrato, but is faster (7.3 per 
second). As here employed, it begins slowly at the rate of 5 per second and 
increases in speed up to the third trill, from whence it is quite constant. 

2. The interval between the main note and the accessory note remains quite 
constant from trill to trill. 

Intensity. 1. The sustained intensity vibrato is present less than half as 
frequently as the pitch vibrato. 

2. It is present on the open string as a result of the sympathetic vibrato 
produced intentionally by appropriate fingering. 


3. It is seldom present throughout the entire duration of a tone. 

4. The rate of pulsation tends to coincide with the rate for pitch, the average 
rate for intensity being 6.27 as compared with 6.10 pulsations per second for pitch. 

5. The average extent of pulsation is 3.3 db and is quite irregular. 

6. The phase relationship between the intensity pulsation and the pitch pul- 
sation is not uniform or regular. 

7. The intensity vibrato is of secondary importance in comparison with the 
pitch vibrato. 

8. The extent of intensity pulsations due to sympathetic vibrations depends 
upon the resonance characteristics of the instrument in that they determine the 
prominence of the partials involved in the intensity pulsations. 

9. These same pulsations may be eliminated by damping the string which is 
vibrating sympathetically. 

The sympathetic vibrato. 1. The sympathetic vibrato is an intensity vibrato. 
2. It exhibits practically the same rate as all other intensity vibratos, but is 
wider in extent (5.1 db). 


The presence of the vibrato. How frequently does the vibrato oc- 
cur in the best music of today ? Among reasons for the existence of 
confusion upon this issue in musical circles are the following: the 
failure to know what the vibrato is; the fact that the vibrato can- 
not be heard by many people; the fact that it is heard as very 
much smaller than it really is; the assumption that the vibrato is 
eliminated when only the grosser and uglier forms have been 
omitted; habits of hearing in terms of tone quality rather than in 
recognition of periodic pulsations ; the fact that an even and satis- 
fying pitch, corresponding to the "true" pitch, is heard; musical 
versus analytical listening; absence of recording instruments. 

All recognized professional singers sing with a pitch vibrato in 
about 95 per cent or more of their tones. Sustained tones, short 
tones, portamentos, attacks, releases, and other forms of transi- 
tions in pitch carry the vibrato. Successful voice students and well- 
trained amateurs exhibit the vibrato about as do recognized artists. 
Primitive peoples, such as the uneducated Negro or the Indian, 
exhibit the vibrato in acceptable form when singing with genuine 
feeling. The vibrato may appear early in childhood, as soon as the 
child begins to sing naturally and with genuine feeling. Great 
singers, teachers of voice, and voice students who are opposed to 
the vibrato and profess not to use it, do exhibit it in their best 
singing. A talented student who has no vibrato may develop it to a 


very satisfactory degree in just a few lessons. Well-trained singers 
may find it difficult to produce a song or even an isolated tone 
without the use of the vibrato. Crooners and jazz performers in 
general employ the excessive vibrato ad nauseam. The vibrato fre- 
quently appears in emotional speech. The tendency today is for 



Average rate Average extent 
per second of a step 

All artists 66 48 

de Gogorza . ..78 46 

Schumann-Hemk . . 76 38 

Galli-Curci . 73 44 

Macbeth . . . 72 31 

Caruso ... . 71 47 

Rethberg . 7 49 

Martinelli . 6 9 44 

Ponselle . . 6 9 48 

Chaliapin 68 54 

Jeritza ... ... 6 8 53 

Lashanska . .68 43 

de Luca . ... 6 8 58 

Tetrazzini . 68 37 

Talley ... . 67 54 

Braslau ... . . 66 36 

Marsh 66 52 

Tibbett . . 66 55 

Crooks .... 65 47 

Gigli . . 65 57 

Rimini . 65 98 

Stark .... 65 48 

Onegin .... . . .... 64 41 

Dadmun . . . 63 46 

Seashore 63 44 

Baker .... ... 62 45 

Hackett ... 59 47 

Homer 59 51 

Kraft . . 59 59 

Thompson . . ..59 53 
In thia table from H. Statkore,"* data from Mttfetiel** are included with those o! ZX/fwi" 1 and 
//. Seaihon.M 

players on the violin, viola, and cello to use the vibrato on all 
sustained tones. The vibrato may be used in any of the band or 
orchestral instruments, but artists generally discourage it for wood- 
wind or brass instruments, except for isolated and specific effects. 
It is probable that the vibrato was present in the feelingful self- 
expression of even the most primitive speech and song. The canary 


bird which is taught to sing songs can sing with a good vibrato. 
It is the main appeal in the cooing of the dove. The vibrato is pres- 
ent in the hearty laughter of the adult and in the vigorous crying of 
the infant. 

In general, we may say that a pulsating quality of tone in the 
form of periodic rise and fall in pitch is almost universal in good 
singing, is freely imitated by instruments, notably by the string 
instruments, and frequently is present in emotional speech. 

The extent and rate of the vocal pitch vibrato. The average 
extent and rate of the pitch oscillation varies to some degree with 
the character of the song and the singer, but the figures in Table I 
represent averages for fair samples of the singers listed. The reader 
must refer to the original articles for names of selections, size of 
samples, distribution of extent and rate, and other data for each 

The average extent of the pitch pulsation for good singers is 0.5 
of a tone. This may vary among different singers from 0.3 to 1.0, or 
more, with a normal distribution. For about three-fourths of the 
singers, the extent is between 0.45 and 0.55. Each singer tends to 
have a characteristic average, but may vary from this from selec- 
tion to selection and from tone to tone. The variation of individual 
vibrato cycles from this average in acceptable vibrato may be from 
0.1 to 1.5 of a tone in a given singer. There are no marked and con- 
sistent variations with the sex of the singer, the vowel quality, the 
musical mode, the pitch level, or the loudness of the tone. For 
short tones, it is slightly wider than for long tones. The extent of 
the vibrato does not differentiate emotions expressed. 

The intensity vibrato. The intensity vibrato, both vocal and 
instrumental, is seen in the performance scores, Figs. 1, 2, and 3. 
In general, we find for singers that the intensity vibrato is present 
about one-third of the time. Ordinarily it is less conspicuous than 
the pitch vibrato, but, like the pitch vibrato, it is underestimated in 

In general, we may say that the intensity vibrato is less fre- 
quent, less regular, and less prominent perceptually than pitch 
vibrato. It is probably secondary to it, and is modified by room 
resonance. The phase relationship between the two varies widely. 

The timbre vibrato. The timbre vibrato is a periodic pulsation 
in the harmonic structure of a complex tone (see Chap. 9). Every 
periodic change of pitch of a complex tone causes a parallel periodic 


change in each of its partials. Each partial may have its own 
intensity vibrato depending in part upon the permanent resonance 
regions of the vocal cavities, and the resonance characteristics 
of the instrument or the room. The timbre vibrato is ordinarily of 
such magnitude as to make it distinctly audible to the critical ear. 

Stringed instruments. All violin artists of today employ the 
pitch vibrato on practically all stopped notes of sufficient duration 
to permit its execution. An intensity vibrato frequently occurs as a 
result of sympathetic vibration, produced either intentionally by 
fingering an unbowed string or as a result of coincidence of intervals. 
Each artist tends to have a characteristic rate which varies but 
little with emotional moods but increases with proficiency. The 
average rate is about 7, the extremes ranging from 5 to 10. The 
average pitch extent is about a quarter tone and does not vary 
significantly with emotional moods. The mean pitch of the vibrato 
cycles coincides with the true pitch except in the case of tendency 
tones, in which deviation from true pitch would be made in the 
absence of the vibrato. The rate and extent are approximately the 
same for the violin, the viola, and the cello. 

Wind instruments. The vibrato occurs in all wind instruments 
but is comparatively rare, intermittent, and irregular, probably 
owing to the difficulty of its production. In solo parts, flutists, 
clarinetists, and trumpeters often exhibit a beautiful and well- 
sustained vibrato. The intensity vibrato of the organ is used 
excessively and with monotonous uniformity, probably on account 
of the simplicity of its mechanical control by a stop. 



1. The vibrato is always heard as of very much smaller extent 
than it is in the physical tone. For example, a pulsation of a semi- 
tone is ordinarily heard as less than 0.2 of a tone. It is this illusion 
which makes the vibrato tolerable. 

The larger the pitch and intensity extent, the more it will be underestimated. 

The faster the rate, within limits, the more the extent will be underestimated. 

The richer the tone, the more the extent will be underestimated. 

For good singing, pitch extent and intensity extent are heard as a small 
fraction of their true extent. 

Instead of the full extent of the pulsation, we tend to hear only the extent of 
deviation from the main pitch or intensity. 


The end result in hearing may be higher or lower than this, depending upon 
the presence or absence of other motives for illusion. 

These reductions in the extent of hearing of pulsations tend to make the actual 
vibrato tolerable. 

2. Much of the most beautiful vibrato is below the threshold 
for vibrato hearing and is perceived merely as tone quality. Individ- 
ual differences in the capacity for hearing the vibrato are very large. 
In a normal population, one individual may be 50 or 100 times as 
keen as another in this hearing. Talent for hearing of the vibrato 
may be measured in two separate tests : (a) the capacity for hearing 
the presence of the vibrato and (6) the capacity for recognizing 
differences in vibratos. The most important factors which deter- 
mine capacity for hearing of the vibrato are the structure and 
function of the ear and the brain, knowledge of the existence of the 
vibrato and of its nature, the attitude of the listener, and favorable 
forms of the vibrato. 

In view of these large and often relatively fixed individual 
differences each individual has his own illusion, and his individual 
sense of the vibrato determines what shall be good or bad for him. 
This introduces a most serious obstacle to the efforts toward 
establishing norms for a vibrato which shall be pleasant to all 

3. Regardless of the extent of pitch, intensity, or timbre pulsa- 
tion, we always hear an even mean pitch corresponding to the true 
pitch, an even intensity and continuous timbre. 

4. In addition to the mean pitch, a trained observer may hear 
an even pitch somewhat below the crest and another somewhat 
above the trough, so that he can hear in all four distinct pitches, 
namely, a pulsating pitch, a mean pitch, the upper limit pitch, and 
the lower limit pitch, by directing attention to them in turn. 

5. The blending of pitch, intensity, and timbre vibratos. 

6. Sonance (to be explained in Chap. 9), the vibrato as an 
aspect of tone quality. 


Beauty in the vibrato is found in artistic deviation from the 
precise and uniform in all the attributes of tone. 

The vibrato is the most systematic, natural, and essential of 
musical ornaments. 


Its beauty lies in a richness of tone, flexibility of tone, and ex- 
pression of emotional instability. 

It represents the periodic changes of pitch, intensity, and timbre 
in sonance. 

Richness of tone results from successive fusion of changes of 

Flexibility of tone results from indefiniteness of outline. 

Tenderness of tone results from awareness of organic trembling. 

The genuine vibrato is automatic and expresses the truth like 
the smile and the frown. 

To cultivate the vibrato, do not cultivate a sign of feeling which 
is not present, but cultivate the power to feel music genuinely. 

The expression of feeling. Does the vibrato differentiate 
the emotions? Our answer to this question is "No." We cannot dis- 
tinguish feelings of love from hatred, attraction from repulsion, 
excitement from tranquillity, by the vibrato. The expression of all 
kinds of feeling, even the most divergent, tends to take the same 
general character of the vibrato. It reveals feeling but does not 
differentiate in kind. This finding came to us as a great surprise in 
the laboratory. 

We are therefore forced to the conclusion that, while the vibrato 
in both voice and instrument is a means for the expression of musical 
feeling of the first order, and is even essential to the expression of 
feeling, it does not differentiate among the feelings. Indeed, it is 
like an organ stop. So long as the stop is out, all tones have the 
quality represented by that stop. The vibrato merely indicates that 
we feel genuinely ; it does not reveal the degree of feeling or the kind 
of feeling. 

The desirability of the vibrato. The desirability of the vibrato 
is attested by the universality of its use, its automatic nature, its 
use in instruments, its survival in conflict with precision, and its 
place in tone quality. 


Directions are given for training the ear with the eye by listen- 
ing to a phonograph record and following the pattern score as in 
Fig. 3. This score is designed to show only the pitch vibrato. For 
each note, the upper number denotes the average extent of the 
pitch vibrato and the lower number the number of pulsations per 












ij^/W /VWV /v\^ 
^~ " 









FIG. 3. Drink to me only with thine eyes, a3 sung by Lawrence Tibbett. (Victor Record 
1238.) (II. Seashore. 1 ) For explanation of this figure, please see legend for Fig. 1. 



Directions for training in the recognition of the rate of the vibrato 
in the singing of artists. First, play the phonograph record for Fig. 
3 one or more times, and coordinate what you hear with the details 
of what you see in the performance score (Fig. 3) as to the rate of 
the pulsation. Then drill extensively on the calling out of the number 
which designates the rate the moment each tone has been heard, 
and have someone check for each whether you are right or wrong. 
Directions for training in the recognition of the vibrato in one's 
own voice. First, sing a song with a playing record in the effort to 


FIG 3. (Continued). 

determine whether or not your vibrato is larger or smaller in pitch 
extent than that of the artist. Select only sustained tones. Then 
proceed in the same manner with the same song in determining 
whether or not your rate is faster or slower than that of the artist. 
The same procedure may be applied to the study of the extent of 
the pulsation. 

There are three stages in the development of good vibrato 
through training. The first is the acquisition of scientific informa- 
tion and critical artistic appreciation of the true nature of the 
vibrato. The second is the training of the ear to acquire skills in 
critical hearing and judgment of performance. The third is the de- 
velopment of corrective adjustment. 



As aids to the hearing, the evaluation and execution of a good 
vibrato, and the eradication of bad vibratos, the following contribu- 
tions have been made: 

1. Definition, description, and explanation of the true nature 
of the vibrato as an aspect of tone quality. 

2. The invention of instruments of precision and technique for 
the adequate qualitative as well as quantitative measurement of 
the vibrato in any and all of its possible manifestations in the nor- 
mal and actual musical situation. 

3. The construction of a " language of the vibrato " by furnish- 
ing a consistent and adequate terminology and eliminating all 
redundant terminology which has grown up topsy-turvy in an 
unscientific atmosphere. 

4. The development of the musical performance score, which 
enables us to represent graphically and with musical meaning all 
findings of exact observation and measurement. 

5. A statistical survey of actual uses and abuses of the vibrato 
by accepted artists and other groups. 

6. The beginnings of the factual array of the vast variety of 
modes of production of the vibrato, in both voice and instrument, 
with assignment of probable consequences. 

7. The analysis of the affective values which the vibrato 
engenders in the beautiful and feelingful tone. 

8. The discovery of the astounding difference between the 
actual vibrato as it exists in the physical tone and the vibrato as it 
is heard in the musical situation. 

9. The explanation of some of the vast number of illusions 
which contribute toward the tolerance, beauty, or ugliness of the 

10. The determination of the limits of tolerance and the range 
of variability of rate and extent of the vibrato. 

11. The isolation of the roles of pitch, intensity, and timbre as 
the media of pulsation, singly or in combination. 

12. The exposure of the vibrato as militant against correct 
intonation, interval, melody, harmony, rhythm, and pure tone. 

13. The explanation of the hearing of an even pitch, intensity, 
and timbre in the fact of the flagrant absence of these in the 
physical tone. 


14. The tracing of the origin of the vibrato and its genetic 
development as a biological fact. 

15. The provision of training devices for the effective hearing, 
rating, and evaluation of vibrato in one's own performance or the 
performance of another. 

16. Suggestions for training and adjustment in its control. 

17. The invention of tone integrators and other instruments by 
which any conceivable form of vibrato may be produced syn- 
thetically for experimental purposes. 

18. Suggestions and procedure in the experimental musical 
esthetics for the purpose of determining ideals of vibrato in defina- 
ble situations. 

19. Demonstration of the fact that the vibrato does not dif- 
ferentiate particular feelings such as love and rage, quiescence or 

20. The establishment of the probability that we are here 
dealing with a physiological rhythm, present not only in man but 
also in the higher animals whenever paired muscles are innervated 
under emotional tension. 

These scientifically established facts are in contrast with ex- 
pressed opinions of musical authorities. 


The most desirable average extent of pitch, intensity, and 
timbre, singly or in combination, is that which produces flexibility, 
tenderness, and richness of tone, without giving prominence to 
the pulsating quality as such. 

Freedom from irregularity in extent is essential to a good 

An extent of the pulsation smaller than that first defined fails, in 
proportion to its smallness, to contribute toward the betterment 
of tone quality. 

The most desirable average rate is that which causes the best 
fusion of tone quality in sonance, without producing a chattering 
through excessive rate. 

In vocal vibrato the pulsations in pitch should be primary and 

The combination of synchronous pulsations in the three media 
ordinarily makes a larger contribution toward tone quality than its 
occurrence in one or two. 


In instrumental music relatively pure intensity pulsation is 
permissible, as in organ stops and in the use of beats within a 
region of tolerance for rate. 

Artistic performance demands variation in extent and rate 
throughout a performance. 

In solo parts, both vocal and instrumental, the artist has larger 
latitude for giving prominence to the vibrato than he has in 

The more nearly alike the timbres of the instruments within an 
orchestral choir, the greater may be the demand for the vibrato in 
that choir. 

However, an ideal vibrato which can be gradually developed 
through musical criticism and musical education will probably 
be smooth in variations of rate and extent, will have a cycle which 
approaches the perfect sine curve, will probably be one cycle per 
second faster than the present, will have a higher artistic variabil- 
ity, will be adapted to solo and ensemble performances, will have a 
pitch extent of approximately one-half of the present average for 
voice, and will probably be present in all tones and transitions ex- 
cept where the nonvibrato is used for specific effects. 

If this should come true, largely as the result of scientific 
investigations, one might well ask, "What is it worth?" And this 
question we can answer only by asking other questions : How would 
it affect musical theory ? How would it facilitate musical training ? 
How would it affect musical criticism? How much sweeter would 
music be to the listener ? 



PITCH is that qualitative attribute of auditory sensation which 
denotes highness or lowness in the musical scale and is condi- 
tioned primarily on the frequency of sound waves. 

We note in this definition (1) that pitch is one of the four at- 
tributes of tonal sensation, and that it is qualitative in that it 
designates the kind of sensation, thus distinguishing sensations of 
tone from the other sensory modalities, such as color, odor, and 
taste; (2) that it denotes highness or lowness in the tonal continuum 
along which we locate the musical scale; and (3) that it is the mental 
and musical correlate of the frequency of the vibrations which 
constitute the physical tone. 

While all music is objectively due to physical sound waves, 
we must bear in mind that we can never be directly aware of the 
rate of vibration as such, for we hear it as musical pitch. This is 
one of the wondrous transformations "from matter to mind. 5 ' 
Out of mere vibration is built a world of musical tones which do 
not in themselves suggest vibration at all. Yet the human ear 
may be so keen as to detect in nature a difference of a fraction of 
a vibration in frequency. It is fortunate that we can live in a 
world of music without thinking at all of the physical counter- 
part; still, for the science of music and for the study of musical 
talent, such reference is necessary. 

The ear is a most wonderful mechanism with its membranes, 
levers, and liquid conductors carrying the vibration to the 
harp structure, its means of analysis of all pitches in that 
structure, and its means of transmission of each pitch over 



its particular line to the brain. We cannot here undertake to 
discuss the structure of the ear, its physiology, and the numerous 
technical problems or theories of hearing. The reader who is 
interested in this phase of the subject must turn to books on the 
anatomy and physiology of the ear. But, for psychological pur- 
poses, it is necessary to make certain assumptions, of which the 
essential one is that there is a pitch-differentiating mechanism in 
the ear, capable of serving as a physical basis for the sensory 
phenomena with which we deal in the psychology of hearing; 
namely, pitch, loudness, timbre, volume, fusion, and consonance, 
and their derivatives or variants. For pitch, the harp theory 
furnishes at least a good analogy. Seashore. 131 


Lower limit. The lower limit of pitch is that frequency which 
gives us the lowest sensation of tone. The lowest audible tone is 
usually said to be about 16 ~, but it varies with a large number of 
factors. There are two primary factors that determine the lower 
limit, the strength or intensity of the sound wave, and its form. 
If low tones are to be heard at all they must be relatively very 
strong. Therefore, the lower limit will vary with the intensity of the 
tone within a very wide range. The most favorable form of the 
wave is that smooth curve which gives us a pure tone. Under most 
favorable conditions, a good listener can get tonal fusion as low as 
12 ~, whereas if the wave comes in the form of more and more 
acute puffs, as, in an extreme case, the sound waves coming from 
electrical sparks, the lower limit of tonality may be as high as 100 ~. 

Upper limit. The average upper limit for an unselected group 
under the age of forty is probably about 1 6,000 ~, but this limit 
varies greatly with a number of important conditions, such as 
advanced age, and various types of defects and diseases of the 
inner ear. Even in the so-called "normal" ear, there are very large 
individual differences in the upper limit. These differences may have 
far-reaching significance for the character of what one hears. 
Reliable measurements still are not available for determination 
of the upper limit under the most favorable conditions and in 
sufficient detail for classification of types. It seems possible that 
the upper limit for human hearing in youth may rise to the height 
of 25,000 ~ in the most sensitive ear under the most favorable 
conditions. Yet, many people with apparently normal hearing can- 
not hear above 5,000 ~. In an unselected population, there is 


probably a large percentage of persons who cannot hear tones above 

The average frequency in the chirp of a cricket is about 8,000 ~, 
but cricket tones as high as 32,000 have been recorded. Certain 
birds are also known to produce tones higher than those produced 
by voice or musical instruments. It is probable that such animals, 
capable of producing high tones, can hear tones at least as high as 
those they produce. 

Sounds in nature as high as 40,000 have been recorded and 
artificially produced. Supersonic frequencies have been recorded as 
high as 2,000,000. In brief, we are living in a world in which 
physical tones may exist within a very wide range, but each human 
being or animal can hear only a short section of these frequencies 
because the limits of audible tones for man or animal are set by the 
character of the receiving instrument, the ear. This normal limita- 
tion of the pitch range is a great blessing, in that it saves us from 
bombardment by the masses of higher frequency in nature which 
would serve but little purpose in auditory orientation. 

Decline of the upper limit with age and disease. When Madam 
Gadski and her daughter were visiting the psychological laboratory, 
we tested them for upper limit of hearing and found that the famous 
prima donna could not hear any tone or overtone above 12,000 ', 
whereas the young daughter could hear up to about 20,000. 
This was a shocking discovery for the mother, but certainly no 
discredit to her as a musician. The simple explanation was that the 
mother was older. The upper limit of hearing suffers a normal and 
predictable drop owing to the fact that, as age comes on, the highest 
pitch mechanisms in the ear progressively become nonfunctional. 
Since this loss is a function of the intensity of the sound, further 
consideration of this matter will occur under that head. 


The ability to hear small differences in pitch is called "pitch 
discrimination" and determines what is generally called the "sense of 
pitch." It is a measure of the capacity for using pitch in musical 
hearing and tone production. We shall use interchangeably the 
terms "pitch discrimination" and "sense of pitch."* 

* The sense of pitch, pitch discrimination, sensory discrimination for pitch, threshold 
of pitch discrimination, differential pitch hearing are all more or less synonymous terms. 
It is usually abbreviated as Af. 


Measurement. Pitch discrimination is measured by sounding 
two pure tones in quick succession and gradually reducing the 
difference in frequency until the observer is unable to tell which of 
the two tones is the higher. The steps usually employed in such a 
series are 30, 23, 17, 12, 8, 5, 3, 2, 1, 0.5 ~, at the level of interna- 
tional A, 435^. The standard procedure has been to use tuning 
forks with resonators, but various forms of electrical oscillators 
are now available and more convenient.* 

For group measurements, the test material from the best avail- 
able instruments is recorded on a phonograph record which is 
economical, standard, durable, and relatively foolproof in use. 

There are two fundamental methods of procedure. One is to 
begin with the smallest differential and take about 100 trials on 
each step up to the step in which 80 per cent of the answers are 
right. This step is regarded as the threshold of pitch discrimination, 
which is a measure of the sense of pitch. This is the best method 
to use in individual testing. The other method, better adapted for 
group testing, is to take a block of the 10 steps named above, mak- 
ing 10 trials for each step, and, using the 10 units as a single block, 
determining what per cent of right judgments can be made in all 
of these 100 trials as a block. This is the method used in the 
phonograph record. 125 

Norms. On the basis of thousands of trials by the above method, 
norms have been established in terms of centile rank. This method 
is convenient in that the same scale can be used for all kinds of 
measurements that are made and for which sufficient data are 
available to determine norms. According to the scale, rank 50 
means average, rank 1, the lowest or poorest 1 per cent found, and 
rank 100, the highest 1 per cent found, intervening ranks being 
proportional to the numbers. 

The average threshold for an unselected group of adults is 
about 3~ at the level of international pitch, 435 ~. This is % 7 of a 
tone, but a very sensitive ear can hear as small a difference as 
0.5 ~ or less, which, at this level, is less than 0.01 of a tone. Some 
persons who pass in a community as having normal hearing may not 

* These tuning forks with resonators may be obtained from the C. H. Stocking Com- 
pany, Chicago, but anyone desiring to do so can take forks of 485^ or 440~ and tune 
them by filing near the tip of the prongs and counting beats. Resonators may also be 
improvised by partly filling a half-pint cream bottle with water until it " speaks" to the 
fork. For a full account of the standardization of this measurement see Seashore. 1 * 1 


be able to hear a half-tone or even a whole-tone difference. In ex- 
treme cases we may have pitch deafness. 

Stucker 1 ** examined the discrimination of 16 professional 
musicians in the Royal Opera in Vienna and found that for A 3 in 
international pitch, they had the following thresholds in terms of 
vibrations: 0.1, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.3, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.5, 0.6, 0.8, 0.8, 0.9, 
0.9, 1.1, 1.1. At this level one whole-tone step represents 54~. 
Therefore, the keenest of these musicians could hear )ls4o of a tone, 
and the poorest ^9 of a tone. These exceptionally fine records are 
not to be attributed significantly to training. They are probably due 
primarily to the principle of selection, in that persons with unusu- 
ally fine ears have sought and received this high order of training 
and recognition. 

Physiological limit. The physiological limit of any sense organ 
is that limit for sensation and perception which is set by the struc- 
ture of the sense organ and the brain. In measurements of this 
kind we do not always reach this limit but attain what is called a 
cognitive limit of discrimination. A good test in the hands of an 
expert may properly establish the physiological limit of pitch dis- 
crimination in the first trial for a majority of the subjects in a group 
test, whereas in an individual test the physiological limit may be 
determined with a high degree of certainty for practically all. 
The difference between these two limits, the physiological and the 
cognitive, is an indication of the uncertainty and the unreliability 
of a test. It usually is due to a lack of understanding of the test 
requirements, or a lack of mental development, or of good will, or of 
general power of application on the part of the subject tested. This 
margin may be reduced or eliminated by a repetition and by indi- 
vidual testing by an expert. 

Relation to intelligence. The physiological limit for the sense of 
pitch does not vary significantly with intelligence. The moron may 
have as keen a sense of pitch as the philosopher. Measurements on 
children and adults in which pitch discrimination is compared with 
intelligence show no significant correlation. The slight correlation 
that is found is due primarily to lack of the capacity for under- 
standing the test conditions and not to the capacity for pitch hear- 
ing as such. 

There are three significant issues with which we must not con- 
fuse this negative finding about intelligence: (1) It has no bearing 
upon the opprobrious question often heard, "Are musicians 


dumb?'' We have no evidence to show that the distribution of 
intelligence among musicians differs from the distribution in an 
unselected population. Our best guess is that the distribution is 
approximately the same. The common observation that musicians 
live more in the realm of feeling proves nothing in regard to the 
distribution of the capacity for intelligence. There also may be such 
a thing as a f eelingf ul intelligence. (2) It does not imply that intelli- 
gence is not essential to a high degree of musicianship. Music is a 
learned occupation. Like lawyers and physicians, the musician must 
show a high order of intelligence in order to gain professional 
distinction. (3) It does not depreciate the necessity for employing 
intelligence in the use of pitch in all phases of musical performance. 

Relation to age. In the absence of disease, the physiological 
limit for the sense of pitch does not vary with age. A standard group 
test can be made on children as low as the fifth grade. The average 
achievement of children in the grades is not so high as for adults. 
As we have seen, there are different age norms. The reason for this 
lies, of course, in the relative cognitive immaturity and not in the 
capacity of the sense organ. However, an expert working with 
intelligent children may reach this limit in individual tests as early 
as at the age of five. 

It seems probable that just as the physical eye of the child at the 
age of three is as keen as it ever will be, so the pitch sensitiveness in 
the ear probably reaches its maximum very early. Development in 
the use of the sense of pitch with maturation consists in acquiring 
habits and meanings, interests, desires, and musical knowledge, 
rather than in the improvement of the sense organ. 

Relation to training. The physiological limit for hearing pitch 
does not improve with training. Training, like maturation, results in 
the conscious recognition of the nature of pitch, its meaning, and 
the development of habits of use in musical operations. Training 
probably does not modify the capacity of the sense organ any more 
than the playing of the good violin may improve the quality of its 

Fortunes have been spent and thousands of young lives have 
been made wretched by application of the theory that the sense 
of pitch can be improved with training. It is the cause of the out- 
standing tragedy in musical education. On the other hand, ear 
training is one of the most neglected elements of musical education. 
However good the sense of pitch may be, it demands training in 


proportion to the natural capacity in this sense. The training is 
significant not only for the appreciation of "pitch play'* in music, 
but even more significant for the control of performance. The 
trouble with flatting, -slovenly intonation, inability to sing inter- 
vals, poor timbre control of voice or instrument by a person with 
a good sense of _p itch, may Ibe a slovenly ear, an uncritical ear, or an 
untrained ear, not motor 6F muscular trouble. 

Limit elemental. The physiological limit is elemental in the 
sense that it indicates a specific capacity in one sense attribute 
which is relatively independent of intelligence, age, and training. 
It is a moot question whether any psychophysical capacity can be 
elemental, in view of the fact that a certain amount of knowledge 
and experience is necessary in order to make the test. It is probable 
that in this particular measurement of pitch discrimination we come 
as near to securing an elemental measure as can be found in any 
of the senses. However, we must always bear in mind the possibility 
and probability that we may be dealing with the cognitive limit 
instead of the physiological one. Nevertheless the concept is a use- 
ful one. We should not think of the physiological limit as fixed, 
because within a small range it in itself can vary with factors which 
either raise or lower the functions of the nervous system, such as 
fatigue, rest, the action of either depressive or stimulative drugs, or 

Inheritance. There is good evidence to show that a musical ear, 
by which we mean primarily an ear with good sense of pitch, is 
inherited to considerable extent and that with this inheritance 
follows variability in the tonal capacities which depend upon pitch 
discrimination, such as tonal memory, the sense of timbre, the sense 
of consonance, and auditory imagery. This topic will be discussed in 
a later chapter. 

Frequency level and sensation level. Pitch discrimination varies 
in a systematic manner with the frequency within the tonal range 
and with the intensity of the tone. This is shown graphically in Fig. 
1. In brief, the figure shows that (1) pitch discrimination is poorest 
for low tones and best above 1,000~; (2) this variation with fre- 
quency holds for all sensation levels from 5 to 60 db; and (3) it is 
keener for strong tones than for weak. 

Figure 1 is based upon measurements with pure tones. It is well 
known that discrimination is finer for rich tones. It varies with both 
degree and kind of richness. 



Number of just -noticeable differences. How many differences 
in pitch can the average person hear? This is determined by start- 
ing with the lowest audible pitch and proceeding step by step in 
terms of just-noticeable differences (j.n.d.). Figure 2 is a typical 
record. It has been found that the average ear can hear approxi- 







E 0.01 






125 250 500 1000 2000 4000 600011,700 
Frequency, f 

FIG. 1. Variation with frequency level and sensation level. The numbers at the bottom 
denote frequency; at the side, the increment in per cent of frequency. The numbers within 
the figure denote sensation level, that is, number of db above the threshold of audibility. 
For example, for the frequency of 125-^', the increment must be 6 per cent for a 5 db tone, 4 
per cent for a 10 db tone, and between 2 and 3 per cent for 20, 40, and 60 db tones, respec- 
tively. (Shower and Biddulph. 161 ) 

In music it is helpful to think of the data in Fig. 1 in terms of fractions of a tone rather 
than in terms of per cent of the fundamental frequency. Since a whole-tone step is 9/8 of 

the fundamental frequency f -v J i we may convert the figures at the left of the table into 

hundredths of a whole-tone step by multiplying each by 8. These numbers would then 
read, from top downward: 0.56, 0.48, 0.40, 0.32, 0.24, 0.16, and 0.80. 

mately 1,400 steps of difference in pitch of a medium-loud pure 
tone. However, it must be remembered that this is an average 
figure and that this number varies with several factors, among 
which four are outstanding: (1) individual differences one person 
may hear more than a hundred times as many pitch differences as 
another; (2) intensity more steps in pitch can be heard in strong 
tones than in weak tones; (3) duration the most favorable dis- 
crimination occurs when there is an abrupt transition from one 



pitch to the next within a tone; (4) timbre more steps in pitch can 
be heard for rich tones than for pure tones. This concept of the 
number of perceptible steps in pitch is a very important one because 
it is an index of the extent to which hearing differences function in 
daily life. 

Binaural versus monaural discrimination. Binaural is finer than 
monaural discrimination by about 10 per cent for most musical 
tones. The difference decreases gradually to about 2 per cent for 
tones at or above 500^. 

Duration. There are three types of musical situations which may 
be recognized in the measurement of pitch discrimination: (1) going 

fb t?oo 




-2j woo 





v coo 








6 3 



.^ -^ 



2 125 2. 

K> 500 10 



OO 2000 40 

c, | 

00 80 

00 ( 


FIG. 2. A scale of just perceptibly different pitch steps (j n d ). (Lewis. 77 ) 

from one note to another with a complete break between them, as 
in the standard test where we sound two notes, each of which is one 
second in duration but differing in pitch and separated by a very 
short interval of time; (2) legato rise or fall in pitch or pitch vibrato; 
and (3) sudden shift in a single note without break in tone, as in 
erratic intonation. 

The discrimination is different for each of these three, the neces- 
sary increment being about twice as large for the first type as the 
third, and the second falling between these two. These differences 
are related to the differences in total duration of each tone. 

The minimum duration necessary in order to identify the pitch 
of a tone clearly varies with the frequency and to some extent with 


the loudness. It has been found that in order to be heard clearly as 
of definite pitch, a tone at 128 ~ must have a duration of 0.09 
second; for 256 ~, about 0.07 second; for 384 ~, about 0.04 second; 
and for 512 ~, about the same. 

Masking. The damping of one tone by another is called "mask- 
ing." This is due to interference of vibrations in the basilar 
membrane of the inner ear. A low pure tone tends to "drown out" 
a higher tone of any frequency, but a high tone has but little effect 
upon a lower tone. It is much easier to talk or sing against high 
noises than against noises of low frequency. The low partials in a 
rich tone tend to dampen the higher partials. Therefore, as a piano 
tone is made stronger and stronger, the timbre of the tone changes 
because the low partials become more and more effective in drown- 
ing out the higher partials. 

This is a phenomenon which plays an exceedingly important 
role in the determination of tone quality. In the past the artistic 
composer and performer have taken facts of this kind .into account 
more or less intuitively, but experiments by Fletcher* 1 have estab- 
lished definite laws of masking which now can guide the composer in 
producing certain effects. Stewart 1 ** gives a good account for musi- 
cians. Likewise, these laws guide the performer in the modifying of 
tone quality by control of intensity and in the balancing of chords 
for the same purpose, with knowledge of masking effects. 



(The term "absolute pitch" is used with various meanings. 
It is common practice to say that a person has absolute pitch if he 
can name instantly any key that is struck on the piano. This capac- 
ity is rather common) The term probably should be restricted to 
possession of the ability to identify tones by much smaller steps 
than those of the musical scale, for example, from 0.01 to 0.1 of a 
tone. If the violinist is right when he says, for example, that a 
given violin is tuned 0.05 of a tone above international pitch, or any 
other recognized standard, without having had any chance for 
comparing the tone to any audible standard of reference, then he 
has absolute pitch. Such capacity is very rare. The possession of 
absolute pitch to any degree is a safe guarantee of a good sense of 
pitch and of ear-mindednessv 

To measure absolute pitch, it is necessary to make only one 
trial at a time and to make that just after waking up and before 


any comparison of tone has been heardJThe measurement can be 
made by a series of tuning forks differing in small steps as in the 
discrimination test. It is generally believed that the musical ear 
acquires a standard reference tone, perhaps C 3 or A 3 , and that any 
tone that is sounded in the musical continuum is placed with refer- 
ence to that in the musical scale. That answers the question as to 
how it is possible to identify all the audible tones. A more important 
question pertains to the basis of the reference tone. It is quite 
generally agreed that the identification is not only in terms of pitch, 
but also in part in terms of timbre or tone quality, particularly in 
relation to a similar instrument. 


Since pitch is the fundamental character of a tone, and pitch 
discrimination is a measure of the capacity of this sense, it ordi- 
narily may be regarded as the most basic measure of musical 
capacity that we have. It determines not only what we shall hear, 
but fundamentally what we shall remember, imagine, and think, 
and, most important of all, it determines in large part what emo- 
tional reaction we shall have for the tone. These differences, often 
enormously large, must therefore be taken into account in selection 
and guidance for musical education, in musical criticism, in choice 
of instruments, and in judgment concerning extraordinary capacity 
or incapacity, for musical purposes. 


"Things are not what they seem." As was pointed out in Chap. 
2, the ratio of 1 : 1 between the physical fact, such as frequency, 
and the mental fact, pitch, is not always exact. Thus 440 ~ does not 
mean always the same pitch. The pitch would vary in predictable 
ways with differences in intensity, duration, and harmonic constitu- 
tion of the tone, that is, with amplitude, duration, and form of the 
sound wave. In a predictable way, we speak of the deviation as a 
normal illusion. An illusion is said to be normal when all persons 
under similar circumstances tend to get the same result. It is called 
illusion because the perception does not correspond to the physical 
object to which it refers. The illusory perception is always positive; 
that is, it represents a genuine perception and may be just as strong 
and clear as the perception in which no illusions are involved. The 
normal illusions often represent short cuts to meaning and an 


economy in our response to nature and art. A single illusion may be 
due to half a dozen causes or motives, some cooperative and some 
inhibiting. Since illusions are measurable and play a very important 
role in our hearing and rendition of music, the future psychology of 
music will be expected to state the fundamental laws of illusion of 
pitch as well as other sensory characteristics. 

A beautiful example of the measurement of illusion of pitch due 
to the varying of the intensity of the tone has been made recently 
by Fletcher. Indeed, his measurements reveal several normal illu- 
sions of pitch governing the relation of pitch to intensity. The 
reader who is interested in good examples of law in illusion of tone 
should consult this authority. 

In general it has been found that tones having frequencies 
below 2,000^ become lower in pitch while those having frequencies 
above this level become higher when the intensity of a pure tone 
is increased. 

Three general problems were suggested by his experiment. (1) 
Would the same be true of rich tones? It was found that for rich 
tones, such as violin tones, the illusion is only one-fifth as large as 
for pure tones. (2) Will two such tones of different intensity sound 
discordant when produced together? It was found that they will 
not. (3) Does the violinist make correction for these illusions in his 
playing of intervals? Lewis and Cowan 7 * conducted a series of 
experiments on this and found that he does not. Knowledge of this 
illusion, is, of course, of very great interest and significance to the 
musician, and it explains many of the well-known inconsistencies 
between pitch and frequency. 

Six illusions were illustrated in Chap. 4. The entire field of 
"subjective tones" falls largely within the realm of normal illusion. 


A very large number of the tones which play leading roles in 
music are purely subjective; that is, the frequencies represented are 
not present in the physical tone but are supplied by the individual 
in hearing. When two or more tones are sounded together, the 
trained listener can hear not only these two generators but a con- 

* The content of the remainder of this chapter overlaps with Chap. 8. Therefore, 
those readers to whom this material is new will do well to coordinate the reading of thia 
ection with that chapter. 


siderable number of subjective tones which may be quite conspicu- 
ous and always play a very important role in music. In order to 
illustrate the character of subjective tones, we shall draw upon the 
following experiment. 

A subjective-tone experiment. Wegel and Lane 211 devised a very 
fine illustration of the existence of four kinds of subjective tones. 
They used two strong pure generating tones. To detect the presence 
of subjective tones, they employed an "exploring tone" which 
could be varied through a large range of frequencies. This could 
be set so as to differ 1 or 2~ from a theoretical subjective tone. If 



(Adapted from Wegel and Lane* 11 ) 

1. 600 (B - A) 

2. 200 (*A - B) ; 900 (3 A - B) ; 1,700 (2B - A); 
1,000 (2 - 2,4); 2,900 (35 - A) 

3. 1,900 (A + B) 

4. 2,600 CU -f B) ; 3,800 (2,4 -f SB), 3,100 (A + 2B); 
4,300 (A + 3#) ; 3,300 (SA + B) 

6. 1,400 (*A) ; 2,100 (3,4) ; 2,800 (4,4) 

6. 2,400 (2) ; 3,600 (3B) 

1. First difference tone 

2. Other difference tones 

3. First summation tone 

4. Other summation tones 

5. Harmonics of the lower generating tone 

6. Harmonics of the higher generating tone 

the subjective tone was sufficiently loud, it would beat with the 
exploring tone. 

This was a very simple and strategic device for the securing of 
objective evidence for the existence and location of subjective 
tones. Naturally many of the weaker subjective tones would be too 
faint to cause a perceptible beat, but a sufficient number of them 
were strong enough to present a most formidable array of the sub- 
jective tones that can occur in such a simple situation. 

They used two pure tones, 700 and 1,200^^, each 80 db above a 
standard, as generators. Let us call the first A and the second B. 
These tones were sounded together and a search was made through- 
out the audible range for subjective tones which would beat with 
the exploring tone. The location of these was, of course, predictable 
according to theory. By this method they were able to demonstrate 
that, in this two-clang combination, 17 subjective tones were pres- 


ent and sufficiently loud to cause beats. The results are expressed 
in Table I, which is very illuminating and helpful in the classifica- 
tion of these phenomena. The black-faced numbers denote the 
pitch of each of the 17 subjective tones recorded. The structure of 
each tone may be seen at a glance in the formula given in paren- 
theses where A denotes 700 ~ and B 1,200~. 

This table is a revelation to the student of music, showing that 
in this very simple situation 17 distinct subjective tones could be 
heard clearly enough to have their pitch measured with precision. 
Incidentally, it may be said that they also were strong enough so 
that their actual loudness could be measured. Theoretically, more 
are predictable and may be identified with further refinement of 
measuring technique. 

But it is even more baffling to realize that the complexity of the 
situation increases in geometric ratio with the addition of one or 
more tones to the chord or discord and that again it increases 
vastly with the utilization of rich generating tones, such as those of 
stringed instruments which have prominent harmonics, since each 
harmonic may act as an independent generator. 

Fortunately, in musical hearing we do not ordinarily hear these 
subjective tones individually. Like overtones, they fuse into the 
complex tone which we hear and are, in large part, recognized as 
the determinants of timbre and tone quality. But by numerous 
forms of experiment, they may be classified, isolated, and studied 
one by one. Let us here give some consideration to each of the three 
main groups. 


The most conspicuous and best known of the subjective tones 
is ordinarily the first difference tone (B A) in the first line of the 
table. If we use two pure tones, keeping one constant and varying 
the other, we may produce as many difference tones of this order as 
there are differences in the frequencies ranging from the lowest 
audible up to the highest audible tones. For example, the first 
difference tone for the clang 200 and 300~ is 100~; for 200 and 
800 ~ it is 600 ~; for 200 and 1,000~ it is 800 ~. 

The identification of these difference tones throughout the 
audible range furnishes a most excellent exercise in ear training. 
The best technique is to use vacuum tubes for producing pure 
tones. The old method was to use glass whistles, called Quinke's 


tubes, which produced relatively pure tones. These Quinke's tubes 
can easily be made by the student himself from the description in 
some textbook of physics. 


As is shown in the second item of Table I, other difference tones 
are present, at the frequencies of 200, 900, 1,000, 1,700, and 2,900~, 
respectively. These are all equivalent to a number of pure tones 
added to enrich the clang. None of them belong in the harmonic 
series, and they contribute by the introduction of more or less 
discordant elements in the quality of the clang. 


Items 3 and 4 in Table I give examples of summation tones, 
each represented by the sum of the frequencies of the two generators 
or the sum of some multiple of the two fundamentals. The most 
conspicuous of these is perhaps the first summation tone, A + B. 
None of these falls in the harmonic series and, therefore, their func- 
tion, like that of the second group of difference tones, is to increase 
the complexity of the clang by more or less discordant elements. 


The reader who is not familiar with the harmonic structure 
of musical tones will do well to cast a preliminary glance at Chap. 
8, which is devoted to that subject. In accordance with har- 
monic theory, a good rich musical tone is composed of a funda- 
mental and a series of partials, each being a multiple of the 
fundamental. In the experiment reported, pure tones were used. 
That means that no physical partials were present. If the tone from 
a stringed instrument had been used, the partials for the lower 
generator could have been 700, 2,100, 2,800, 5,600, etc., each a 
multiple of the fundamental, and for the higher tone they would be 
1,200, 2,400, 3,600, 7,200, etc., depending upon the richness of 
the tone. Theoretically, in this experiment, if the tone had been 
weaker, no physical partials should have been present, but 80 db 
is a very strong tone, and the effect of such intensity upon the 
inner ear is to produce subjective partials; that is, partials which 
have a distinct pitch, loudness, and harmonic relation to the funda- 
mental but have no corresponding physical frequency. For the 


lower generating tone, Line 5, Table I, the second, third, and fourth 
partials were observed in spite of the faet that they came from a 
tone which generated no physical partials. Likewise, for the 
second generator, the second and third partials were present under 
the same circumstances. Here we have a third type of contribu- 
tion to the character of the clang as heard, namely, the presence of 
five partials, each of which contributed to the richness of the tone 
of each generator in spite of its physical purity. It should be noted, 
however, that these subjective harmonic partials are produced 
only for extremely loud tones, such as do not ordinarily function in 
musical performance. To what extent they are present in ordinary 
musical tones in a lower degree of loudness than that here measured 
remains to be shown by experiment. 

In the interest of clarity, the illustrations here given have been 
carried in the simplest terms, namely, a clang composed of two 
pure tones. It is easy to see that if we add one or more pure generat- 
ing tones to the musical chord, we shall increase the complexity of 
the situation in geometric ratio but all in accordance with the prin- 
ciples here laid down for two generators. Again, if instead of pure 
tone generators in the chord, we use rich tones, such as those of 
orchestral instruments, we shall again increase the complexities of 
the situation to a most baffling degree, and yet one not defying 
analysis and experimental illustration. 


A rich tone from a musical instrument may be modified by 
introducing a filter, either mechanical or electrical. A filter is a 
means for eliminating completely the frequencies of any desired 
partial or group of partials in the musical tone. Suppose now that 
we have a tone of 200 ~ played on the G string of a violin, and we 
eliminate the fundamental frequency by filtering, without inter- 
fering at all with the partials above the fundamental. The musical 
listener may fail to notice any difference between this tone and the 
tone in which the fundamental is present and is absolutely certain 
to hear the pitch of the missing fundamental, namely, 200^. If, 
again, we eliminate the fundamental and the second and third 
partials, we still hear the tone definitely as of a pitch of 200 ~ 9 
although there is no physical frequency present lower than 800^. 
Furthermore, as we shall see in Chap. 17, there is comparatively 



little energy in the fundamental of low tones in voices and instru- 
ments. But the fundamental not only gives the pitch to the tone as 
a whole, but often stands out as dominant, owing to reinforcement 
by the subjective tone. 

The reason for these phenomena is that successive partials are 
always multiples of the fundamental; in this case 200 (first partial 
or fundamental) has 400, 600, 800, 1,000 etc., as multiples of it- 
self. The difference between the fundamental and the first overtone 
is, therefore, 200, and the difference of any two adjacent higher 
partials is always the same 200, which is the pitch of the 
























S F 



^SS F 





100 500 1,000 5,000 10,000 

FIG 3 Number of times filter condition was correctly preserved as function of cutoff 
frequency for the piano. Figures at the bottom denote frequencies; figures at the left, 
per cent of correct judgments. The instrument was the piano The range of the fundamentals 
for each selection is shown by the arrowed lines under the name of the selection. "High- 
pass filters" means that low frequencies were eliminated; "low-pass filters'* means that 
high frequencies were eliminated. Thus m the Concert Etude, symbolized by a dot, the range 
was from 82 to 800~. For the Afarche Mihtaire, symbolized by a circle, from 42 to 
1,800~; and for the Concert Etude, symbolized by a square, from 192 to 2,500~. (Snow?. 170 ) 

fundamental. The result is that we get a difference tone of the pitch 
of the fundamental for each successive pair of partials; and, since 
this is always the same, the effect becomes cumulative and adds to 
the loudness of the subjective fundamental. This is equivalent to 
the sounding together of a number of pure tones of 200 ~. 

The limits of effective frequency in the piano. Snow 1 performed 
a very interesting series of experiments to determine to what extent 
the highest and the lowest frequencies of the musical tone are 
negligible. He used trained observers under most favorable condi- 
tions in observing low and high tones in the three musical selections. 
His findings are summarized in Fig. 3 for the piano. Let us consider 
first only the low tones. 


His method was to compare the regular nonfiltered tone of the 
piano, which we shall call N 9 with the same tone, F, which had 
various lower frequencies eliminated by filtering. He eliminated, in 
turn, all frequencies below 70, 80, 90 and 100~ to determine 
whether or not the fundamental below these limits would be heard, 
and whether or not the F tone could be distinguished from the N 
tone. His records were kept in terms of the percentage of right 
judgments on whether or not the two tones sounded alike. The 
result may be seen at the left side of Fig. 3. 

We see that when all notes below 55 ~ were eliminated, the 
judgments were 50 per cent right, which is what they would be 
by chance. Therefore, the observers had no ability to distinguish 
the B tone from the A tone. When he eliminated frequencies below 
65 ~, the judgments were 65 per cent right. When he eliminated all 
frequencies under 100^, the judgments were about 78 per cent 
right. When he eliminated frequencies below 130~, the judgments 
were 90 per cent right. To get judgments 100 per cent right, he 
would have to eliminate all below 165~. 

What does this mean, then, in general terms? It means (1) that, 
although the fundamental frequency was completely eliminated 
in these low tones, it was still heard as the fundamental pitch of 
the tone; and (2) that a considerable amount of filtering could take 
place in tone B without altering the perceived character of the 
tone. This is a very impressive illustration of the role of subjective 
tones in the everyday hearing of piano music. 

On the other side of the chart, we see what happens if we com- 
pare N and F tones when the F tone has certain higher partials 
eliminated. The conclusion from this is that, above the region of 
5,000^, the high overtones gradually cease to be heard either as 
pure tones in themselves or as modifying the character of the tone 

Audible frequency range for music, speech, and noise. Follow- 
ing the same method of experimentation, Snow m investigated the 
principal types of instruments and voices, with the result shown in 
Fig. 4. The whole solid line shows the normal frequency range of the 
instrument; the circle on a line shows the limit below which lower 
frequencies could be eliminated before the observers could make 
80 per cent right judgments in distinguishing the F tone from the 
N tone. The same principle applies to the upper limit. The regions 
indicated by short bars at the right are the regions of accessory 



noises for each type of tone. Snow 170 summarizes his findings as 
follows : 

1. The piano was alone in producing tones with inaudible 

2. Audible frequencies down to 40 cycles were produced by 
the musical instruments, but reproduction only to 60 cycles was 
considered almost as satisfactory. 













100 500 

1,000 5,000 1 

0,000 2O.C 


FIG. 4. Audible frequency range for music, speech, and noise. (Snow. 170 ) 

3. It was found that transmission of the highest audible 
frequencies was needed for perfect reproduction of musical 
instruments, mainly because of the noises accompanying the 
musical tones. A 10,000 cycle upper cut-off had slight effect 
upon the tone quality of most instruments, but a o,000 cycle cut- 
off had an appreciable effect upon all except the large drums. 

4. The quality of reproduction of orchestral music continued 
to improve materially as the lower cut-off was extended to about 


80 cycles and the upper cut-off to about 8,000 cycles. Reproduc- 
tion of the full audible range was preferred to any limitation of 
band width. 

5. Noises required reproduction of the highest audible fre- 
quencies. A 10,000 cycle cut-off caused appreciable reduction of 
naturalness on common noises. It was felt that this cut-off 
probably would never preclude recognition of a noise. 

Phonograph and radio. Let us take an illustration from the 
situation with the phonograph and radio before the perfection 
of electrical recording. Little did the listeners realize in the early 
period of the phonograph records and radio transmissions that the 
recording instruments did not respond satisfactorily to low tones. 
These reproductions, therefore, furnished their own filters for low 
tones tending to eliminate the fundamental frequency and some- 
times even the second partial, and yet we heard with unquestioned 
certainty the fundamental pitch of these musical tones, fixed 
and unwavering. What we did hear as the fundamental pitch in 
these low tones was purely subjective. 

Thus, we see that this purely subjective difference tone is 
psychologically and musically not only an impressive reality but 
frequently an indispensable factor in the determination of the 
pitch of musical tones. To the composer, the instrument-maker, 
the performer, as well as to the listener, they are stern realities and 
essential factors in the structure of musical tones. As to the physi- 
ological theory of all these subjective tones, we have but little to 
say at the present time, but in the last five years such progress has 
been made in the experimental work on the theory of the pitch- 
differentiating mechanism in the human ear that we may reason- 
ably soon expect to have a physiological explanation in terms of 
the function of the inner ear. 

It should be noted that although we must deny the physical 
existence of frequencies corresponding to these tones, the oscillo- 
graph faithfully records wave patterns in terms of which many of 
the subjective tones may be identified. The theoretical existence 
may, of course, be predicted in purely mathematical terms, the 
only psychological problem being to determine to what extent 
they are audible. 

Audible frequency range in voice and instrument. Each voice 
or instrument has its typical frequency range for acceptable tone 




quality. This is illustrated in Fig. 5, which is a copy of a chart 
issued by the National Association of Musical Instrument Manu- 
facturers, 101 1927. The chart is self-explanatory. The limits here 
indicated are merely approximations and can vary under a large 
number of circumstances. 


We have dealt with the ability to hear tones and to hear differ- 
ences in tones. There is a parallel on the side of tone production; 
namely, in the range of tone production of voice or instrument and 
the precision of intonation. Various aspects of this will be discussed 
in the chapter on Musical Skills. 

Control of intonation. The ability to control the pitch of tones 
presents three types of situations: (1) the reproduction of a stand- 
ard tone; (2) the making of fine deviations from the standard; and 
(3) the production of intervals. 

The capacity for reproducing a standard tone is relatively 
elemental. It depends primarily upon a good sense of pitch. Natu- 
rally one cannot control pitch any finer than he can hear it; but 
the control of pitch is frequently subject to considerable improve- 
ment by training, principally the type of discipline that makes the 
ear more critical. Ordinarily the fault is not in the voice or instru- 
ment but in the fidelity of the ear and auditory imagery. To exercise 
critical control, it follows that the capacity for pitch control in 
intonation varies in a way somewhat parallel to a variation in 
capacity for pitch discrimination. However, in stringed instru- 
ments and in wind instruments, a large element of skill is required, 
and that comes only with rigorous training. 

The power of precision in controlling artistic deviation from 
true pitch is again primarily a matter of a sensitive ear, rather than 
muscular control, although in both voice and instrument a certain 
amount of experience and training is necessary. In Chap. 27, we 
shall see some exercises for training in this respect. 

The control of intervals hinges primarily upon interval concepts. 
Some of the intervals are natural; others are more or less arbitrary. 
But a certain amount of training is necessary in order to standard- 
ize the concept of interval. Historically speaking, there has been a 
variety of scales, and even at the present time in modern music 
there is considerable dispute about minor differences in intervals 
which constitute scales. But, given the concept of interval, preci- 


sion in singing or playing intervals depends to a great degree upon 
precision in the reproduction of a tone and in the control of fine 
differences in pitch. 

Interval. Melody and harmony are both built upon the con- 
ception of intervals, some aspects of which we shall discuss under 
the head of Consonance. There is a very extensive literature on this 
subject, particularly with reference to musical scales. Much of it 
awaits verification, criticism, and extension by means of laboratory 
experiments. As an example, we may mention the contest over the 
tempered scale and just intonation in violin playing. 



WE have seen that there are four fundamental aspects of all 
music: the tonal, the dynamic, the temporal, and the qualita- 
tive. The tonal aspects are primarily the outgrowth of pitch and 
timbre; the dynamic are usually reduced mainly to intensity; the 
temporal rest basically upon time but are greatly modified by 
intensity; the qualitative rest primarily upon timbre, but this is 
greatly modified by pitch, intensity, and time in sonance. We see, 
therefore, that intensity plays one of the four basic roles in all 

We are perhaps less conscious of intensity than any of the other 
three attributes in music, for several reasons. In terms of pitch, 
we have musical scales, melody, and harmony with exact quantita- 
tive determinations for each. The musical score shows pitch and 
time with precision but shows only very crude indications of inten- 
sity. Therefore, owing to the relative absence of definite concepts, 
their conspicuous absence in the score and, until recently, the ab- 
sence of units of measurement, little or nothing is said in musical 
literature about intensity or loudness, and yet this attribute of 
tone is comparatively conspicuous for musical hearing and musical 

In phrasing, for example, which is the very heart of musical 
interpretation for both the performer and the listener, the pianist 
can do comparatively little or nothing to modify pitch and com- 
paratively little to modify timbre. The pianist's musical interpreta- 
tion deals almost entirely with intensity and time. The singer 
expresses his musicianship primarily in two ways: in the control of 



the quality of tone and in phrasing. The quality of tone assumes a 
fairly fixed character at a given stage of training, but the musical 
phrasing is the most plastic unit in terms of which the singer or the 
violinist expresses personality and musical interpretation, and 
phrasing is largely a matter of time and intensity. 

The builder of instruments, the musical critic, the teacher, and 
the scientist dealing with the art of music must develop a more 
conscious recognition of the role of intensity than that which now 
prevails in judging the beauty of music. The student must become 
aware, not only of principles of dynamics in music, but also of his 
own sensitivity and power of discrimination, and the countless 
devices which must be at his command in controlling, modifying, 
and utilizing loudness characteristics in tone production. Funda- 
mentally, there are two goals, effectiveness and agreeableness. 
The former pertains to carrying power and intelligibility of the 
sound, the second to the art of dynamic modulation as an element 
of beauty in itself and as a medium for the control of tone quality. 

There are two measures which are basic to all dynamic aspects 
of tone, sensitivity and discrimination. The first is the measure of 
the natural capacity of the ear for becoming aware of sounds; the 
second is a measure of the capacity of the ear for hearing differences 
and, therefore, the power to use the ear in a musically significant 
way dynamically, that is, to assign musical meaning to loudness 
characteristics. On the motor side, we are correspondingly con- 
cerned (1) with the ability to control the intensity in intonation, 
and (2) with the ability to produce artistic deviations in intensity. 


Audiometry. The art of measuring the sensitivity, usually 
called hearing ability or acuity of hearing, is just coming into the 
medical profession and into activities which are affected by keen- 
ness of hearing or hearing loss, such as music, speech, and various 
industries. This is largely because it is only within the last few 
years that reliable measuring instruments and units of measure- 
ment have been available in the fields of psychology, physics, and 

Sensitivity is best measured with an audiometer, which 
produces pure tones at different levels of pitch in the tonal register. 
The measurement consists in determining the weakest sound that 
can be heard. This measure, as we have seen, is expressed in decibels. 


It usually is plotted in terms of the number of decibels of deviation 
from standards for normal hearing of persons not above forty 
years of age and is designated as "hearing loss." Thus, we say a per- 
son has so many decibels hearing loss for different levels of 

On the conventional hearing chart in Fig. 1, various types of 
hearing loss are represented. A word of comment in regard to each 
of these is in order. 

Normal hearing. The straight line numbered represents normal 
hearing for young adults and is taken as a base line from which 
hearing loss is measured. The ear is probably as sensitive to sound 

* Very rapid progress is now being made in the design and marketing of audiometers. 
Dr. Scott Reger, specialist in matters pertaining to audiometry, lists instruments now 
available as follows: 

A. Western Electric No. 2- A Audiometer. Battery operated: generates eight fre- 
quencies in octave intervals from 64 to 8,192 cycles. 

B. Western Electric No. 6- A Audiometer. A.C.-D.C. operated: generates a con- 
tinuously variable range of frequencies from 128 to 10,000 cycles. 

C. Western Electric No. 4- A Audiometer. Designed to test the hearing for spoken 
speech reproduced from phonograph records of as many as 40 pupils simultaneously. This 
instrument is used principally for the group testing of school children. 

D. Western Electric No. 5-A Audiometer. A.C. operated: generates a single complex 
"buzzer" tone. 

E. Western Electric No. 3-A Audiometer. Battery operated version of the Western 
Electric No. 5-A Audiometer. The Western Electric No. 5-A and 3-A Audiometers were 
designed for use in various industries where a rapid approximation of hearing acuity is 
desired. The Western Electric Audiometers may be obtained from the Graybar Electric 
Co., Graybar Building, New York City. 

F. Sonotone Jones-Knudsen Model 1 Audiometer. A.C.-D.C. operated: generates 
seven frequencies in octave intervals from 128 to 8192 cycles. Also provides a continuous 
sweep of frequencies from 2500 up to 16,000 cycles in two ranges: 2500 to 7500, and 8000 to 
16,000 cycles. Sonotone Corporation, 19 West 44th Street, New York City. 

G. Maico Model D-4 Audiometer. Generates frequencies from 32 to 12,288 cycles. 
(Complete detailed information on this instrument is lacking.) The Medical Acoustic 
Instrument Co., 730 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, Minn. 

H. Auragraph Audiometer. A.C.-D.C. operated: continuously variable from 64 to 
8192 cycles. The Marvel-Clark Co., Grand Rapids, Mich. 

I. Brenco 34-C Audiometer. A.C. operated, generates eight frequencies in octave 
intervals from 64 to 8192 cycles, plus the additional three frequencies of 12,000, 16,000, 
tnd 20,000 cycles. Physicians Supply Co. of Philadelphia, 116 South 16th Street, Phila- 
delphia, Pa. 

Audiometers C, D, and E measure hearing acuity in terms of percentage loss; A, B, 
F, G, and I are so calibrated that the results are read in terms of decibels hearing loss; 
nothing is known about the intensity calibration of H. All of the above Audiometers except 
C, D, and E are equipped with both headphones and bone conduction vibrators for testing 
acuity for both air and bone conducted vibrations. Audiometers B and F are also equipped 
with microphones to enable conversation and the selection of hearing aids for the hard of 



in the first year of childhood as it ever will be thereafter. The 
change that takes place with maturation and education consists of 
the development of the ability to assign meaning, develop habits 
of selection, and give accurate account of it. There is, of course, a 
considerable latitude of variation around this normal, up to 10 db 
or more above or 10 db or slightly more below at all frequencies. 












512 1024 2048 4096 8192 

64 128 256 
PITCH C c c C 2 63 C 4 c a C 
FIG. 1. Audiograms showing types of hearing loss. Straight line at zero, normal 
hearing regarded as a base line; A, normal loss due to age; B, middle-ear lesion, advanced 
in impairment; C, acoustic neuritis, hearing loss approximately uniform; D, extreme form 
of acoustic neuritis. The dash lines show the average deviation from line A for persons 
above 60. 

There may also be ups and downs of a minor sort within this range 
of about 10 db on each side. 

Acoustic neuritis. Line B shows a typical case of acoustic neuri- 
tis due to some form of pathology in the inner ear. This, as the 
curve shows, is rather severe and usually does not respond to 

Middle-ear lesion. This is commonly due to disturbances in the 
bones or membranes of the middle ear. Line C shows a mild type, in 
which the subject clearly recognizes that he is hard of hearing but 
does not ordinarily need a hearing aid; whereas, Line D is of a se- 


vere type in which it becomes advantageous to wear some hearing 
aid. In certain types of middle-ear lesions, the patient may obtain 
better results from a bone-conduction hearing aid than from the 
ordinary sound-amplifying (air-conduction) instrument. 

The threshold of pain. The dotted line at the bottom represents 
the limits at which sounds are loud enough to produce a feeling of 
pain. This pain is located in the eardrum and serves as a protection 
for the ear. 


There is a tendency for aged people to have some degree of loss 
of hearing. Such loss of plasticity is observable in other sense 
organs as well as in the muscles and glands; but in hearing we have a 
peculiar situation in that, while hearing in the lower register may 
remain normal into old age, there is always a very radical and 
progressive loss of hearing for the higher tones. 

Line A in Fig. 1 is from Kelley's recent investigation. He 
selected only the cases of old persons between sixty and seventy- 
five years of age who had approximately normal hearing, at least 
up to 500 ~, in order to get cases which are unquestionably due to 
deterioration with age. This condition was certified by otological 
examination. The curve shows that, on the average, these people 
had a hearing loss of 8 db at 1,000, 24 db at 2,000, 44 at 4,000, and 
probably would have about 60 at 8,000~. 

The dash lines above and below the line A show the average 
deviation from this average in 70 cases. This close agreement 
with the average indicates that this type of decline follows a 
fairly fixed law. As we grow old, we may therefore have the comfort 
of companionship in this loss for high tones. 

To verify this in actual music, he took a violin tone which had a 
rich spectrum of high tones and, by filtering, eliminated in different 
experiments those above 2,000, 4,000, and 8,000~. Careful re- 
measurements were made to see whether the aged person could tell 
the difference between the filtered tone and the full violin tone. 
What was predicted proved true: an aged person cannot hear any 
overtones above what is indicated by his hearing loss. Therefore, 
both music and speech are to him radically different from what they 
were in youth. These losses come on so gradually that the sound of 
the human voice or of a violin does not seem to be noticeably dif- 
ferent from what it was in youth. 


This state of partial deafness arising from senile changes in 
the ear is called "presbycousis." The term should be applied to that 
type of hearing loss which has been described in the preceding 
paragraph and should not be applied to the loss of hearing below 
the region of 1,000^ due to old age. 

Kelley investigated seventy cases of persons above sixty years 
of age and found that about 75 per cent had normal hearing, that is, 
not more than 10 db hearing loss at 64 to 500^, and only a slight 
hearing loss at 1,000^. This shows that loss of hearing in the lower 
register does not necessarily come from age or occur with age. In 
the 25 per cent of the cases in which there was a loss in this region it 
could be traced to such specific causes as may operate at any age. 
This is a comfort to those who have fatalistic fear of loss of hearing. 
It has been shown that where the tympanic membrane is destroyed, 
a person can employ stronger hearing aids than otherwise, because 
the sense organs of pain that protect the ear are located primarily in 
this membrane. Lewis and Regcr 82 have shown also that the hearing 
of subjective tones is not dependent upon the presence of the 
tympanic membranes. 


The measuring of hearing ability of school children has been 
grossly neglected on account of the absence of measuring instru- 
ments and the lack of realization of the deep significance of hearing 
loss in children. Many children are regarded as dull and become 
problem cases simply because they do not hear. It is typical of 
both children and adults, as a rule, to pretend to hear and to 
develop defense reactions. They also develop skill in drawing 
inferences from situations, in guessing from partly heard sounds, 
and especially in the art of lip reading, which in extreme cases may 
become an actual substitute for hearing. 

In the public schools of today, it is found that from 5 to 10 per 
cent of the school children have some significant hearing loss. Many 
of these defects are unknown to schoolteachers and parents. In 
fact, only one out of five can be detected by ordinary methods. 
The audiometer permits a survey test that discovers all hearing- 
deficient pupils. Loss of hearing may be due to a great variety of 
causes, and many forms may be treated successfully, especially in a 
growing child, but most important is the provision of preventive 


measures and precautions which save the child from developing 

It is evident that loss of hearing ability becomes an impediment 
to the hearing, appreciation, and performance of music. The person 
so affected lives in a different sound world from the person who has 
normal hearing. Many peculiarities in musical interpretation, likes, 
and dislikes are due either to hypersensitivity or to loss of sensitiv- 
ity to sound. Hypersensitivity is a very potent source of that type of 





-,0 ( 











































ritoM to 'WATT re* SUAC 



FIG. 2. Limits of audible sound. (Courtesy of Western Electric Company.) 

irritation which shows itself in eccentricities of the musical 

The field of hearing. There is an upper and a lower limit of 
hearing. How strong a sound can the ear endure? The solid line 
at the top in Fig. 2 indicates that at this point the sound becomes so 
strong that it arouses pain and cannot be endured above that level. 
This is the upper limit, in the region of 125 db. 

How strong must a sound be in order to be heard? That is, what 
is the lower threshold of hearing? In other words, what does "nor- 
mal" hearing as represented by the base line (0) in Fig. 1 mean? 
The answer is given in the lower part of Fig. 2. This figure is only an 
approximation to the more recent measurements, but it shows the 
important fact that the ear is highly sensitive in the region of 500 



to 4,000 ~, which is the region most significant for music and 
speech. Above and below this region of frequency, sound must be 
increasingly stronger in order to be heard. The broken parts 
of the curve indicate high and low regions for which the curve is 
more or less hypothetical. 

There are very large individual differences in hearing ability 
from the supersensitive to the stone deaf, and this influences their 
activities in daily life to an extraordinary degree. The person who 

10O 50O 1OOO 


FIG. 8. Loudness-level contours. (Fletcher.**) 

5000 10000 

has an especially keen ear perceives and responds emotionally to 
countless sounds that his neighbors cannot hear. The person who is 
hard of hearing has the advantage of freedom from disturbing 
noises but also suffers a loss of power in his daily adjustments. 

These limitations are, in a way, a great blessing because they 
save us from hearing a great mass of rumblings and roarings which 
occur in nature and also from the infinite variety of high tones 
which are ever present but are of little or no significance for music 
and speech. In other words, the ear is selective in that it is respon- 
sive to that region of sounds which is of greatest significance and 

More significant than hypersensitivity in this respect is the 
mental set which centers consciousness upon sound rather than 


upon other stimuli. Keen hearing ability and vivid auditory 
imagery coupled with a dominating interest in sounds is what 
throws the musician under the spell of sounds. Harshness, discord, 
volume have meaning to him just as purity, harmony, and modula- 
tion have. It is therefore important to recognize that, although a 
musician may have just a normal hearing ability, he may be extra- 
ordinarily responsive to sounds which to the nonmusician pass 

Loudness versus intensity. Figure 2 suggests that there must be 
great disparity between the intensity and the loudness of a sound. 
However, this relation follows a definite law which is expressed in 
Fig. 3. The difference between the physical intensity and the mental 
experience, loudness, is greatest at the threshold of hearing and 
decreases gradually up to the upper limit of hearing. Figures 1, 2, 
and 3 may now be reviewed together. 

Reference tone. It is now clear that the loudness of a sound 
varies with a great many factors involved in frequency, duration, 
timbre, and intensity level. It also varies with a great variety of 
conditions in the room and the relation of the source to the ear as 
well as with such factors as fatigue, attention, and alertness on the 
part of the listener. Therefore, in order to determine the loudness 
produced, it is necessary to define the intensity of the sound, its 
physical composition, the kind of ear receiving it, and the physiolog- 
ical conditions of the listener. For this reason, scientists 
have adopted as a standard reference tone a pure tone of 1,000~ 
and provided that the reference intensity for intensity-level com- 
parisons all be 10~ 16 watts per square centimeter. This furnishes us 
a fixed base from which intensity and loudness measurements 
can be made under all sorts of conditions. 


Intensity discrimination is measured with a special type of 
audiometer by determining the smallest difference in loudness that 
can be heard. For practical reasons 1 db is usually considered the 
magnitude of the just noticeable difference. This, however, is an 
arbitrary standard because the j.n.d. varies a great deal with the 
pitch level, the absolute loudness, timbre, and duration of the tone. 
It also varies in a large range with the individual differences of the 



Intensity discrimination measures the ability to hear differences 
in loudness and is therefore a measure of a person's capacity for 
using loudness differences in every dynamic aspect of music and in 
other hearing situations in daily life. For group measurement, the 
phonograph record, "The Sense of Intensity," No. 53003-D, from 
the Seashore Measures of Musical Talent, is satisfactory. The record 
by this method is given in terms of centile rank in the same manner 
as for the other measures, which makes such capacities readily 


5 35 








120 256 512 102420484096 8192 


FIG. 4. The number of just noticeable steps in loudness (j n d ) between the threshold of 
audibility and the threshold of pain. (Rietsz. 112 ) 

There are very great individual differences in this capacity. 
When individual measurements are made with an audiometer, it is 
found that there is an approximately normal distribution of capac- 
ities, ranging from 0.2 to 20 db or more. These differences are fairly 
independent of age, intelligence, and training. They play a very 
important role in determining success or failure in ordinary inter- 
course and in vocations which involve discriminative hearing, 
particularly in music and speech. 


How this capacity varies with pitch level is illustrated in Fig. 4, 
which shows that, at a pitch of 64^, the average ear can detect 
about 45 different steps in loudness, an octave above that, about 
95 steps, and at C 3 , about 175 steps, etc.; the finest discrimination 


is found in the third octave above C 3 at which the average ear can 
detect about 375 steps or differences of loudness. 

But this curve is for an average ear. For a superior ear, it would 
rise much higher at all pitch levels, and for an inferior ear, it would 
fall far below the present curve. 

Similar illustrations might be made to show that the capacity 
for intensity discrimination varies with absolute loudness, time, and 
timbre. In general, we may say that the ear is most discriminating 
for differences in loud tones and least discriminating for differences 
in soft tones, and that these differences for loud, medium, and weak 
tones are greatest in the lower octaves. The discrimination varies 
also with the duration of the tone and, in a very complicated way, 
with the timbre. 


Matching intensities. The first of the two basic measures of 
motor capacity for control of intensity of sound is to match or 
reproduce a tone of given intensity. The subject may be required 
to sing or play a tone of any intensity and then immediately repeat 
it with the same intensity, all other factors held constant. The two 
intensities may be read directly in decibels on the dial of a power- 
level meter, such as is used in every radio studio for regulation of 
the intensity of the radio sounds. We shall see later how this 
principle may be used in training exercises for the development of 
dynamic skill. 

Differentiating intensities. This is measured in the same manner 
as above with voice or instrument. The capacity thus revealed is a 
measure of the ability to produce artistic deviation in loudness. 
It is the fundamental key to the art of interpretation, as in musical 
phrasing. While the loudness discrimination is a relatively ele- 
mental capacity, the motor skill involved in its artistic use is 
subject to marked refinement by training, and artistry consists 
largely in the development of fine and meaningful modulations of 

Naturally the limits for matching intensities as well as for 
varying intensities are set mainly by the capacity for intensity 
discrimination. For two persons, one of whom can hear a difference 
of only 4 db under standard conditions and the other can hear 0.4 
db difference, we should expect a corresponding difference in the 
ability to control the intensity. In general, however, a person can- 


not produce a given loudness so accurately as he can hear it, 
because there are various elements of motor skill involved. Measure- 
ments show that a fine pianist may be able to hear and reproduce 
differences as small as 0.1 db in the middle register. The pianist 
perhaps has the greatest responsibility for the mastery of intensity 
control since this is one of the two principal media under his con- 
trol, and the instrument responds favorably to fine shadings 
in touch. Performance on wind and percussion instruments is far 
less accurate. This topic will be discussed further in the chapter on 
Musical Skills, Chap. 27. 


Beats. One of the basic determinants of harmony is the phe- 
nomenon of beats, which consists of the periodic pulsation of inten- 
sity. Below 12 or 15 pulsations we do not hear tones but distinct 
beats. The number of beats per second indicates the number of 
vibrations in the difference of the frequencies of the two beating 
tones. Above the threshold of tonal fusion the tones are character- 
ized as harsh or rough. The roughness decreases with the increase in 
number of beats up to certain levels. Thus, a minor third is rougher 
than a major third. 

Beats are more conspicuous in pure tones than in rich tones. 
If two pure tones beat, they tend to cancel each other, so that for 
each beat +here is a moment of silence; but the richer the tone is, 
the more complicated the situation becomes. 

Resonance. If we suspend a violin string between two solid 
supports without any resonance box, the string must be bowed 
hard before the tone can be heard at all. The real tone which we 
hear from the violin is caused by the sympathetic vibration in 
the resonance of the box. That is, what we hear is not primarily the 
vibration of the string but the vibration of the various parts of the 
resonance mechanism. The same is true in principle for all forms of 
instruments and especially for the human voice, in which the oscil- 
lation of air caused by the vocal cords alone is significant in com- 
parison with the oscillation which emanates through the mouth 
from the resonating cavities. 

It is this differential modification in the loudness of partials 
which governs the timbre of tones. 


Reverberation. Another factor which plays a large role in 
modifying the character of the tone by changes in intensity is that 
of reverberation. The ordinary music room or music hall is in 
effect a resonance box. Every sound we have goes out to the walls, 
the ceiling, the floor, the furniture, and the occupants, and is 
reflected back in a mass of sound waves of increasing complexity. 
Therefore, a violin tone may be radically different in one room 
from what it is in another, or different in one part of the room from 
what it is in any other part, because of these characteristics of 
reverberation. By taking basic measurements in the dead room, 
which eliminates the element of reverberation and transmission of 
sounds from the outside, we can determine the character of the 
instrument or the voice in itself, and then by taking corresponding 
measurements in any music room or any part of the music room we 
can determine exactly what it is that the room contributes. The 
adoption of scientific principles in the construction and sound 
treatment of auditoriums and music rooms is one of the most 
recent triumphs of architecture and is destined to contribute much 
to the refinement and mastery of musical performance. 


The engineering development in the control of the dynamics of 
tone in recording, reproducing, and broadcasting is one of the most 
important contributions that has ever been made to the populariz- 
ing of music. In recording a sound film, for example, not only can 
the man at the instrument change instantly the loudness of the 
tone as a whole, but he can deal with any particular element of 
the tone selectively in such a way as to improve upon the perform- 
ance of the instrument or the voice. This is called building up the 
tone. As a result of this, we hear over the radio voices which are 
much better balanced through the radio rendition than in the actual 
delivery of the voice. One of our most famous baritones has a voice 
which is naturally weak in the lower registers and, therefore, im- 
presses one as thin and top-heavy. But in the radio rendition, and 
to some extent in the phonograph, this voice is rebuilt so that it 
approximates an ideal distribution of the loudness for each register 
and for each partial in the complex tone. This phenomenon can 
easily be observed when one has the opportunity of hearing the 
singer in person and hearing one of his latest recordings so that a 
comparison can be made between the record and the sound in the 


performance of the voice. This does not imply, necessarily, that in 
every respect the recording of the tone is better than the natural 
voice, but is emphasizing the fact that it is possible to make a voice 
sound better than it really is. We are familiar with the analogy to 
this in painting and photography. 

A scale of musical dynamics. To most of the readers of this 
book the term "decibel" is new. As yet it has a very slight place in 
musical language; but it must be recognized that the appearance of 
this term, or its equivalent, was a condition for the scientific dis- 
cussion of dynamic expression in music and for the application of 
exact terminology in musical composition, performance, and 
criticism. When Stokowski directs his orchestra over the radio 
control board, he has before himself an intensity meter which 
shows the loudness of the orchestral performance from moment to 
moment. He can, therefore, adopt and enforce specific standards. 

It will not be long before there will be in music studios meters 
which will register loudness in decibel readings for any voice or 
instrument so that the terms will have a fixed value in the score and 
can assume specific and permanent values in the conception of the 
composer and the performance of the artist. It will require a great 
deal of experimenting to standardize such norms. 

At the present time we can only make a rough estimate. 
Dr. Scott Reger, who is an expert in this field of measurement, sug- 
gests that tentatively we may adopt the following scale: For a 
75-piece orchestra in decibel equivalence above the threshold, 
ppp, 20 db; pp, 40 db; p, 55 db; mf, 65 db; /, 75 db; /, 85 db; 
///, 95 db. 

The intensity of an average whisper when the mouth of the 
speaker is 4 feet from the ear of the listener is about 20 db above the 
threshold. The loudest sounds of average conversational speech are 
about 60 db above the threshold under similar conditions. There is 
an intensity-level range of about 73 db in a crescendo from the 
average level of the softest violin playing to the peaks in the heav- 
iest playing of a full orchestra. If the intensity of the softest violin 
were 20 db above the threshold, the heaviest playing of the orches- 
tra would be about 95 clb above the threshold. 

Measurements of this kind will, of course, be of very great value 
in the determination of such features as carrying power of voice and 
instrument, the acoustic characteristics of each and every part of 
an auditorium, discussion of the volume of voice or instrument, 
and scientific statements of principles of dynamic expression. 



rriHERE are two aspects of the sense of time; namely, that con- 
JL cerned with fine distinctions of short intervals of time and 
that concerned with the judging of the flow of time in longer 
periods, such as seconds, minutes, or days. Individuals differ extra- 
ordinarily in their abilities and habits for judging sustained inter- 
vals of time. The judgment depends largely upon an appraisal of 
the net result of the flow of events which occur within a time period, 
such as the speaking of a sentence, the delivery of a speech, or the 
work of the day. Every moment of time is filled in some way, and 
an infinite variety of clues are used in judging the progression. For 
example, an undesired visitor may engage in small talk for an hour 
without noticing the flight of time, whereas the host may be very 
restive and overestimate the duration. In other cases, the estimate 
may be based upon observed events which take a fairly even, cus- 
tomary course. For example, a man can get some idea about what time 
he has arisen in the morning by observing the length of his beard in 
shaving. There are definite, established principles of overestimation 
and underestimation of time, for example, an inexperienced after- 
dinner speaker always underestimates the time that he has talked. 
But we need not say anything more about the judgment of the 
flight of time, because that plays only a secondary role in music. 
Everyone will, however, think of how differently the time passes 
in a boring musical program from the way in which the time passes 
in which the listener is on the verge of ecstasy in the appreciation of 



Sensitivity to time differs from sensitivity to pitch, intensity, 
and timbre in that there is no evidence to show that it depends 
upon the structure of the ear under normal conditions. There are 
very great individual differences in the capacity for hearing time, 
but these differences are due to a large number of factors, such as 
the capacity for differential attention, or, ear-mindedness, that is, 
the tendency to live in a tonal world in which significance is at- 
tached to the temporal aspects of sounds. This is characterized 
as perhaps the most important factor in the capacity for imaging 
the time value of tones and for remembering the time value of 
sounds. We, therefore, attach no great significance to the measure- 
ment of sensitivity to time but make large use of the discrimination 
for time which we usually call the sense of time. 


"The Sense of Time" record, in the Seashore Measures of 
Musical Talent, illustrates a method and furnishes the means of 
measuring this capacity. A series of time intervals are marked off by 
clicks in which the differences of two compared intervals vary from 
0.02 to 0.20 second, and the subject is asked to say which of the 
two intervals is the longer. From the percentage of right answers 
the centile rank is established, showing norms for adults and for 
fifth- and eighth-grade children. 

A common method in the laboratory is to vary the difference in 
time intervals by increasing the magnitude and determining the 
length of interval for which about 85 per cent of the answers are 
right. This is spoken of as the threshold, or the limit for time dis- 
crimination. It is found that a very fine musical ear may detect a 
difference in the length of two notes as small as 0.01 second, whereas 
another ear may require as much as 0.10 or 0.20 in order to hear 
the difference. It is perfectly evident to anyone that these differ- 
ences in the sense of time are very important determinants of what 
a person can hear in music and the accuracy with which he can per- 
form. Tempo rubato is one of the most important means that the 
artist has for interpretation of music, and this depends upon the 
ability to hear and the ability to produce fine shadings in time 
in order to produce the desired modulation. 

It is evident that these individual differences in the capacity for 
hearing time are at the base of the capacity of feeling for time, 
which plays such an extraordinary role in the enjoyment and the 


production of music. A person with a fine sense of time tends to 
feel the musical value of fine shadings in time corresponding to his 
capacity for hearing them. The feeling aroused may be agreeable 
or disagreeable. It tends to give rise to attitudes of attraction or 
repulsion. In piano playing, for example, where time is one of the 
only two media that the artist has for interpretation, we may say 
roughly that half the feeling value for or against the musical 
rendition hinges upon the role played by fine distinctions of time, 
as, for example, in the asynchronization of chords, in the overlap- 
ping of notes, and in all forms of artistic deviation from rigid time 
or fixed tempo. 

This is about all we need to say about time as a sensory capac- 
ity. Of course, this capacity functions throughout music in countless 
forms of perception, memory, imagination, feeling, and action. 
Tempo, synchronization, rhythm, and all other forms of precision 
or artistic deviation in terms of temporal aspects constitute at 
least a good fourth of the content of the musical medium. 


The perception of time in music is subject to a great variety of 
normal illusions. Aside from cases of mere incompetence and errors, 
these subjective variables tend to follow natural laws and are, 
therefore, predictable. In psychological measurement involving 
time, such factors must be controlled. Psychologists have measured 
scores of these illusions. But the significant thing for music is that 
a very large part of the artistry in music lies in the utilization of 
these principles. Without them, accent, rhythm, and phrasing 
would be hopelessly sterile. 


Temporal activity will be discussed under various heads, such 
as Rhythm, Tempo, and Time, which are analyzed in the actual 
musical situations; but the problem of motility, which involves 
various aspects of speed and accuracy in movement, underlies all 
these. A person may be quick and accurate, quick and inaccurate, 
slow and accurate, or slow and inaccurate in various degrees and 

In instrumental music, there is a natural limit to the speed a 
musician can exhibit, and in this limit there are large individual 
differences. The real significance for music, however, does not lie in 


the upper limit for speed of action, but rather in the fineness of the 
control of time and action which is involved in musical interpreta- 
tion. The problem for the musician is not so much, "How fast can I 
move my fingers?" but rather, "How accurately can I make fine 
time distinctions in the movement?" 

Music is a form of "serial action"; that is, the time value of a 
note depends upon its integration in the melodic and harmonic 
progression. Therefore, measurement of skill and talent for time 
must be validated in relation to the types of function that actually 
occur in music. These may take countless forms. All our perform- 
ance scores are measures of this sort. The record of an arpeggio at 
high speed is a good measure. The complete record of artistic devia- 
tion in time is by far the most significant. For specific purposes, 
record of capacity for performance in metronomic time may also 
have some value. 

Motility represents one of the standard psychological measure- 
ments of capacity. The test has been standardized by Ream, 107 
and he has evaluated the extensive literature on the subject crit- 
ically. The standard form of measurement is to tap with a finger on 
a telegraph key which records the speed. A simpler way is merely to 
tap with a minimum movement with a pencil held in the most 
favorable position and count how many taps can be made in 5 
seconds. But for practical purposes the test should be on a move- 
ment which is identical with, or analogous to, the movement that is 
to be predicted. Thus, for the prediction of speed of movement in 
piano playing, the motility test might well be made by recording 
the rate of tapping a piano key with one finger. 

There is a slow improvement with practice. Ream found that, in 
20 days of intensive practice in the act, the average for six normal 
adults on the first day was 8.5 taps per second, and that this rose 
gradually to 9.3 taps on the twentieth day. Men average one-half 
tap per second faster than women. The rate of tapping increases 
with age: age five, 3.8; age six, 4.4; age seven, 4.6; age eight, 5.5; 
age nine, 5.8; age ten, 6.3. 

Numerous investigations have been made of the relation of 
motility to various forms of intelligence and efficiency in various 
acts of practical skills in art and in industry. It is found that a 
certain degree of prediction can be made if the measure of motility 
takes the age and learning curves into account and is made in a 
closely related form of movement; that is, for a particular type of 


motion each individual manifests a natural capacity for speed of 
action. In general, the correlation with intelligence in acts which 
involve some degree of discrimination, choice, or deliberation is 
fairly high; but for mere repetitive acts, such as tapping, it is low 
or negligible. 

Motility is not a simple phenomenon but a complex of such fac- 
tors as rapidity, steadiness, precision, endurance, and strength of 
movement. It has often been spoken of as a personal equation, 
meaning the characteristic way in which a given individual can act. 
It is obviously in evidence as a mark of temperament, physical 
welfare, motivation, and skill and deserves the most careful con- 
sideration in the selection and training of musical talent. The high- 
est speed on reliable record for the simplest form of tapping is 
about 12 taps per second, although rates as high as 15 have been 


THIS chapter and the next will deal with the broad subject of 
tone quality. In nature and in art, we find an almost infinite 
series of varieties of tone quality; and yet it is possible to discover in 
them a fundamental and relatively simple basis for their classifica- 
tion and description. Indeed, it is possible in the laboratory to 
produce a million variations in the quality of a tone, any one of 
which can be described in physical terms so accurately that it 
can be reproduced with precision by a tone generator. 

Tone quality has two fundamental aspects, namely, (1) timbre, 
which is the simultaneous presence or fusion of the fundamental 
and its overtones at a given moment, and (2) sonance, the suc- 
cessive presence or fusion of changing timbre, pitch, and intensity 
in a tone as a whole. The first may be called simultaneous fusion; 
the second, successive. Each of these may be reduced to the con- 
stituent factors which are recordable and measurable and, from 
the physical point of view, represent the structure of the tone. The 
present chapter will be devoted to the study of timbre and the 
next to sonance. Chapter 17 is devoted entirely to illustrations 
of the timbre of band and orchestral instruments and should, 
therefore, be read in connection with the present chapter. 


Tones may occur in all degrees of complexity from a pure tone, 
sounded by a tuning fork, up to the chaotic sound mass which we 
call noise. In musical tones, there is a definite relationship among 
the various groups of vibrations which give richness to the tone. 
This relationship is well illustrated in the case of the violin string. 



The open string vibrates as a whole. This represents the funda- 
mental pitch of the tone. It also vibrates in a series of parts, each 
part representing an overtone. Thus, a string vibrates in halves, 
giving us the first overtone; it also vibrates in thirds, giving us the 
second overtone. Each string also vibrates in four equal segments, 
giving us the third overtone; and in five segments, giving us the 
fourth overtone. 

In this series, we notice the simple order that the first overtone 
is twice the frequency of the fundamental; the second overtone is 
three times, the third overtone is four times, the fourth overtone is 
five times the frequency of the fundamental, etc. As we have seen in 
Chap. 2, in physics we speak of the same phenomenon in terms of 
partials. If the partials are in a harmonic series they may be spoken 
of as harmonics. Since the fundamental is called the first partial in 
physics, each partial is always one number higher than the cor- 
responding overtone. The ordinal number of a partial always cor- 
responds with the number of segments vibrating for a given 
frequency; whereas, the ordinal number of an overtone corresponds 
with the number of nodes in the string or other vibrating media. 

A tone is rich according to the relative number and prominence 
of overtones. The beauty of the violin consists mainly in the rich- 
ness and balance of its overtones. This may be illustrated with a 
series of tuning forks which are tuned in a harmonic series in which 
each fork represents a partial. We can vary the tone by varying the 
number of forks sounded and the degree of force applied to each 
fork. When we take an oscillogram of any such tone, analysis will 
tell us which forks were sounded and how loud each fork was in 
relation to the total tone. 

Insofar as we are dealing with a musical tone, aside from its 
accessory noises or other disturbing elements, we have a simple 
system which enables us to speak quantitatively in terms of these 
components, employing exact and definable terminology. Be it the 
tone of the prima donna, the harp, the drum, the sighing of the 
wind, or the hum of the motor, it is described adequately by stat- 
ing the components which may be derived by an analysis of the 
form of the sound wave. 

In general, we may say that, aside from accessory noises and 
inharmonic elements, the timbre of a tone depends upon (1) the 
number of harmonic partials present, (2) the relative location or 
locations of these partials in the range from the lowest to the high- 


est, and (3) the relative strength or dominance of each partial. 
We have, thus, not only a faithful photograph of the sound wave, 
immediately verifiable and identifiable, but also a quantitative 
analysis of its components and, therefore, a language which be- 
comes the basis for musical terminology that is exact, verifiable, 
and uniform for all lands and times. 

Putting all these facts together, we obtain a definition of timbre 
as follows: Timbre is that characteristic of a tone which depends 
upon its harmonic structure as modified by absolute pitch and 
total intensity. The harmonic structure is expressed in terms of the 
number, distribution, and relative intensity of its partials. Recent 
experiments show that we must also take phase relations into 
account. Physically the timbre of the tone is a cross section of the 
tone quality for the moment represented by the duration of one 
vibration in the sound. 

This array of facts may seem appalling, but, if examined in 
detail, the scheme is found to be comparatively simple, convincing, 
and complete. Compare this scientific procedure with the conven- 
tional use of terms descriptive of tone quality, even in the most 
serious instruction or musical criticism! Our terminology must be 
lifted out of the chaos which now prevails in the direction of a more 
and more scientific terminology for the art. 


As was intimated in Chap. 2, we can intercept any sound wave 
with a device called an "oscillograph" and by its use secure a 
faithful and detailed picture of the form of the wave. The harmonic 
structure, as just explained, is obtained by accurate measurements 
upon the form of such a wave. It is based upon a mathematical 
formula called Fourier's theorem. 

It has long been known that the form of a sound wave can be 
analyzed into its harmonic components. This is a broad principle 
applying to the analysis of the waves of the ocean, periodicity in 
the movement of the heavenly bodies, and the hum of machinery. 
But we are here concerned with the musical tone. Those who are 
interested in the technicalities of this measurement must turn to 
treatises on that subject. Suffice it to say that modern science has 
devised mechanical instruments which make this analysis of the 
sound wave more or less automatically. 



It is only in recent years that the oscillograph has been per- 
fected so as to produce a faithful wave form, suitable for accurate 

DATA FOR FIGS. 1, 2a, AND 26.* 
Number Percentage Decibel 
of partials of energy value 










45 2 
8 8 
8 5 
4 5 
4 8 




1 1 

99 9 

24 2 

26 6 
19 5 
19 3 
16 5 
1 3 
16 8 



1 3 


2 4 

10 4 

2 6 

Fio. 1. Dominant partials in a violin 
tone (see Table I). 





I . _ .-0 






1 345 67891 I 342 34 567891 2 3 4 
00 1000 200 1000 
C, C 4 Ci C 6 C 7 C 3 C 4 C 5 C C 

FIG. 2a. Tone spectrum in terms FIG. 26. Tone spectrum in terms 

of percentage of energy. 

of decibel values. 

recording and measurement. This accounts for the fact that we 
know so infinitesimally little about the quality of tones. Work also 

* The partials marked * in the table fall below the 30 db range. The short partials 
representing them, therefore, merely indicate the presence of relatively insignificant 


has been delayed because the analysis of a single wave in accord- 
ance with the mathematical theorem is extremely elaborate and 
time consuming. 

There are now various forms of analyzers on the market. Of 
these the Henrici harmonic analyzer illustrated in the frontispiece 
is perhaps the best. In a nutshell, the process of harmonic analysis 
involves the following steps: Sound waves are recorded from a 
high-speed oscillograph on a moving-picture film. From this film 
a desired wave is selected and enlarged to the length of 
40 centimeters by means of a projection apparatus. This enlarged 
wave form is laid on the platform in front of the analyzer and the 
experimenter moves a tracing point over the exact contour of the 
wave. As this is done, the machine accumulates on a series of dials 
a record of the presence of each partial in figures from which the 
exact amount of energy in each partial may be computed. 

The principle of harmonic analysis may be illustrated in a 
concrete case represented in Fig. 1. The top wave is a tracing of a 
single wave in the oscillogram for a violin tone on the open G 
string played with medium intensity. The great irregularity in this 
wave is an indication of the prominence of its overtones. This 
wave was analyzed up to 20 partials. 

The third column in Table I shows the percentage of energy in 
each partial. If we disregard those partials which carry only 1 per 
cent or less of the energy as relatively insignificant, there remain 
seven which are the components that in the main determine the 
timbre of the tone. Thus, even the first partial, the fundamental, is 
relatively insignificant and the body of the tone lies in seven 
partials. These seven are represented in the individual curves 
below the original wave. The number of each partial is indicated at 
the left, and the relative amount of energy is indicated by the rela- 
tive amplitude of each wave. We may think of the total tone as 
being made up of so many partials sounded together as individual 
pure tones. 

Figure 2a is a graphic representation of the data in the third 
column of Table I in the form of a tone spectrum in which each 
vertical bar indicates the percentage of energy in a given partial in 
terms of the height of the bar. Circles indicate the absence of a 
partial; frequencies are given at the bottom. 

However, for the purpose of psychology of music and acoustics 
in general, the graphs become more significant if they are expressed 


in terms of decibels instead of percentage of energy, because the 
unit of decibels is on a logarithmic scale and indicates degree of 
perceptibility. The fourth column of Table I gives the decibel values 
corresponding to the data in column three. These are represented in 
the spectrum of 26. In this figure the plat of the spectrum is laid out 
for a scale of 30 db, in which the intensity of the partial is repre- 
sented by the height of the bar above an arbitrary reference level, 
indicated by the base line. If there should be only one partial 
present, the height of that bar would present the magnitude of 
total intensity for the tone. 

For practical purposes, all the reader needs to think of is that 
the significance of a partial is expressed in terms of the relative 
height of a bar. 

Here, then, we have in the table and the three figures a fairly 
complete picture of the timbre of the tone under consideration. 
Figure 1 shows how the form of a sound wave is determined by the 
number, the distribution, the intensity, and the phase relationships 
of the component partials. The difference between spectra 2a and 
26 is that the former represents percentage of physical energy of a 
partial, whereas the latter represents the degree of perceptibility 
of each partial. The two spectra differ very materially in the propor- 
tions of the partials. In 26, partial 17 is given considerable signif- 
icance, and the thirteenth and the nineteenth partials gather a 
higher rating than in 2a. It is evident that the degree of perceptibil- 
ity in terms of decibels is more significant than in the percentage of 
energy. The decibel type of spectrum will be used in the following 

In the early stages of our work in the psychology of music, we 
fully realized the importance of exact measurement of timbre but 
said for many years that we could pass that up for the next genera- 
tion. In the last few years, however, the development of the 
oscillograph, with microphones that give a linear response, and the 
improvement of harmonic analyzers have opened up this field. It is 
the most fascinating of all fields in the psychology of music, for 
exact scientific work which has the most far-reaching significance in 
the understanding of music, musical education, the evaluation and 
construction of musical instruments, and musical criticism. It 
certainly is one of four cornerstones of the psychology of musical 
esthetics. But for the reason stated, this is all a virgin field, quite 


uncharted but certain to be explored and possessed by the musical 
world in the immediate future. 

Fundamentally, all musical instruments, including the human 
voice, tend to produce tones composed of a series of partials whether 
the tone originates from a string, a reed, a column of air, or any 
other sound-producing movement. Ordinarily, however, the pure 
harmonic structure is supplemented by accessory noises and in- 
harmonic elements which add to the quality of the tone. These, 
such as the accessory noises accompanying a piano tone or the 
rasping of the violin bow, may in turn be measured and added to 
our description of the timbre of the tone. 

To be able to describe a tone in terms of such procedure repre- 
sents a great achievement and triumph for the science of music, 
but even with the best of instruments it is a slow procedure. It 
is not necessary that the musician perform this experiment, or even 
that he should understand the mathematics and physics underlying 
the principle. What is essential for the musician is that he should 
acquire a clean-cut concept of the structure of the tone and that he 
should learn to think of a rich musical tone in terms of partials, 
that is, the number present, their distribution, and their relative 
intensities. When such terminology is once accepted, his trained ear 
may enable him to hear and name the dominant characteristics of 
a tone. To lay foundations for this type of understanding and 
terminology we shall consider a series of illustrations from instru- 
ments and voice in later chapters. 


Harmonic tones of any timbre may be produced by the Iowa tone 
generator recently designed by Larsen and Kurtz. 63 ' 72 This is not the 
place for a technical account of the construction of a tone generator; 
but it may be pointed out that with this specific generator we can 
produce thousands of different tones and for each one we can say 
exactly what is the fundamental frequency, what partials are pres- 
ent, what percentage of energy is in each partial, what is the phase 
relationship of each wave. Such a generator may be thought of as 
producing one note in an electrical organ in which each key of the 
organ may have the resources that this generator has for a single 
tone. A series of stops have been designed to control for each key 
as many types of tonal timbre as may be desired. 



As a result of the developments just described, we now are able 
to produce and standardize measurements of talent for the hearing 
of timbre differences and natural capacity for rendering timbre 

The "Sense of Timbre" record in the new series of Measures of 
Musical Talent is designed for tests in schools and other groups to 
determine quickly what centile rank in the sense of timbre each 
person tested can gain. Preliminary tests indicate that there will be 
large individual differences, perhaps comparable to those in the 
sense of pitch, but the test may not be quite so elemental as the 
measurements for pitch and intensity. 


THE term "sonance" was coined in our music laboratory in order 
to provide a specific name for the successive changes and fusions 
which take place within a tone from moment to moment. It was 
first used by Metfessel. 62 The need and significance of such a con- 
cept had not been fully realized before objective analysis of tones 
was undertaken. 


We may illustrate the nature of sonance through an analogy. 
Suppose we throw on the screen a single picture at the rate of 20 or 
30 exposures per second; the picture we see then will stand still 
and have every appearance of being a single continuous picture 
because the successive snapshots fuse. If, then, we project a series 
of pictures of objects in motion under the same conditions, the suc- 
cessive snapshots will again fuse; and the resulting picture will 
reproduce the actual motion of the object. At no moment do we see 
any single exposure. 

The position, form, color, and even relief may be reproduced 
true to life as a result of the fusion of impressions in the eye. 

The same principle of fusion appears in hearing. In tonal hear- 
ing, successive waves come so fast that they cannot be heard as 
individual waves; that is, we cannot separate the timbre or the 
pitch or the intensity in one wave from that in the next wave by 
hearing. The result is that they fuse and for a given period of time, 
the mean period for clear perception, we hear a resultant pitch, 
intensity, or timbre which tends to be an average for what is repre- 
sented in the series of waves that can be grasped in one moment of 
perception. The timbre of a tone corresponds to the single instan- 



taneous picture; sonance corresponds to the picture progression. 
Let us examine a few typical cases in order to learn the significance 
of this principle. 


Sonance in the vibrato. In Chap. 4 we learned that no good 
singer ever sings in steady pitch. The most outstanding ornament 
is the vibrato. The tone shows a periodic oscillation in frequency 
covering, for example, a half tone in extent at the rate of 6 or 7 
times per second; yet we hear in it a relatively even pitch. This 
pitch represents an approximate average between the extremes in 
the pulsation and is the result of the tendency of successive vibrato 
waves to fuse. 

The same principle applies to the intensity pulsations and tim- 
bre pulsations in the same sound. We tend to hear a unified, single, 
fairly steady tone which is, however, the resultant of a very com- 
plicated series of pulsations. We hear a rich, musical, and fairly 
steady tone which, through the pulsation, acquires the three char- 
acteristic tone qualities of flexibility, richness, and tenderness. 

Sonance in erratic fluctuations. In the typical performance 
scores shown in this volume the fluctuation of pitch and intensity 
is smoothed out so as to show approximately what we hear. 

In very detailed recording an oscillogram shows large and 
irregular differences in the length (reciprocal of frequency) of 
successive sound waves, both for voice and for instrument. The more 
detailed, the more ragged the record will appear. Instead of bring- 
ing this out in performance scores, our recording instruments and 
the methods of reading are so adapted as to smooth out these wave- 
to-wave fluctuations and give us a graph which corresponds ap- 
proximately to what is significant musically and what is heard as 
pitch. This roughness in frequency, however, contributes to sonance 
as the quality of a tone varies with the degree of roughness. 

Sonance in progressive change. There is a third type of fusion 
which tends to blot out fast progressive changes in the pitch, 
intensity, or timbre of a tone which are not periodic. The fusion in 
this case is analogous to the fusion of the vibrato, except that we 
are not hearing a periodic change which has musical merit, but 
rather an erratic intonation or rough tone within a narrow range. 
The result is that we may credit a tone with being correct in each 
of the three elements while objective analysis will show that there is 


a great variety of minor changes from moment to moment in the 

Another aspect of the same principle is shown in the case of 
progressive change which we note, for example, in the songs here 
recorded. There may be a gradual simple or complex rise or fall 
in pitch or in intensity which is clearly heard as such. Although 
the objective record shows rough jags in both pitch and intensity 
curves, these are blotted out, and what we hear is the general 
rising or falling tendency in the mass of the tone as a whole. 

The same principle applies to intensity : the intensity fluctuates 
from wave to wave in various degrees, but, in the recording and 
graphing of performance, we have retained only as much of this 
roughness as is significant for the hearing of the intensity of the 
tone. Yet the degree of roughness of this sort is a significant de- 
terminant of the tone quality of sonance. The same principle 
applies also to timbre irregularities. 


Figure 1 shows a group of typical attacks of vocal tones in 
intonation. Here not only the vibrato and the wave-to-wave ir- 
regularity but a steep rising or falling of the body of the tone as a 
whole is a striking characteristic. All these changes tend to fuse, so 
that if the attack is short the tone is heard as if attacked on an 
even pitch or intensity; but if it is comparatively long, what we 
hear is a clear-cut rapid rise or fall of the mass of the tone as a 

The principles here illustrated for the attack apply also to 
the portamento, as has been shown by Harold Seashore 1 for voice 
and by Small m for violin. They apply also to the release that 
becomes a part of the portamento. But the free release of a tone 
tends to be relatively even, that is, free from a glide, although 
there is a tendency toward a downward glide. 

A very interesting adaptation has taken place in the evolution 
of the attack. Lewis and Cowan* took phonograph records of 
attacks like those in Fig. 1, varying in length and duration of the 
glide, and reversed them so that the gliding attack became a 
release and the even release became an attack. The musically 
acceptable glide at the beginning of the tone became utterly 
intolerable when placed at the end of the tone. This experiment 



opens a very fertile field for the investigation of reasons for adap- 
tive or habitual hearing. 





J t 

'A \ 







7 8 9 

Fio. 1. Types of vocal attack. (M tiler*) 

The dash line shows the form of the average gliding attack for each song; the dot line 
the average form for all these songs. The top curve represents the shortest sweep of attack; 
the lower, the longest sweep. The horizontal heavy dash line at the top represents the true 
pitch of the main body of the tone as approached by either the smallest or the largest 
glide. Horizontal spaces represent time in 0.1 second, and the vertical spaces represent 
pitch in 0.1 tone. 

1, Alma Gluck; 2, Frances Alda; 3, Rosa Ponselle; 4 and 5, Galli-Curci; 6, 7, 8, and 9, 
Enrico Caruso; 10, Theodore de Lay. 

Sonanoe in subjective tones. As we saw in Chap. 5, subjective 
tones play an important part in musical hearing. These shift in 



5 7 9 II 13 17 19 2J 23 25 27 29 31 33 3& 37 
FIG. 2. The harmonic structure of a beautiful tone. (Borchers. 9 ) 


both pitch and intensity in the same manner as the actual physical 
frequencies of their generators change. That is particularly con- 
spicuous in a subjective fundamental, where the physical funda- 
mental is low or practically absent and yet the pitch of the 
fundamental of the tone is clear and understandable. 

Sonance in timbre. What has been said so far pertains to pitch 
or intensity in a pure tone, or in a tone as a whole. When we recall 
that a musical tone ordinarily is rich in overtones, we realize that 
here sonance grows exceedingly complicated, as in Fig. 2. The 
complexity of the pitch and intensity sonance is here revealed, 
in that each of the simultaneous overtones behaves like a free tone 
in itself. This timbre change may be periodic as in the vibrato. 
It may be erratic in various ways, and it may also be progressive 
in various ways. This presents the most significant sonance musi- 
cally. It is particularly noticeable in the progressive changes within 
a vocal tone which we shall now examine in some detail. 

We are now in a position to sum up, in some concrete pictures, 
the nature and significance of these various aspects of sonance, 
which may be defined as follows: sonance is that aspect of tone 
quality which results from fluctuations in pitch, intensity, time, 
and timbre within a tone. 


Figure 2 is a most faithful and elaborate picture of the inside of 
a tone. It shows what happens within a tone for a third of a second. 
Let us enumerate its features. 

The pitch vibrato. The tone represents two vibrato cycles in 
pitch moving between 103 and 112^, giving us an extent of 0.7 of a 
tone. Since this tone lasts a third of a second, the rate is about six 
pulsations per second. Each of the zigzag lines below the base line 
for total intensity represents a partial, of which there are 18 repre- 
sented, each indicated by its number. Now, since a harmonic 
partial is always a definite multiple of the fundamental, it follows 
that, if we were representing the pitch vibrato in each partial, we 
would get exactly the same curve as for the fundamental; that is, 
each partial would have a pitch pulsation 0.7 of a tone in extent 
and at the rate of six pulsations per second. 

The graph for each partial being exactly the same as that given 
at the top for the fundamental, which is the same as for the tone as 
a whole, it would have cluttered our figure to draw in all these 


identical graphs. The reader is, therefore, asked to imagine the com- 
plete system of pitch vibratos in these cycles by remembering that 
they are present in every partial. The situation is the same as if 18 
individual pure tones were played simultaneously with the same 
vibrato. This gives us an enriched conception of the harmonious 
movements of every partial in the production of a pitch vibrato in a 
clear tone. 

Relative dominance of partials. The tonal intensity of the tone 
is represented by the first line marked total intensity, that is, the 
loudness of the tone as a whole. In order to simplify the presenta- 
tion, a tone was selected in which the total intensity is relatively 
even and in which there is no intensity vibrato. 

The intensity level of each partial is inversely proportional to 
its distance away from the zero line, which represents total inten- 
sity; that is, the intensity of a partial is represented by the number 
of decibels by which it is less intense than the tone as a whole. The 
numbers at the left show for each partial the mean level of the 
intensity for that partial for the duration of a third of a second, as 
just stated in terms of how many db it is weaker than the tone as a 
whole. The up-and-down zigzag in each partial shows the fluctua- 
tion in intensity during this third of a second. Only the odd-num- 
bered waves in the tone were analyzed. The numbers at the bottom 
represent the assigned numbers of these. 

Let us notice first the relative dominance of the partials. The 
sixth partial is the strongest. Next to that is the ninth and next to 
that the fifth. These three dominate and give the general character 
to the tone. Then follow the second and third partials. The first 
partial, which is the fundamental of the tone, holds sixth place; 
that is, it is not prominent. Below these follow in order the weaker 
partials as numbered. The lower down below the mean intensity a 
partial is, the less it contributes toward this total intensity. Yet all 
are significantly present. 

The intensity vibrato. As just stated, we selected a tone which 
had no intensity vibrato in the tone as a whole. Yet some of the 
curves for these partials show a distinct intensity vibrato. The tenth 
partial, for example, represents a marked rise and fall for each 
vibrato cycle. The twenty-fifth partial is the reverse, falling and 
rising for each vibrato cycle. The thirtieth partial parallels the 
tenth, and the twenty-fourth parallels the twenty-fifth; the fifth 
parallels the twenty-fifth, and the seventh parallels the tenth. 


It is this pairing of the intensity vibratos in the partials that 
obliterates the effect of the intensity vibrato on the tone as a 
whole. It is clear, therefore, that while the tone as a whole is of 
even intensity some of its partials show very distinct intensity 
vibratos, and the even intensity of the tone as a whole is accounted 
for by the opposition among pairs of the partials. An intensity 
vibrato in a rich tone results when a number of the leading partials 
are in the same phase and, therefore, cooperate instead of 

Changing spectra. To simplify the figure we analyzed only every 
other wave, the odd numbered. The spectrum for each of these 
waves, as numbered at the bottom, is seen by the intersection of the 
partial line with the vertical line above the number designating the 
wave. Bear in mind that the relative strength of each partial is 
designated by the number of db by which it is weaker than the 
total intensity of the tone. It is easy to imagine a bar spectrum in 
which the sixth partial is the longest, the ninth the next, and so on, 
down to the higher partials, which represent comparatively small 
amounts of energy. For each of these spectra we know the funda- 
mental pitch, the pitch of each partial, and the relative amount of 
energy in each partial. 

The meaning of sonance. To return to our analogy of moving 
pictures, each of these spectra represents an instantaneous picture 
defining the timbre of the tone at that point. The progressive 
change of spectra from wave to wave represents the character and 
the movement of all the elements which fuse, just as form and 
movement are expressed in a moving picture. Therefore, in order to 
give a complete description of the quality of a tone it is evident 
that we must know the spectrum of each wave at representative 
stages and the character of the change in spectra which takes place 
for the duration of the tone. 

This is not all that our picture shows, but it is enough to indi- 
cate what sort of questions a musician may ask and answer in 
terms of this type of analysis. To repeat, our simplified scheme is 
this: in our experience of hearing and feeling of tone, the sonance 
depends upon the three factors of pitch, intensity, and timbre in 
the change from wave to wave and from vibrato cycle to vibrato 
cycle. In a secondary way, we might add to these factors the rate of 
change. The psychological result of a complex situation of this 
kind we may call a "tonal band," consisting of a certain range or 


massiveness of pitch, intensity, and timbre changes, with vanishing 
and irregular fringes of each. When, as in this case, 18 variable 
tones impinge upon the physical ear, we do not hear the details, but 
we hear tone quality. This tone quality may be either musically 
agreeable or disagreeable. If the changes are strong and irregular, 
we get the quality of roughness. If they are smooth and moderate, 
we may get the qualities of flexibility, tenderness, and richness of 

There are two outstanding aspects of this phenomenon of 
sonance, one of mental economy and the other esthetic. The fusion 
which we have described represents economy in perception. We 
have developed the power to preserve enough detail of irregularities 
in a tone to give it musical unity. Nature has been satisfied with 
this power, although it is quite conceivable that the human mind 
should have developed the power to hear in detail a very large por- 
tion of these irregularities in tone. The other aspect is that this 
phenomenon is necessary in order to give the tone its beauty as a 
musical meaning. The habitual perception of fine details would 
take the most desirable musical quality out of tone. Sonance is, 
therefore, in the process of evolution, a result of the principle 
of economy in perception and the adaptation of these economies 
to the demands of beauty and efficiency in music and speech. 


It is recommended that musicians scrap a mass of the current 
synonyms for tone quality, because these words do not connote any 
demonstrable differences in content. The diversity of words simply 
adds to the confusion. "Tone quality" is a term which is adequate 
and clearly defined, and has the same meaning in music and all the 
sciences of tone. When we wish to distinguish between its two as- 
pects, a cross section of the tone and the whole tone, we have the 
two adequately defined terms, "timbre" and "sonance"; but for 
most musical purposes in daily use, the generic term, "tone quality," 
should be used in the technical sense of sonance. 


Musicians would find very illuminating reading in the elaborate 
recordings of artistic speech by Cowan. 14 Figure 3 is a fair sample. 
In order to realize its significance, it is suggested that this speech be 
read aloud without any thought of, or reference to, the graph, and 



that each word and phrase be repeated for direct comparison be- 
tween hearing and the speech performance score. This record is full 
of exceedingly interesting information, but at this point it is 



-si * 

I -Hi I- 

. i i h 1 h 







- I s^. 

i a. 

.i I ,s S 



. liil i lit si li i?L si U 







T- - -V\ -/KTA- W ^ h - V - -n-V - A- 

K-"- -/- 

Es S = 3 H2 s^g g S^li.i^l 

FIG. 3. Record of the speech from The Judgment Day by Josephine Victor. (Cowan. 1 *) 

The pitch, time, and intensity record in this graph is analogous to a performance 
score in music. 

introduced only to show how sonance operates in beautiful speech. 
Aside from tone quality, beauty in speech consists in large part of 
fine pitch inflection and dynamic expression in rhythmic measure 


with effective pauses, all represented in the graph. The observation 
suggested will reveal that we do not hear the numerous fine pitch 
and intensity fluctuations represented in the graph. We hear a 
smooth inflection of pitch and smooth points of emphasis in inten- 
sity. Yet these graphs, like our music graphs, are already smoothed 
so as to eliminate the roughness represented by fluctuations from 
wave to wave. 

From this dynamic record it is easy to see its analogy in song. 
In artistic qualities they are parallel and closely related; but the 
fusion which takes place is greater in speech than in music, because 
ordinarily speech is more rapid. 



was intimated in Chap. 2, music and speech invglve funda- 

mentally the same problems, with but minor adaptations^/Measure- 
ments are made with the same instruments, by the same techniques, 
and in the same attitude toward science and art. Recognition of this 
fact has enabled us to effect many economies, to secure cooperative 
attitudes between departments, and to deepen our insight into the 
larger problem of the acoustic arts. Of this sort of participation, 
the^tudy of the vowel is a good illustration. 

(jhe problem of the vowel is entirely a problem of tone quality. 
Whether it be in song or in speech, it is the vowel that furnishes 
the body of the quality of the sound. The vowel is, however, more 
sustained in music than in speech. In the remainder of this chapter 
we shall touch upon some of the fundamental aspects of the science 
of vowels. ^ 

Timbre and sonance in a vowel. Black 8 studied the pronuncia- 
tion of the vowel "o " as pronounced in the word "top" in a con- 
versational tone. In Fig. 4, we have the result of the effort of the 
same speaker to pronounce the vowel twice in the same way. This 
method of graphing was devised by Tiffin. In Fig. 5, we have com- 
parative results of the pronunciation of the same vowel by two 
different speakers. In other words, we have here four pictures of the 
overtone structure, that is, the harmonic constitution of the same 
vowel under the conditions named. 

Let us first consider the timbre. Each slanting line with its 
upright riders is a tone spectrum of the wave indicated by number 
at the bottom. The height of the vertical lines indicates the relative 
prominence of each of the respective partials represented in terms 



of decibels. In other respects the terminology in these figures is self- 
explanatory. In terms of these spectra we can see exactly what the 
structure of the vowel was from wave to wave. 

The sonance is expressed in the progressive change in the 
timbre of these spectra in successive waves from the beginning of 
the vowel to the end. No two spectra are alike, yet there is an 
orderly progression from wave to wave. 




5 6 7 8 9 10 II 12 13 14 

Fio. 4 Timbre and sonance in a vowel; same vowel spoken twice by the same person. 


The principal lesson contained in these pictures is the fact that, 
in terms of the timbre spectrum of each wave and the progressive 
change from wave to wave in sonance, we have a complete descrip- 
tion of this vowel in terms of which definitions may be formulated. 

In an elementary way, these two figures show that probably no 
person can repeat the same vowel exactly the same way and no 
two persons can express the same vowel even after the best of 
efforts of standardization through phonetic definitions. Numerous 



other factors are illustrated in these graphs; but they must serve as 
merely samples of materials that may be treated statistically in 
analytical and qualitative terms. It will be very interesting to 
study graphs of this kind for each of the phonetic elements of 
each of the recognized variants of each vowel. Such studies will 
solve many of the profound mysteries about the vowel in music and 
speech and will have an immensely practical value in these arts. 


oo -f 



78 9 10 II 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 ' 



7 5 9 10 II 12 13 


D 16 17 E ' 
Q 5 Timbre and sonance in a vowel, the same vowel spoken by two persons. (Black. 9 ) 


These pictures of the harmonic constitution of the vowel 
suggest that the distinction among all variants of each vowel is 
probably to be found in the number, location, and relative domi- 
nance of f ormants or f ormant regions, due consideration being given 
to fundamental pitch and total intensity and progressive change of 
the sound. There has been a long-standing controversy in regard 
to the nature and the stability of these formants in the vowels. In 



the older discussion, one party contended that each vowel has a 
fixed formant pattern which simply moves up or down with funda- 
mental pitch. The other party contended that there are fixed for- 
mant regions due to resonance characteristics of the vocal cavities. 
The most recent investigations reveal a reasonable compromise 

SIN6CR . O.K. 

HTCH - A, 












V - 







































r^. ? s 


















> v 























- 'AH 

































or- 40 


- '9' 

' 7 


























"OO 1 
























^ i V 



9 209 400 

DO 100 1000 1200" 1400"lWO "WOO 2000 2200 2400 200 2800 1000 J200 J400 JMO M0 400 

FIG. 6. Formant regions. (Lewis?*) 

between the two contentions, the tendency being more in favor of 
the latter assumption. Some significance is also attached to the 
presence of inharmonic elements in the vowel. The current work of 
Lewis may be taken to illustrate some elements and some findings 
in the problem. Figure 6 shows the record of a trained baritone 
singer intoning five different vowels at the frequency of Ai. The 


recording was done in the dead room and therefore is free from 
room resonance and outside sounds. 

Frequency is given at the bottom and intensity at the side. Each 
dot represents one measurement. A smooth line is drawn through 
groups of these dots which seems to represent the peaks which we 
call resonant regions from the point of view of the resonators in the 
oral cavities, or formants from the point of view of the physical 
spectrum of the sound. The peak lines here used in attempting to 
get the best fit are, of course, merely "best approximations'* by 
direct inspection to aid the eye in the identification of the peaks. 
The legend Fr 320^, for example, indicates that the apex of this 
first formant in the first tone is at about 320 ~. The DF is a tech- 
nical measure which indicates the damping constant of the reso- 
nator. The zero for the decibel scale is an arbitrarily chosen mean 
intensity value from which decibels are indicated above and below. 

With this orientation, we may see what this chart shows about 
the vowels. It so happens that each vowel has five formant regions, 
although there are two somewhat doubtful regions in the third 
vowel, namely, a third and a sixth. These regions are somewhat 
differently distributed for the different vowels. Only one formant, 
the fourth, at 3,200 ~, is fairly fixed, as is indicated by the straight 
vertical column of these peaks. The first region varies from 320 in 
the first tone to 640 in the third tone, and the fifth region varies in 
about the same degree. The prominent second region in the first 
vowel and in the second vowel is absent in the other three vowels. 
In the last three vowels the second region is closer to the first. With 
possible theories in mind, the scientists will observe many other 
significant features in these records. The assumption underlying 
these figures is that the vocal cords generate the complex tone and 
that those groups of partials which fall within the natural resonance 
region of the oral cavity will be intensified. Variations of this sort 
would be expected even if we had a perfect series of resonators, but 
from this we should not conclude that the resonating regions in 
the vocal mechanism are fixed. 

But the main thing that stands out in this illustration is the 
fact that the character of the vowel is determined primarily by the 
number, the position, the width, and the relative intensities of its 

This sample of a record illustrates the procedure which is 
being followed in trying to solve the problem of formant regions 


with all the intricate issues, theoretical and practical, involved 
therein. The problem of the vowel is simplified and brought under 
experimental control in this manner by our fundamental recogni- 
tion of the fact that we have to deal with only the four attributes 
of the sound wave. The leading issues will hinge upon the roles of 
frequency, intensity, and time in the determination of formants 
which characterize each vowel. Let us see an example of what can 
be accomplished by varying the frequency and the intensity under 
control in an experiment. 




This problem was recently approached concurrently by Laase 11 
and Stout, 1 * 1 one studying the spoken vowel and the other the sung 
vowel under analogous conditions. In order to make the results 
comparable, they proceeded by the same techniques of measure- 
ments and employed the same three vowels "AH," "EE," and "OO" 
recognized as the vowels placed at the corners of the vowel triangle 
by phoneticians. Trained speakers and musicians were employed as 
subjects. From Laase's 71 work we may take a sample illustration 
of the vowel "AH" pronounced like "o" in the word "top." Figure 
7 is by this time self-explanatory. 

Laase summarizes his harmonic analysis of 270 sound waves 
taken from 54 separate phonations representing 18 conditions of 
phonation for each of three subjects as follows: 

1. Increases in intensity, pitch constant, are accompanied 
in every instance by increases in the percentage of energy in the 
higher partials. 

2. Increases in pitch, intensity constant, with but three 
exceptions in 54 phonations, are accompanied by an increase 
in the amount of energy in the fundamental and a decrease in 
some of the higher partials. 

3. There is a tendency for the number of energy regions to 
increase with a rise in intensity, pitch constant, and to decrease 
with a rise in pitch, intensity constant. This tendency may or 
may not be a function of these two variables. 

4. The unsystematic action of the fundamental in successive 
waves seems to be related to the counteracting effects of increases 
in pitch and intensity. 



.5. The amount of energy in the fundamental seems to be 
more a function of the vowel than of either pitch or intensity. 
The fundamental is relatively less intense for the vowel "AH" 



a s 7 9 11 

J S 7 11 


S 11 14 11 


PITCH 4 1 

SENSATION LEVEL 51 51 49 49 48 
1 OB. 

PITCH - D 2 
46 4T 46 47 4$ 

4 6 10 12 

S a 11 14 17 

S S 7 9 11 

FIG. 7. The effect of variations in pitch, intensity constant, and variations in inten- 
sity, pitch constant, on the harmonic composition of the vowel "AH" for subject GF. 

than in the vowels "EE" and "OO" in which it is frequently the 
most intense partial in the wave. 

6. No systematic variation was found in the direction of 
shift of the energy regions as a function of either pitch or inten- 
sity, indicating that the location of the energy regions is probably 



more a function of the use of the resonators than of either pitch or 

7. The characteristic energy regions found for the vowels in 
this study agree within limits with those reported by other 

M ' 





































11 7 














/ \. 














' s; 

C 10 












-. ^^ 

^** 4 

















' s 






V _ 








i s; 























J \ 







^ ^ 

! 89 4 







ri i 

oM 1 

iW t 

N 2 

Ufl J 

M i 

UM 1 



VK \ 




mwucT ii crcut POT KMM 

FIG. 8. The variation of harmonic constitution with pitch. (Stout. 196 ) 

investigators. The characteristic energy regions for "EE" and 
"00" were very similar except for a difference in the amount of 
energy above 2,000 ~. 


8. As many as five energy regions were found in a number 
of the waves analyzed, suggesting the presence of five distinct 
vocal resonators which may influence the distribution of energy 
in any given phonation. There was no evidence to support the 
presence of fixed resonance regions from vowel to vowel. 

9. The results tend to indicate that there can be considerable 
variation in the composition of the spoken vowel and the char- 
acter of the vowel still be clearly recognizable. 

Stout, 187 working under similar conditions with vocal tones 
which involved the vibrato, represented his results on the plan 
devised by Lewis. 78 Figure 8 is a sample of his record for the effect 
of varying pitch. Similar records were made for the effect of varying 
intensity. It is interesting to compare the findings on the sung vowel 
with the findings about the spoken vowel. We therefore quote 
Stout 9 s summary as follows: 

The results of the present study indicate (1) that the most 
important change in the harmonic structure of the vowels "AH," 
"OO" and "EE" which accompanies an increase in intensity, 
pitch remaining constant, is an enhancement of the relative 
importance of the partials lying above the frequency 1,800~; (2) 
that this enhancement is greatest at the low pitch for the vowel 
"AH," greatest at the high pitch for vowel "EE" and about the 
same at all three pitches studied for vowel "OO"; (3) that the 
increase in total intensity is very slight for the vowel "AH," 
considerably more for the vowel "OO" and greatest for the vowel 
" EE." There were other changes which did not appear consistent 
enough to warrant any general statements. 

The results of the study also indicate (1) that the most 
important change in the harmonic structure of the vowels "AH," 
"OO," and "EE" that occurs with a rise in pitch, intensity re- 
maining constant, is a decrease in the relative intensity of the 
partials lying above the frequency 1,800^; (2) that the contours 
outlining the intensity areas at frequencies 600 to 800 ~ and 
1,000 to 1,200~ for the vowel "AH" appear to become less 
definitely two contours, the higher the pitch, until at the highest 
pitch they appear to have merged into one large contour; (3) 
that in the case of all three vowels, the fundamental appears to 
absorb a considerable part of the energy which has shifted from 
the high frequency regions to the low. 



That there is no consistent change in frequency location of 
the major intensity areas with either an increase in total inten- 



e e is 



3 e n 2/ e 10 w a 

FIG. 9. Acoustic spectra and total intensity level under the three conditions named 


sity or a rise in pitch is quite definitely indicated by the results of 
this study. 



Talley 196 has made a comprehensive study of the vowel struc- 
ture in conversational speech as compared with speech before an 
audience. Figure 9 illustrates the principles of his comparisons. 
Working with the single vowel "AH" pronounced as in the word 
"top," he had trained speakers use this vowel in a sentence: (1) 
as in ordinary conversation, (2) as in addressing an audience of 
2,000 people, and (3) in an effort to maintain conversational 
loudness before an audience. Typical findings are shown in Fig. 9. 
This opens a most important problem in speech; namely, the prob- 
lem of carrying power in public address. Talley showed what 
characteristic changes the speakers made spontaneously. He 
summarizes his findings as follows: 

1. There was no systematic variation in either intensity of 
the fundamental or duration of the vowel with the changes in 
conditions of recording the vowel. 

2. There was a marked tendency to increase both pitch and 
intensity when a shift was made from conversation to audience 

3. There was a marked shift in relative intensity from the 
lower to the higher partials with the change from conversational 
to audience speech. 

4. Attempts to speak as if to an audience, which were accom- 
panied by only a small rise in total intensity, also evidenced a 
much less marked shift of energy into the higher partials. 

5. Attempts to speak as if to an audience, which were accom- 
panied by no rise in total intensity, showed no systematic varia- 
tion in the harmonic composition of the vowel. 

6. A loss of intensity during a vowel was accompanied by a 
greater loss of intensity in the upper partials than in the lower. 

In general, when a speaker changed from conversational to 
the audience type of speech, three changes in the sound wave 
produced by his voice took place simultaneously, namely, 
heightened pitch, increased intensity, and a shift of energy from 
the lower to the higher partials. Although similar characteristic 
changes in sung tones have recently been observed, it does not 
seem possible at present to evaluate the relative importance of 


the three factors nor to state whether one element causally 
influences the other two. 

The real problem raised by this investigation must be solved 
by an elaborate study of all the factors of the sound which we 
have now isolated and can control in order to determine the relative 
roles of each of these in determining the carrying power, sometimes 
called the projection of the sound. The singer of the future may 
look forward to acquaintance with a definite system of principles 
that should be followed in making the voice carry before an audi- 
ence. This is not simply a problem of a performer but also of the 
composer and the writer of the words and for all is ultimately a 
problem of tone quality. 



rpiHE theories of melody and harmony represent by far the most 
JL highly developed fields in the history of musical literature. They 
have also attracted the serious attention of mathematicians, 
physicists, anthropologists, and psychologists in the scientific 
laboratories. The history of music is written largely in terms of 
scales or musical modes, showing the development of the concept of 
intervals from period to period. The most interesting aspect in the 
field of musical anthropology has centered around the problem of 
the evolution of scales and the attempt to explain why they have 
arisen, why they have survived in such great variety, and what their 
interrelations are in the family tree of musical modes. 

Harmony as we now think of it is of comparatively recent 
origin. Its precursor and present companion piece is melody. The 
basic principles which now function in harmony were first developed 
in the theory and practice of melody. It would be extremely inter- 
esting if space could be devoted to a chapter on the origin and 
evolution of melody because in that we should see the foundations 
of harmony in the process of evolution. The underlying conception, 
common to both, is that of the interval. The title of this chapter 
might, therefore, well be The Interval; but in scientific procedure, 
where we always reduce the situation to its simplest elements, it is 
customary to speak of the problem in terms of kinds and degrees of 
consonance. The difference between harmony and consonance is 
that consonance deals with intervals in terms of two notes only; 
whereas harmony usually deals with more complex situations. The 
difference between consonance and melody is that consonance deals 



with simultaneous tones in a dichord; whereas, melody deals with 
sequence of tones. 

Consonance depends fundamentally upon the degree of coin- 
cidence of sound waves. This led very early to the mathematical 
theories based on this physical fact. In the main this is correct and 
applies in large part to all scales; but there are very important 
exceptions, so that no such simple rule can be applied throughout to 
determine the degree of consonance or dissonance. Coming out of 
the vast network of modifications of this principle, modern Western 
music is built largely on the diatonic scale in major and minor 
modes. The ratios of successive notes to the tonic in the major 
mode are 9 : 8, 5 : 4, 4 : 3, 3 : 2, 5 : 3, 15 : 8, and 2 : 1. In the minor mode 
the corresponding ratios are 9 : 8, 6 : 5, 4 : 3, 3 : 2, 8 : 5, 9 : 5, and 2:1. 

According to present conventions, this natural scale represents 
the most desirable intervals; but in the construction of keyed 
instruments, it was necessary to make a compromise on the 12 
half-tone steps in order to make it possible to play in different 
keys on the same instrument, such as the piano. This modified 
scale is known as the "tempered scale." The relation of the natural 
scale to the tempered scale is shown in Table I. 10 


We now recognize the following approaches to the problem: 
(1) The spontaneous outcropping of intervals among primitive 
peoples throughout the world and their gradual empirical develop- 
ment in various culture stages up to the present, all in the absence of 
theory. (2) The development of technical theory, since the time of 
ancients, on the part of musicians, largely as an empirical adjust- 
ment of the early-recognized mathematical ratios in terms of feeling 
values. This has resulted in principles of augmentation or contrac- 
tion of intervals as represented in tendency tones away from the 
natural or the tempered scale. (3) The development and criticism 
of these theories in terms of the harmonic structure of the tone, the 
function of subjective tones, and the physiology of the mechanics 
of the ear by mathematicians, physicists, physiologists, and 
psychologists. (4) The psychological procedure of analyzing con- 
sonance into its component factors and the determination of de- 
grees of consonance on the basis of judgments reached in an 
experimental situation in terms of these factors. 





Interval name 

Semitone or Diesis 

Minor second. . 
Minor tone 
Major second 
Augmented second 
Minor third 
Major third 
Diminished fourth 
Augmented third 
Perfect fourth 
Augmented fourth 
Diminished fifth 
Perfect fifth 
Augmented fifth 
Minor sixth . 
Major sixth . 
Augmented sixth 
Minor seventh 
Major seventh 
Diminished octave 
Augmented seventh . 

Frequency ratio 

Milli octave* 
Natural Tempered 


Natural scale 
























2M 2 










2M 2 







D 6 




2M 2 



















2K 2 


















E b 




















F b 











































G 6 




2M 2 










2K 2 








































* 1 2 











a 1 9*2 

















C 6 

































Among the problems which confront us in the study of con- 
sonance are the following six: (1) the determination of the exact 
size and number of the intervals in the building of scales; (2) the 
determination of desirability and reasons for admission of tendency 
tones under specific musical conditions; (3) the criteria of con- 
sonance-dissonance; (4) the establishment of rank order of intervals 
in the chromatic scale on different criteria; (5) a compromise best 
judgment about the order of rank, taking all criteria into account; 
and (6) the setting up of a measure of consonance as a member in 
the battery of measures of musical talent. 

Number of steps in the octave and size of the interval. This 
problem has been solved progressively in the process of evolution 
on the principle of natural selection, the survival of the fittest. 
When we inquire why the present scale of 12 steps has survived, we 


find the answer in psychological experiments in the laboratory. It is 
found that, on the whole, our present half-tone step is as small a 
step as the average of an unselected population can hear with 
reasonable assurance, enjoy, and reproduce in the flow of melody 
and harmony in actual music. 

However, anthropology has shown that in the process of evolu- 
tion we can discover a variety of units which have become con- 
ventional in a certain culture, some of them larger and some of 
them smaller than a half tone. Instrumentalists unquestionably 
imitated the tendencies of the human voice in playing their 
intervals; and when, in comparatively recent times, keyed instru- 
ments were introduced, or a certain number of strings or other 
vibrating media were played together, the prevailing tendency was 
crystallized. Yet we have at the present time quarter-tone instru- 
ments. Music is being written in quarter-tone steps, and this 
mode of music reveals resources entirely beyond the possibilities 
of the half-tone steps. Nor should we ignore the fact that in many 
instruments and many types of musical performance, fixed inter- 
vals are relatively ignored and the melody flows like the soaring 
bird in abandon on its wings. 

Two things are clear, then, on this point: (1) that artistically 
there is nothing rigidly mandatory for our present diatonic scale, 
and (2) that the tendency to support it is one of economy, of desire 
for cooperation, and of recognition of natural limits, particularly 
in the ear and the voice. 

Scales and tendency tones. In the development of modern 
music we find a gradual crystallization of a number of tendencies or 
principles in the form of license in deviation from mathematically 
equal steps, or from any of the now current scales. These principles 
are never adequately treated in the musical literature. It is quite 
common for an artist to speak of "his" system. As we shall see in 
Chap. 21, good artists differ greatly in this respect, and probably 
should; for it involves freedom in the use of artistic principles of 
deviation from the regular. In current musicology this is becoming a 
central problem and is being discussed with great acumen and with 
marked signs of progress. To the musician it is a real problem which 
can be settled only in terms of artistic demand. But it will be the 
function of psychology to submit these demands to objective 
analysis for the purpose of collecting fair samples from performance 


scores and of seeking psychological explanations for their existence. 
This very intricate problem we are not prepared to report upon fully 
at present; but there is rich raw material to work upon in the per- 
formance scores of Chaps. 18 and 20. 

The physical and psychological determinants of consonance 
and dissonance. This is a central problem which the psychology 
of music now faces and on which an inceptive attack has been 
made. Psychology must fractionate the problem and deal with one 
factor at a time. It must recognize that there are kinds as well as 
degrees of consonance. We cannot identify it with feeling, however 
conspicuous the feeling aspect may be, but must show how and 
why feelings are involved. Music employs not only consonances, 
but also semiconsonances and gross dissonances in creating power 
and beauty of tone. Dissonance is an essential for esthetic value in 
modern music, and consonance out of place may be decidedly 

Preliminary experiments have revealed four factors which 
represent conditions determining consonance and their respective 
psychological effects in feeling value. These are smoothness, purity, 
blending, and fusion. It has been found possible to make a purely 
logical judgment, without involving any feeling about it, by observ- 
ing, for example, that the minor third is smoother than the minor 
second and that the minor third is rougher than a perfect fourth. 
It is important to know that such a judgment may be purely logical 
and independent of affective value, the problem being merely to 
determine which is the smoother or the rougher tone. Whether we 
crave or abhor roughness or smoothness is another matter. Now 
roughness may be explained entirely on the basis of the operation of 
beats. It is the prominence of the beats that determines the rough- 
ness of the tone, and this principle operates until the interval 
becomes so large that the hearing of the beat effect tends to disap- 
pear. On this criterion alone, then, we can arrange dichords, at 
least from the minor second up to the fifth, with certainty in a 
graded series of consonance-dissonance. 

Another factor is that of relative purity. It is possible to arrange 
intervals in the order of purity in a purity-richness series which 
corresponds largely to the order of consonance-dissonance. From 
unison to the minor second we observe an increasing order of 
richness as determined by harmonic analysis. But we must observe 


not only the degree but also the kind of richness. These two factors, 
smoothness and purity, are objective physical factors, measurable 
and definable. In a way they are complementary and on the whole 
tend to dovetail and agree as bases for classification. 

A third factor is blending, the quality of seeming to belong 
together. The two notes in the major second do not seem to belong 
together; they do not blend. Likewise, the notes of the interval of 
the seventh do not seem to belong together, but for entirely differ- 
ent reasons from those in the minor second. 

Here the issue is : do the two tones in this interval seem to belong 
together? It is not a question of liking or disliking, agreeableness or 
disagreeableness, but purely a logical judgment on the specific 
issue. The tones may not seem to belong together because they are 
too close, causing roughness, or do not seem to belong together 
because they are far separated. In other words, the psychological 
judgment on blending is one which ordinarily rests on the physical 
facts, smoothness and purity. There is only a difference in the point 
of view. 

There is a further factor which we call "fusion." This was orig- 
inally sponsored by Stumpf 190 and is to the effect that the difficulty 
of judging whether you hear one tone or two tones becomes a 
measure of the degree of consonance. This difficulty can be meas- 
ured in terms of reaction-time, on the theory that the length of 
time that it takes to decide whether you hear one or two tones is a 
measure of the degree of fusion. This psychophysical principle 
undoubtedly operates in a number of intervals, notably the more 
consonant ones, and to that extent contributes to the explanation of 
consonance-dissonance. But, as we shall see, it leads to contradic- 
tory results. 

The distinction between the logical and the affective judgment 
is of the utmost importance in scientific procedure. So long as we 
deal in terms of likes and dislikes we are dealing with intangibles, 
grossly fluctuating factors, quite indefinable. It is only when we 
define each factor and isolate it in the experiment that we can lay 
down verifiable principles as to the nature of our problem. 

This analysis of consonance is analogous to our analysis of the 
vibrato, where we reduced the actual musical phenomenon to the 
operation of three types of pulsation, each of which could be defined 
and measured accurately, and where it became possible to name 
corresponding specific qualities of the tone generated by them. 



Twenty years ago we performed an experiment in the Iowa 
laboratory to discover the relative merits of these four factors as 
determining consonance-dissonance. The procedure in the experi- 
ment conducted by Malmberg 34 was unique. It consisted of having a 
jury of musicians and psychologists who sat in sessions throughout 
the year under the strictest experimental conditions and with the 
demand that the sessions should continue until a unanimous verdict 
could be reached on all the issues involved. A paired comparison of 
all the intervals in the octave was made (1) with two pure tones 


Interval S P B F 

Octave .. . 1111 

Minor second . . 12 12 12 2 

Major second . . . .... 11 11 11 3 

Minor third . 9 7 7 4 

Major third . . ... 4 5 3-f 54- 

Perfect fourth ... 3446 

Diminished fifth .7 88 8 

Perfect fifth . ..2227 

Minor sixth . . 6 46 9 

Major sixth . . 5 3 5 10 

Minor seventh . . . .8 9911 

Major seventh . . 10 10 10 12 

generated by tuning forks in front of the Koenig resonator in the 
natural scale; (2) by pipe-organ tones using the diapason stop; and 
(3) piano tones in the tempered scale, where the two strings for 
each tone were damped so as to allow the vibration of only one 
string for each note. 

A separate series of experiments was run for each of the four 
factors: smoothness, purity, blending, and fusion; and for every 
presentation of a pair of clangs a secret ballot was taken on the 
question as to whether the second clang was, for example, in the 
smoothness series, smoother or rougher than the first. As soon as all 
agreed on a pair, that decision was regarded as final, and the experi- 
ment was repeated for all the intervals for which there was disagree- 
ment, a full discussion being held about the nature of the situation 
before each series of ballots was taken. This method was continued 
until unanimous verdicts had been reached on all the four factors. 
The result of this experiment is shown in Table II. The most out- 



standing finding in this table is that there is considerable agree- 
ment on the first three factors, but on the fourth there is very 
radical disagreement with the other three, as well as with the 
generally accepted order. 


With the recognition that the classification on the basis of 
fusion did not correspond with accepted musical classification, 
this was eliminated, and the experiment was repeated with the 
tuning forks under the instructions that in each ballot the three 




l - . . . . . .......... 

o'c" c'g" c'a' c'e' cT c'a^ c'e 6 ' c'g^ c'b*' c'd' e'b' c'd&' 

FIG. 1. Order of merit of interval in the consonance-dissonance series. (Mcdmhcrg**) 

remaining factors should be given consideration, so that we should 
obtain an order of merit on the basis of the recognition of the com- 
bined results of these three factors under experimental conditions. 
The result is shown in Fig. 1, 

The significance of the above experiments lies not so much in 
the determination of consonance-dissonance as in showing what 
the contributing factors are. In general, we may say that con- 
sonance-dissonance depends primarily upon two factors; namely, 
roughness-smoothness and purity-richness. The factor of blending 
covers both of these and does not seem to add any new element, but 
merely represents a point of view in the judgment. 


In the original series there was a measure of the sense of con- 
sonance. While this measure has been found very significant, in the 
diagnosis of talent it has certain defects which have been remedied 
in the forthcoming revision. These difficulties were that (1) the 
instructions, giving the directions for observation, were too 


involved, especially for children; (2) the judgments "Better" or 
"Worse" suggest agreeableness; and (3) there was a tendency to 
judge in terms of likes and dislikes. 

Many other tests involving consonance would be desirable and 
are quite feasible, especially for measures of achievement. But for 
the purpose of forecast, and independent of musical education, a 
test of the present order seems essential. 


VOLUME as a musical characteristic of tone is a complex experi- 
ence resting upon the frequency, the intensity, the duration, 
and the harmonic constitution of the physical stimulus, and largely 
influenced by associational, affective, and motor factors in per- 
ception. The following analysis outlines the principal factors 
which function in the perception and control of volume. 


Extensity. Extensity has often been considered a fifth attribute 
of sensation as experienced in each of the different senses. Literally 
it means bigness, and usually represents an association with the 
size of the sounding body. For this reason it corresponds exactly 
to wave length, which is the reciprocal of frequency. A low pitch 
comes from the vibration of a long string or a large cavity, whereas 
a high sound comes from a short string or a small cavity. Thus, as 
frequency varies with the size of the sounding body, we have come 
to associate bigness or littleness with the size of the sounding body. 
Extensity is, therefore, entirely parallel to pitch. A low tone is 
more massive than a high tone; it comes from a larger space; and 
we can arrange extensities in a single series in the same way as we 
arrange pitches. To secure volume, use relatively low tones. 

Location. The spatial distribution of the individual tones in a 
complex sound also affects the volume. This is strikingly illustrated 
by the fact that the pipes or resonators of a very complicated organ 
might be distributed, as in a museum, in a large number of rooms on 
different floors, but all audible in the central aula. In this case, 
there is an interesting illusion of space. All the tones that come 
from the pipes of the same pitch, regardless of what floor or loca- 



tion on the floor, are found to come from the same source, which 
represents an accurate location determined by the loudness of each 
part and the distance and direction from the listener. Thus, two 
pipes of the same pitch and intensity, but located one at each 
end of a long hall, will give a single tone which is located very 
definitely at the midway distance. But if a third tone comes from a 
similar source in a side hall, the location of the tone will shift from 
its central position in the main hall into the side hall toward the 
source of the third tone. The result is that the music of the organ 
seems to come from all over the building and that the listener can 
clearly hear each note as coming from a specific location in distance 
and direction. 

This may be observed on a small scale in listening to a pipe 
organ at close range. A most striking illustration can be found in 
the noises of nature in which similar sounds arise from within a 
large area of space. 


Intensity. Volume is often confused with loudness, which de- 
pends upon the intensity or power of the physical tone. Volume, 
however, is a much more comprehensive term in which intensity is 
only one of the leading elements. Yet, other things being equal, the 
more intense the tone, the more volume it has. Since we are, by 
this time, familiar with the role of intensity and loudness, no more 
need be said here. 

Number of tones. The addition of one or more tones of the 
same intensity tends to increase the total intensity in the volume, 
but only to a slight degree. For example, if we have a piano tone of 
50 db and we add to that another tone of the same intensity, the 
combined effect will be about 53 db. If we add a third tone, the 
total intensity is likely to be 55 db. Thus, the addition to the total 
intensity decreases with the number of units combined; and in 
every case the increase is small in comparison with the original 
intensity of one element. This increase in intensity results in a 
corresponding increase in volume. 

Reverberation. Volume is increased quantitatively by resonance 
of the instrument, reverberation of the room and surrounding 
bodies in that these reverberations have the effect of multiplying 
the stimulation. Other things being equal, the more resonant the 
instrument and environment, the greater the volume will be. 



Timbre. Volume varies with timbre in many respects. In gen- 
eral, the richer the tone, the greater the volume will be. The full 
tone seems larger than the pure tone in proportion to its richness. 
Volume varies also with the position of the dominant formants or 
resonance regions of the rich tone. In accordance with the principle 
of extensity, dominance of low partials makes the tone seem more 
voluminous; dominance of high partials makes it seem less 

Sonance. The tone quality as affected by change in the form of 
a sound wave from vibration to vibration, which we call sonance, 
also has a marked effect upon the apparent volume. This is illus- 
trated in the case of the vibrato, in which periodic pulsations of 
pitch, intensity, and timbre give the effect of a tonal band or 
largeness of tone as compared with a straight tone. The same princi- 
ple applies also to erratic changes in sonance. 


Duration. The duration of a tone modifies its volume. A sound 
lasting 1 second is more voluminous than a sound lasting 0.01 or 
0.1 second. The reason for this lies in several factors, such as the 
equivalent of repetition of the stimulus, the time for reverberations, 
and readiness in perception. A clap of thunder illustrates this 
principle. The origin is probably an instantaneous electrical explo- 
sion, but it is heard as a sustained roll. In a percussion instrument, 
such as the piano or the harp, there is an immediate drop in inten- 
sity after the first energizing of the string; but, for a complicated 
series of psychological reasons, we tend to hear these tones as of 
even loudness throughout their duration. That is, the intensity 
indicated by the first impact tends to carry over throughout the 
duration of the tone. 

Sequence. The volume depends also upon the sequence of tones 
in terms of intensity, timbre, and spatial relationships. All the laws 
of contrast operate here. 


The experience of volume depends not only upon such physical 
aspects of the stimulus as those just outlined, but also very largely 
upon subjective factors. Among these, expectation, knowledge of 
the source of the sound, effort, or thought required in the produc- 


tion of the sound, emotional tone, such as fear or desire, and vivid- 
ness of the imagination play important roles. Therefore, for purely 
subjective reasons, we find large individual differences in the hear- 
ing of volume, and in the same individual from moment to moment, 
marked changes in the flux of receptive attitude. 


From the above it follows that volume is not a specific deter- 
minant of audibility or what is generally called carrying power of 
speech or music. The conductor, for example, must think and direct 
in terms of specific factors of pitch, intensity, time, and timbre; 
and, of these, some in more specific terms of their variants, deriva- 
tives, and combinations, both in the performance and in the envi- 
ronment. Nor can he ignore the subjective factors, for example, 
motivation. It is not enough that the orator have great volume of 
voice. The volume must have certain ingredients in certain propor- 
tions in order to be heard, understood, and enjoyed. 

From this skeletal analysis, which could be carried into greater 
detail, the significance of knowledge of volume for the performer, 
the teacher, and the pupil must be apparent. It is of supreme 
importance to the composer, the performer, the instrument-maker, 
and the conductor that they should know what aspects of volume 
are present or demanded, how they may be produced, and the 
various ways in which volume may be modulated. In the interest of 
these dynamic values in music, it is the duty of the teacher to know 
what is to be taught. It should be the privilege of every serious 
student of music to receive early reliable instruction in regard to 
the media at his command, the factors which he should hear, the 
factors which he should control, in order that he may proceed 
efficiently with knowledge in the mastery of each of these goals. 
This subject is usually treated in the field of acoustics. 

The intensity required to produce tones of equal loudness varies 
with frequency. For instance, a tone at 5,000~ must be approxi- 
mately 2,800 times as intense as a tone of 1,000~ in order to sound 
equally loud to the average normal ear. The intensity of each 
partial present in a complex tone decreases inversely as the square 
of the distance. The threshold of audibility is different for each 
frequency. Other things being equal, that partial of a complex tone 
which has the lowest threshold of audibility will be heard at the 
greatest distance. A complex sound can be heard no farther than its 
most persistent component can be heard alone. 



rriHERE are two fundamental factors in the perception of rhythm : 
JL an instinctive tendency to group impressions in hearing and a 
capacity for doing this with precision in time and stress. The sub- 
jective tendency is so deeply ingrained, because of its biological 
service, that we irresistibly group uniform successions of sound, 
such as the tick of a clock, into rhythmic measure. The supposed 
limping of a clock is often purely subjective. This is called sub- 
jective rhythm to distinguish it from objective rhythm, in which 
the grouping is actually marked, as in music and poetry. If a long 
series of quarter notes were played with absolute uniformity in 
time and stress, the listener would inevitably hear them divided 
into measures and would actually hear the appropriate notes ac- 
cented. Such is one of nature's beneficent illusions. 

A good illustration of this is found in a very crude way when one 
is lying in a Pullman sleeper and the successive beats coming from 
the crossing of rail joints set up a time which carries tunes that 
come into one's head. The rails seem, as it were, to beat the time 
emphatically into measures. The writer recalls once being haunted 
by the plantation melody, "What kind o' a crown you gwine to 
wear? Golden crown?" As he allowed the imagery of the melody to 
flow, the accentuation of the click of the rails became very promi- 
nent and satisfying as rhythm. One who is trained in observing 
himself may find this tendency toward rhythmic grouping in any or 
all his activities. Take, for example, the homely act of eating. One 

* The first two sections of this chapter are reprinted with permission from the Musical 
Quarterly. 1 " 



who has a highly developed sense of rhythm may, even in eating 
soup, feel the various movements divided into measures with their 
artistic grouping of long intervals and short intervals, come objec- 
tively and others only subjectively marked with occasional 
cadences. Yet a person watching the movement might not be able 
to see any rhythm in the actual movements. 

The objective rhythm as we find it ordinarily in prose and 
poetry is marked by emphasis of time or intensity, or both. 
Occasionally, it may be also through pitch, although that always 
involves intensity. It is also probable that it may come through 
other senses than hearing. 

Subjective rhythm is more fundamental than objective rhythm 
and always plays a large role in the objective. This is why we find 
rhythm more essentially a matter of personality than a matter of 
objective grouping. All rhythm is primarily a projection of personal- 
ity. The rhythm is what I am. For him who is not endowed with this 
talent the objective rhythms in nature and art are largely wasted. 

While the perception of rhythm involves the whole organism, it 
requires primarily five fundamental capacities. The first two of 
these are the sense of time and the sense of intensity, corresponding 
respectively to the two attributes of sound, which constitute the 
sensory media of rhythm. The third and fourth are auditory im- 
agery and motor imagery, that is, the capacity for reviving vividly 
in representation the auditory experience and the motor attitudes 
respectively. The fifth is a motor impulse for rhythm, an instinctive 
tendency, chiefly unconscious and largely organic. These five 
factors may be said to be basic to the sense of rhythm. Other 
general factors, such as emotional type and temperament, logical 
span, or creative imagination, are intimately woven into the warp 
and woof of rhythm, but we shall probably find that these are 
secondary to the primary and basic forces named. 

We may now define rhythm as an instinctive disposition to 
group recurrent sense impressions vividly and with precision, 
mainly by time or intensity, or both, in such a way as to derive 
pleasure and efficiency through the grouping. 

The sense of rhythm, or perception of rhythm, as thus defined, 
is to be distinguished from rhythmic action, an important aspect 
with which we are not here concerned; yet it is a complex process 
and involves literally the whole organism in the form of a perpetual 
attitude of responsiveness to measured intervals of time or tone. 


To gain some insight into the actual nature of rhythm, it may 
be well to point out some of the things that rhythm does on the 
side of perception as distinguished from action, which will be 
equivalent to pointing out the sources of pleasure and means to 
efficiency in rhythm. 


1. Rhythm favors perception by grouping. It has been demon- 
strated that, under happy grouping, one can remember approxi- 
mately as many small groups as one can remember individual 
objects without grouping; for example, in listening to a series of 
notes, one can grasp nearly as many measures, if they are heard 
rhythmically, as one could grasp individual sounds if they were not 
heard rhythmically. This is a principle which is involved in all 
auditory perception. Individual sounds are grouped in measures 
and phrases, phrases and periods, periods and movements. The 
ability to grasp in terms of larger and larger units is a condition for 
achievement. The development of this ability results in power to 
handle vast numbers of sounds with ease,and this success is a source 
of pleasure. And that is true, not only in poetry and in music, but 
in our natural hearing, even under primitive conditions. Thus, 
rhythm has become a biological principle of efficiency, a condition 
for advance and achievement and a perpetual source of satisfaction. 
The rhythm need not be conspicuous to be effective. It need not be 
objective. It need not be conscious. At best it is a habit. 

2. Rhythm adjusts the strain of attention. In poetry and music, 
for instance, the rhythm enables us to anticipate the magnitude of 
units which are to be grasped. This, in turn, makes it possible to 
adjust the effort in such a way as to grasp the unit at the strategic 
moment and to relax the strain for a moment between periods. 
Of this, again, we may not be immediately conscious, but it may be 
readily demonstrated by experiment, as, for example, if we should 
break up a measure, as in going from K to % time without warning. 

Genetically, the ordinary measure in poetry and music is 
determined by what is known as the attention wave. Our attention 
is periodic. All our mental life works rhythmically, that is, by 
periodic pulsation of effort or achievement with unnoticed inter- 
mittence of blanks. This is easily observed in an elemental proc- 
ess such as hearing ability. To demonstrate it in a simple way, 
proceed as follows : hold a watch a distance from the ear, and then 


move it toward the ear till you can just hear it; then keep it in this 
position for two or three minutes, and observe that you hear it only 
intermittently. To check this, raise your finger when you hear the 
sound and lower your finger when you do not hear it. Do not be 
influenced by any theory, but act with the keenest decision for 
every second. You will then find the hearing and silence periods 
alternate with fair regularity, the periods varying from 2 to 8 or 
10 seconds in the extreme. This periodicity is primarily one of 
attention and reaches out into all our mental processes, being one of 
nature's contrivances in the interest of the conservation of nervous 

This is a principle which is made use of in nature and in indus- 
try, as, for example, in our lighting current. The current which 
energizes our lamps is not, as a rule, a steady, direct current, but is 
"alternating," that is, it comes in pulsations, usually about 60 a 
second, which are frequent enough to give us the impression of 
continuous illumination. The rhythmic measure, then, is simply 
taking advantage of nature's supply of pulsating efforts of atten- 
tion. And when the measure fits the attention wave, it gives us a 
restful feeling of satisfaction and ease. This in turn results in what 
is known as secondary passive attention, which is a more econom- 
ical and efficient form of attention than voluntary attention. Thus 
it comes about that we acquire a feeling of ease, power, and adjust- 
ment when we listen to rhythmic measures because we get the larg- 
est returns for the least outlay, and the tendency to seek this 
assumes biological importance because it tends to preserve and 
enhance life. 

3. Rhythm gives us a feeling of balance. It is built on sym- 
metry, and, when this symmetry involves within itself a certain 
element of flexibility which is well proportioned, we have grace. 
Thus, when we read an ordinary prose sentence, we pay no atten- 
tion to the structural form; but, when we scan the dactylic hexam- 
eter, we fall into the artistic mood, distinctly conscious of a 
symmetry and beauty in form, and in this sense rhythm becomes a 
thing in itself. Poetry may contain ideas, and music may represent 
sentiment; but the rhythmic structure is in itself an object of art, 
and the placid perception of this artistic structure takes the 
form of the feeling of balance under various degrees of delicate 
support. Children sense the rhythm of poetry before they do the 


4. The sense of rhythm gives us a feeling of freedom, luxury, 
and expanse. It gives us a feeling of achievement in molding or 
creating. It gives us a feeling of rounding out a design. This sense 
of freedom is in one respect the commonplace awareness of the fact 
that one is free to miss the consciousness of periodicity in countless 
ways, yet chooses to be in the active and aggressive attitude of 
achievement. As, when the eye scans the delicate tracery in the 
repeated pattern near the base of the cathedral and then sweeps 
upward and delineates the harmonious design continued in meas- 
ures gradually tapering off into the towering spire, all one unit of 
beauty expressing the will and imagination of the architect, so in 
music, when the ear grasps the intricate rhythms of beautiful music 
and follows it from the groundwork up through the delicate tracery 
into towering climaxes in clustered pinnacles of rhythmic tone 
figures, we feel as though we did this all because we wished to, 
because we craved it, because we were free to do it, because we were 
able to do it. 

5. Rhythm gives us a feeling of power; it carries. It is like a 
dream of flying; it is so easy to soar. One feels as if one could lift 
oneself by one's bootstraps. The pattern once grasped, there is an 
assurance of ability to cope with the future. This results in the 
disregard of the ear element and results in a motor attitude, or a 
projection of the self in action; for rhythm is never rhythm unless 
one feels that he himself is acting it, or, what may seem con- 
tradictory, that he is even carried by his own action. 

6. It stimulates and lulls, contradictory as this may seem. 
Pronounced rhythm brings on a feeling of elation which not infre- 
quently results in a mild form of ecstasy or absent-mindedness, a 
loss of consciousness of the environment. It excites, and it makes us 
insensible to the excitation, giving the feeling of being lulled. This is 
well illustrated in the case of dancing. Seated in comfort and en- 
joyment in pleasant conversation, the striking up of a waltz is a call 
which excites to action. It starts the organic, rhythmic movements 
of the body the moment it is heard, and one is drawn, as it were, 
enticingly into the conventional movements of the dance. But no 
sooner is this done, in the true enjoyment of the dance, than one 
becomes oblivious to intellectual pursuits, launches himself, as it 
were, upon the carrying measures, feels the satisfaction of congenial 
partnership, graceful step, freedom of movement action without 
any object other than the pleasure in the action itself. There comes 


a sort of autointoxication from the stimulating effect of the music 
and the successful self-expression in balanced movements sustained 
by that music and its associations. 

The same is true of the march. When the march is struck up it 
stimulates tension of every muscle of the body. The soldier straight- 
ens up, takes a firmer step, observes more keenly, and is all atten- 
tion; but as he gets into the march, all this passes into its opposite, 
a state of passivity, obliviousness to environment, and oblivious- 
ness to effort and action. The marked time and accent of the band 
music swing the movements of all parts of the body into happy 
adjustment. He can march farther in better form and with less 

7. Rhythmic periodicity is instinctive. As we saw above, the 
grouping into natural periods of the flow of attention is a biological 
principle of preservative value. It is likewise true that the tendency 
to act in rhythmic movements is of biological value, and for a 
similar reason. If one does not know where to put his hand or foot 
the next movement, he is ill at ease and will be inefficient in the 
movement; but if movements may be foreseen and even forefelt, 
and an accompanying signal sets off the movement without con- 
scious effort, there results a greatly lessened expenditure of energy, 
a more effective action, a feeling of satisfaction. Anything that 
accomplishes these ends in the life of a species will tend to become 
instinctive, to develop a natural tendency always to move in rhyth- 
mic measure; and, when our movements are not actually divided 
into objective periodicity, we tend to fall into a subjective rhythm. 
We cannot have adequate perception of rhythm without this motor 
setting. The bearing of this instinctive motor tendency on the 
perception of rhythm lies in the fact that with the motor instinct 
goes an instinct to be in a receptive attitude for the perception of 
such rhythms, both subjective and objective. 

8. Rhythm finds resonance in the whole organism. It is not a 
matter of the ear or the finger only; it is a matter of the two funda- 
mental powers of life, namely, knowing and acting. And, therefore, 
indirectly it affects the circulation, respiration, and all the secre- 
tions of the body in such a way as to arouse agreeable feeling. 
Herein we find the groundwork of emotion; for rhythm, whether in 
perception or in action, is emotional when highly developed, and 
results in response of the whole organism to its pulsations. Such 
organic pulsations and secretions are the physical counterpart of 


emotion. Thus, when we listen to the dashing billows or the trickling 
raindrops, when we see the swaying of the trees in the wind or the 
waving of the wheat fields, we respond to these, we feel ourselves 
into them, and there is rhythm everywhere, not only in every plastic 
part of our body, but in the world as we know it at that moment. 
This tendency to feel oneself into the music and act it out is an 
exhibition of the principle known as "empathy": "feeling oneself 
into." It may exist in a very highly developed form without the 
accompaniment of the other two factors involving precision in the 
rhythmic pattern. At the present time, we have no satisfactory 
way of measuring the degree of prominence of this impulse except 
by merely recording, as in moving pictures. But psychologically 
that is of little value because it is the tendency to act, rather than 
the free action, which is fundamentally significant. This tendency 
we shall probably soon be able to measure in terms of the magnitude 
of the rhythmic volleys of nerve impulses, which discharge into 
the muscles but are more or less counteracted. 

9. Rhythm arouses sustained and enriching association. One 
need not tramp through the woods where the Wagnerian scenes 
are laid in order to experience the rich flow of visual association 
with a rhythmic flow of the music in Lohengrin. In most persons it 
comes irresistibly through free imagination. Our consciousness of 
pleasure in music is often a consciousness of seeing and doing 
things, rather than a consciousness of hearing rhythm, the tendency 
being to project ourselves through the sensory cue of hearing into 
the more common fields of vision and action. 

10. Rhythm reaches out in extraordinary detail and complexity 
with progressive mastery. It makes use of novelty. The simple 
rhythms soon become monotonous, but one can find endless oppor- 
tunity for enrichment by the complications of which the measure, 
the phrase, or the more attenuated rhythmic unit is capable. This 
is true both for perception and for action. A rhythmic nature tends 
to live more and more in the exquisite refinements and far-reaching 
ramifications of rhythmic perceptions and rhythmic feelings of 
movements, real or imagined. This power to radiate and encompass 
may be vastly enhanced by training in the rhythmic arts. 

The sense of rhythm is like the instinct of curiosity : it takes one 
into wonders after wonders. Curiosity asks one question and nature 
asks her ten. One degree of rhythmic perception acquired becomes a 
vantage ground from which we may approach higher levels, and 


each of these in turn traversed leads to higher vantage grounds, 
level after level, vista after vista. They need not be objective. Nor 
need we be conscious of them as such. It is a state or organization 
into rich meaning. 

11. The instinctive craving for the experience of rhythm 
results in play, which is the free self-expression for the pleasure of 
expression, or, as Ruskin puts it, "an exertion of body and mind, 
made to please ourselves, and with no determined end." It makes 
us play, young and old. It determines the form of play, in large 
part. Through play it leads to self-realization by serving as an 
ever-present incentive for practice. In music and poetry we play 
with rhythm, as it were, and thereby develop it in expansive and 
artistic forms. 

This inventory of the sources of pleasure in rhythm is frag- 
mentary and inadequate, but it should at least accomplish two 
ends. It should dispel the notion that the perception of rhythm is a 
simple mental process or action and should make us realize that, 
to the person who is endowed with this gift in a high degree, it is one 
of the great sources of pleasure, not only in music and art, but in the 
commonplace of humdrum life. To a person who is not so endowed, 
this role of rhythm may be no more concretely patent than the 
omnipresence of color is to the color blind. 


There are three basic factors in the capacity for rhythm: (1) 
the rhythmic impulse to action, (2) the cognitive capacity, and (3) 
the motor capacity. Many variants of each of these may of course 
be recognized. 

The instinctive impulse to express rhythmic grouping. In study- 
ing the rhythmic talent of a one-year-old child possessing highly 
developed rhythm, we made the following observations: In listen- 
ing to a rhythmic two-step on the phonograph she approached the 
instrument with much interest and sat clapping her hands in correct 
time with the music without any prompting or suggestion. A waltz 
was then substituted for the two-step, and she immediately picked 
up the % pattern. We then held her by her hands so that she stood 
lightly on the floor but could not move her hands and then she 
marked time with her feet. To determine her further resources, 
hand and foot action were eliminated by placing her on all fours. 
In this position she immediately shimmied with full bodily expres- 


sion. She had the rhythmic impulse. She "had rhythm." It was 
plainly untutored and executed with abandon and full swing. She 
seemed to live herself into the music. 

Of course, children differ markedly in this respect, and for very 
different and complicated reasons. We see this sort of exhibition in 
response to music, which is a form of inceptive dance, in all stages 
of primitive life. The free expression of this sort tends to be at- 
tenuated or repressed through the forces of maturation and culture. 
It is the outstanding characteristic of spirituals and revival singing 
but is thoroughly suppressed in the more dignified church service. 
It finds rich development in dramatic action, not only in music but 
also in the more refined arts of singing and playing. 

The sense of rhythm. What we have called the sense of rhythm 
is the capacity for hearing and recalling rhythmic patterns with 
precision in time. It may also be regarded from the point of view of 
intensity in the manner of precision of accent. This capacity can be 
measured accurately by employing a graded series of musical 
patterns from simplest to very complex and determining what is 
the largest pattern an individual can hear and identify correctly. 
There are very large individual differences in this capacity in a 
normal community of individuals, and experiments have shown 
that this capacity is a fairly fixed constant and is elemental to a 
considerable degree in that it does not change greatly with age, 
practice, or training. 

Motor rhythmic capacity. This is the capacity for expressing 
rhythmic patterns in music with fine discriminative action. It 
underlies all skillful phrasing, both of voice and of instrument. 

The natural capacity for this may be measured before musical 
education has been undertaken. It consists of determining, under 
experimental conditions, what degree of precision the individual 
can show in tapping out rhythmic patterns, either by imitating 
standard patterns or by setting up his own patterns in metronomic 

There are various forms of standardized apparatus for this 
purpose. R. Seashore U8iUg first standardized this measure. 

It is often stated that great accuracy in the hearing and the 
performance of rhythm is not of much consequence because there 
is such great irregularity and license in the rhythm of even the 
best music. This notion is based on the assumption that rhythm 
should occur in metronomic time. The musician, however, knows 


that his artistry lies not in maintaining a rhythmic pattern in even 
time, but rather in the hearing and making of artistic deviations in 
the pattern. This is a far more strenuous demand than a demand for 
the setting of the pattern in even time. It is the delicate varying of 
pattern interpretations that puts life into the music. 


Perhaps more experimental work has been done in the last fit ty 
years on the psychology of rhythm than on any other musical 
feature. Space does not permit us here even to summarize and 
interpret the findings. In recent years, Ruckmick 114 has compiled 
comprehensive bibliographies on this subject. Instead of attempt- 
ing to summarize the psychology of musical rhythm, the subject is 
so divided that it will be discussed in concrete terms under the 
heads of Voice, Chap. 20; Violin, Chap. 18; and Piano, Chap. 19. 
Sufficient work material in the form of performance scores and 
phrasing scores is furnished in these chapters. The subject is 
treated more fully in the researches from which these illustrations 
wei;e drawn. 

^ While rhythm is a conspicuous feature in music, it is also a 
dominant element in nearly all phases of our daily life. The term 
should, however, be restricted to grouping in accordance with our 
definition above, to the exclusion of mere periodicity. It is very 
common in scientific circles to speak of mere periodicity as rhythm. 
The tick of a clock, for example, is periodic, but it is not rhythmic 
unless it is made so by the subjective grouping of the listener. 
Biologically, mere periodicity serves many of the purposes that 
rhythm serves in human perception and action. But mere perio- 
dicity in music has no rhythmic significance. Even a chain of four 
exact 1 -second measures without regard to the internal structure 
would never make rhythm in music, nor would it in speech or in 
dancing. It is the internal organization of the pattern that makes 
rhythm in the rhythmic arts and it would tend to clarify language 
if, in the sciences and industries, the term were restricted in this 
manner. Mere periodicity would never make dancing beautiful. 
The rhythm in dancing must represent grace, versatility, surprise, 
balance, organization. 

We hear much about rhythm in typewriting, where reference 
is made only to constant speed. Rhythm plays a very important 
role in this activity, in that it aids development of group perception 


and group actions in organized patterns adapted to the individual 
capacities. The same thing is true in the industries, where skill 
takes the form of gradually developed organized rhythms which are 
adapted to the natural capacity of the individual workman. 

In this sense of organized grouping of perception or action, 
rhythm furnishes the backbone structure of all sports and games of 
grace and skill, even the humdrum of the common laborer. It is a 
dominant factor in the organization and facilitation of control; 
witness the Negro chopping wood or "working on the railroad," 
even setting rhythmic tunes to the accompaniment of his strokes. 
But whether the rhythm is consciously present or the rhythmic 
impulse is suppressed by demands of culture and efficiency, rhythm 
is one of the foundation structures in all motor skills. Perhaps the 
poet may find a suggestion here for picturing even the humdrum of 
life as involving sweet music if one but has the mind to hear it and 
feel it in empathy. 

( It is interesting to note that, as in music, the rhythm is not 
necessarily set up by the objective situation, but always represents 
an active organization on the part of the performer. In sports and 
industries it is more necessary that this rhythm should take objec- 
tive form. However, it may be in very large part purely subjective 
rhythm and yet may play its biological role. ) 


THE ordinary procedure in teaching and learning music is shame- 
fully wasteful because known laws of learning are not applied. 
The teaching of musical notation, ear training, and sight reading 
in the public schools could be vastly improved by a simple applica- 
tion of a few principles now applied in other subjects. The same is 
true in acquiring techniques of skill in performance, in the memoriz- 
ing of repertoires, and in the acquisition of knowledge about music. 
Psychology of music therefore presents a challenge and a service to 
teachers and students alike.* 

{The learning process in music involves two primary aspects: 
acquisition and retention of musical information and experience, 
and the development of musical skills. Both of these are included 
in the common use of the term "memory"; thus, we have conscious 
memory, which is the making available of stored information and 
experience, and subconscious or automatic memory, which is a 
phase of habit, such as is exhibited in all the various types of 
musical skills in performance. 

Musical memory is a talent which is inherited in vastly different 
degrees, the differences being greater for this special capacity than 
for memory capacity in general; one student may have more than 
a hundred times the capacity of another for learning music. Yet 
this ability, both in the gifted and in the nongifted, is capable of an 
astonishing amount of improvement by training. Training in the 
art of learning can accomplish wonders. I 

* This chapter is an adaptation from the author's Serviceable Memory, in Psychology 
in Daily Life. 1 ** 



Psychology has furnished more experiments on problems in 
learning than in any other field. Volumes of material bearing on 
this subject are now available and are being applied in various 
fields of learning. Instead of summarizing the facts established 
by experiment, I shall put the most fundamental findings in the 
form of a series of simple rules for learning music and will state 
these rules with utmost brevity and clearness, for the purpose of 
motivating students of music in the effort to establish right habits 
of learning. 



(To the pupil) 

Learning anything is an act which must be performed by the 
learner. It cannot be done for him by the teacher. The only thing 
a teacher can do is to assist in creating favorable conditions by 
motivation, supply of materials, and general guidance. The first 
essential then in facing any learning problem is to place the respon- 
sibility where it belongs, namely, on the pupil. This principle is 
violated by pupil and teacher alike in much of current instruction 
which seems to rest upon the assumption that it is the function of 
the teacher to hammer something into a pupil who is sometimes 
not only passive but resistant. Let us, therefore, place the respon- 
sibility on the pupil who wishes to learn, recognizing that it means 
work, pleasant and successful work, on the part of the pupil, and 
that the responsibility for this cannot be thrown upon the teacher. 

1. Select your field of interest. Select as your object of study 
that in which you have a genuine interest, for which you have 
natural aptitude, and which you consider worth learning. Make this 
a real object to be attained at the sacrifice of many other interests. 
If music cannot qualify for you on the three grounds of talent, 
interest, and personal value, you should, perhaps, avoid it except 
insofar as musical instruction is a routine part of your education. 
In music, select first a general field and within this field from 
stage to stage a specific aspect or content which you desire to 
master. This is merely deciding what you are to do when entering 
upon a new enterprise. Knowing exactly what is to be learned is the 
first stage of mastery and making a selection on the basis of good 
reasons makes the work economical, effective, and pleasant. 

LEARNING IN Music 151 

2. Intend to learn. This does not mean an occasional or sporadic 
intention but a firm decision to give continuity of effort until 
mastery is attained. Occasional intention is ruinous because 
the exception tends to destroy what has been attained. Teachers 
say, "Give attention, concentrate, apply yourself." The present 
rule throws the full responsibility upon you for really intending in a 
responsible way to reach your goal as a matter of your own choice. 
If it is not your personal choice, you should, perhaps, avoid the 
pursuit. It should, however, be remembered that some things are 
learned for their own sake, and others, for example, reading, are 
pursued as tools for the attainment of higher things. The intentions 
that count in life are habitual. Therefore, make your intention a 
habit and suffer no violations of that habit. When the intention to 
remember has become a habit, you will have the feeling of ease, 
mastery, and joy of achievement. 

3. Trust the first impression. In wrestling, shooting, photo- 
graphing in all acts of skill success comes to the one who most 
effectively throws his best energies into a single stroke of effort. 
In learning something, make a deliberate and deep first impression 
and then trust that. Instead of repeating the impression, repeat the 
recall or memory. At a given moment you have selected a specific 
thing in music that you wish to learn. You approach it with the 
habit of intending to master it, and you will save enormous time 
and effort if you now trust the first impression, instead of looking or 
listening in a blank manner, expecting to get it another time. 
Trust the first impression and make this deeper and deeper by prac- 
ticing recall instead of reimpression. 

This is analogous to the taking of a picture. If you have selected 
your object, determined to photograph it, and timed your exposure 
properly, you may get a permanent picture from the first impres- 
sion; repeating the impression will result in a blur. This principle is 
opposed to the rote method by which the learner simply grinds 
away blindly, thinking that something will be ground in. 

When you take up a new selection, make a rapid survey of its 
general characteristics to note what is familiar and what are new 
features. Observe or perform the first new feature deliberately, 
intending to make this first impression adequate and permanent, 
repeating it in recall, or from recall, as often as is necessary to 
deepen this first impression; but be determined not to go back for a 
second impression. Then take the successive new features in turn in 


the same manner until the whole selection is mastered. This being 
done, the individual units can be woven together. Again let us say, 
practice each unit, bind the successive units together, but always 
by recall and not by repeating impression. Such is the practice 
that counts. Trust the first impression and your memory will serve 
you well. 

4. Classify : learn by thinking. Thinking is meeting new diffi- 
culties with deliberation and solving them. If it is a new fact, a 
stroke, a phrase, a difficult fingering, note its relation to what you 
already know or can do. Recognition of this relationship is the 
bond that ties the new to the old, which is the act of learning. 
Intelligent learning consists largely in effective classification. 
Therefore, fit each new experience into its relationships to what 
you already have; that is, classify it deliberately with great preci- 
sion and with as full meaning as possible. 

The botanist can recognize and recall thousands of plants be- 
cause he has the habit of seeing relationships. One plant is like 
another in this and that respect; therefore, it belongs to the same 
class. Instead of remembering the thousands of individual plants, 
the botanist remembers them by types and relationships, each 
within the class to which it belongs. So it is in music. Note the 
relationship of the new experience, classify it in the first impression, 
and it will be yours. For this reason, the first impression should be 
very deliberate and should be lingered upon until the details and 
character of its meaning are adequately recognized. To the student 
who is accustomed merely to grind away, it is difficult to realize 
what a short cut to learning this principle furnishes. It is the 
key to most of the systems of memory training which have been 
famous from time to time in the past. 

6. Cultivate concrete imagery. We see, hear, taste, touch, or 
smell an object in its presence; we may recall it and see, hear, 
taste, touch, or smell it in mental image. For example, last night 
I heard a song; at this moment I can close my eyes and hear it, 
noting in great detail the characteristics of the rendition. Full, 
vivid, and accurate mental imagery is one of the most outstanding 
characteristics of a musical mind. It is this that enables the musi- 
cian to live in a tonal world. He occasionally hears or performs music, 
but far more frequently images it either in recall or in anticipation. 

Now our rule in making the first impression is to note details 
that aid in classification so that they come back faithfully repro- 

LEARNING IN Music 153 

duced in the mental image. This concrete and faithful imagery is 
most essential in the first recall, immediately after the first impres- 
sion, but imagery is closely related to fantasy and fantasy is one of 
the best aids to memory in that it gives us striking, interesting, odd, 
and lasting impressions which aid in recall. Tie the mental image of 
each impression to the next by making a sort of concrete story as 
you go along. By this method it is possible for a person of average 
memory to learn a list of 50 or 100 words after a single hearing so 
that they may be repeated in the correct order. 

I asked someone to call out slowly 10 words which apparently 
had no connection. He gave me the words "boy," "grass," "glass," 
"pike," "scissors," "ventilation," "bird," "nickel," "fury," and 
"gear"; and this was the way my first impression was met and 
strengthened by concrete imagery. As the words were recalled I 
had this experience: 

Boy I see a little barefoot boy 

Grass walking in the tall grass; 

Glass the stalks of grass crackle like glass under his feet: 

Pike therefore he is glad when he sees the open pike. 

Scissors His little legs clip like scissors, 

Ventilation and his lungs get good ventilation, 

Bird for he flies like a bird 

Nickel and swings his nickel-plated rod 

Fury like fury 

Gear because he is now in gear with nature. 

Thus, you see, to recall the words in the proper order I had only 
to recall my story woven into concrete imagery. Sometimes the 
more ridiculous, funny, unnatural, the association, the better a 
bond it will be. Any relationship that is striking becomes a good bond. 

Teachers of children often use devices to arouse this play atti- 
tude; but the gift of doing this well is a personal one, and you should 
cultivate your own type of imagery as a tool in learning. As a 
matter of fact this is the way we learn in daily life. You remember 
Mr. Jones because he made you think of a bulldog, or Mr. Smith 
because he made you think of a peacock. At the time, you see the 
bulldog and the peacock in concrete mental imagery. 

6. Build larger and larger units. At certain advanced stages 
we learn by wholes, but the best rule for learning in general is 
to learn one small specific thing at a time; then weave these larger 
units together, and so on, until the task is completed. In doing this 
you acquire the power to learn in larger and larger units. Take 


the analogy of learning to read. The child first learns to see in- 
dividual letters, to associate these with sounds, to weave the sounds 
into words, the words into phrases, the phrases into clauses, clauses 
into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, paragraphs into the 
topic as a whole. As he learns to read, reading becomes easier 
because he reads in larger and larger units. This is exactly parallel 
to sight reading in music, to the performing of music, and to the 
interpretation of music. 

7. Practice only by recall. This was implied in rule three but is 
so important that we must let it stand out in a rule by itself. If 
you build in small units in which the first impression is trusted and 
immediately recalled in vivid imagery, a progressive mastery of 
such units should enable you to practice what has been learned 
from memory without looking it up again or being retold. Doing 
this is the test of whether or not you are trusting your memory. 
Memory is like a friend; trust him and he will be true to you. This 
rule requires a careful planning and a well-sustained policy in order 
that you may not have any difficulty in practicing by recall instead 
of by impression. 

8. Rest economically. So far our rules force the concentration of 
effort in doing a thing incisively in the first instant. Such effort 
cannot be long sustained; but it carries its own reward and more in 
that, when your effort has been efficiently concentrated in success- 
ful attacks, you will have accomplished in a very short time what 
the happy-go-lucky methods would take a very long time to do, and 
you are therefore entitled to rest. 

Rest should be distributed throughout a learning process so as 
to occur in short periods after each small unit that is mastered and 
in longer and longer periods in proportion to the size of the unit 
that is mastered. Thus, instead of practicing a selection by the rote 
method for two hours, work by spurts, allowing yourself complete 
relaxation after each unit, and you will have accomplished your 
task in but a small fraction of the hour, will have had periodic 
relaxation, and will have the remainder of the period for entire 
freedom. The ability to do this is an art which not only saves time in 
learning but develops those traits of personality in which you show 
yourself master of the situation. 

Many a music student becomes a nervous wreck from ill- 
adjusted study methods in the violation of this rule. Many a 
student becomes disgusted with music because he cannot learn by 

LEARNING IN Music 155 

dull drudgery. The command to rest is fully as important as the 
command to work in effective learning, and in general we say, 
"Work while you work, and play while you play." 

9. Recognize what is learned and express it in action. Recog- 
nize your friend and he will recognize you ; cut your friend and he 
will cut you. Recognize the thing once learned as it functions in 
your life and keep it alive; be slovenly and negligent about its daily 
role, and it will cut you. 

When, as a child, you learned to walk, the best way of retaining 
that skill was to walk. So when you have acquired a skill of insight, 
knowledge, feeling, action, or interpretation of music, keep it alive 
in action. Do not merely think about it. Treat your music as a good 
friend; speak to him, work with him, play with him, laugh with him, 
do something for him. Let music function in your life. 

10. Review in cycles. Certain types of knowledge, skill, facility, 
and efficiency need to be reviewed systematically. This is well 
recognized in the organization of teaching of arithmetic in the 
grades. A certain process is repeated at higher levels at larger and 
larger intervals by the practice of recall or performance. In such 
review, the essentials should stand out progressively more clearly. 
In any account of learning, we acquire a lot of incidental accretions 
in matters of no consequence. One condition of memory is the 
power to forget the nonessential or irrelevant. The cycle of review 
should tend to eliminate these and let the permanently valuable 
stand out in higher relief. 

11. Build each new acquisition into a habit. As we grow we 
acquire more and more power to do things automatically. The 
boy who is just learning to tip his hat to ladies and elders does it 
laboriously, grudgingly, and awkwardly. No one is polite unless he 
is polite by his very nature. No one acts musically until the tech- 
niques have been shoved back into the subconscious where. they 
take care of themselves as habits. No one can read music or play or 
sing until the fundamental facts and skills have been converted into 
habits which function without fail in progressively larger integra- 
tions. Only then can a singer sing with feeling and abandon; only 
then can the pianist pick up a complicated score and play it at 
sight; only then can the conductor inspire unified effort in the 
artistic playing of the ensemble. 

Historically, there have been two schools of teachers: those who 
cultivate conscious attention on a specific element or process in- 


volved at a given stage in musical training, and those who take the 
opposite view and say, for example, "Sing naturally and with feel- 
ing and pay no attention to how the tone is produced." The 
psychological theory combines these two and says, "At the learning 
stage, be intensely conscious of the element involved in the par- 
ticular that is to be learned, then relegate these elements to habit 
and in musical performance give yourself up to the situation as a 
whole, guided largely by a feelingful intelligence." 

12. Learn at your own level. Great difficulty is involved in class 
instruction in music owing to the diversity of talent in a group. 
While this is a problem of the teacher, it is ultimately your problem 
to see to it that your learning effort is concentrated upon the acqui- 
sition, not of what you would have, but what is within your power 
of acquisition at the time. Refuse to learn what you already know, 
refuse to drill on what you already can perform with skill, insist 
upon the privilege of working at your own natural level so that the 
task that you undertake is neither too easy nor too hard. A kindly 
and sympathetic attitude of this sort will be welcomed by the 
teacher and will result in the enhancement of your musical train- 
ing. Perhaps most frequently this will mean insistence on going 
back and acquiring that which was passed over too lightly in order 
that you may have the background for the making of further 

(To the instructor) 

If we evaluate musical instruction in the public schools in 
terms of the operation of these rules, we shall reveal a most shocking 
waste of time and effort, the formation of demoralizing habits, and 
the deadening of musical interest. There are notable and inspiring 

When music really lives and functions in the school or in the 
individual work, principles of learning, such as those just stated, 
may be seen to develop spontaneously and automatically, often 
without awareness of their existence by pupil or teacher. 

My present appeal is most directly addressed to the teachers of 
public-school teachers in music, because they hold the key situation 
for the advancement of the science of their art. To make the above 
message concrete from the point of view of the teacher, and at the 

LEARNING IN Music 157 

expense of repetition, let us note in particular some of the ways in 
which instruction may be improved on the basis of experimental 
psychology of learning, considering in turn notation, ear training, 
tone production, and sight reading. 

In all these cases the first step is to place responsibility on the 
pupils, requiring them to read, or teaching them in an impressive 
way to observe simple rules or their equivalents, thus establishing 
a cooperative attitude. This of course will place the responsibility 
on the teacher for a constant, never-ceasing, and thorough applica- 
tion of the rules throughout the instruction. Making the student 
want to learn and placing the responsibility on him is the first 
element of successful teaching. 

Notation. Make a specific list of all the items the grade pupils 
should know. Such a list is surprisingly small, particularly if well 
classified. Put it on the blackboard and have them write it down as 
a check list. Teach it all thoroughly as a unit at one stage. For this 
purpose, institute intensive competitive drill. Use memory devices; 
for example, a single rule by which a pupil can tell the key and the 
number of sharps and flats in a signature by the application of the 
rule. Enliven with concrete and striking illustrations. 

This conquest of the whole task as a unit will drive away the 
notation bogey and boredom and the pupil will be spurred on by 
the joy of mastery from the first effort. Keep this notation alive by 
treating each item as a familiar fact daily. So organize instruction 
that the pupil is conscious of the possession of a useful tool which 
he employs for the personal satisfaction and achievement in actual 

Institute cycle reviews by competitive tests at intervals longer 
and longer apart until the permanent retention is assured; but, if 
the previous rule is followed rigorously, this rule will not be needed. 

Do not teach the facts after the first learning; use them, prac- 
tice recall not relearning. 

Last and most important, "Thou that teachest others; teachest 
thou thyself ?" Score your instruction by these rules. 

In other words, let pupil and teacher take aim, hit hard, bag the 
game, and enjoy the dinner. 

Ear training. Point out that there are four and only four 
fundamental things to be learned in musical hearing: the hearing 
of pitch, intensity, time, and timbre. Unless this is recognized, the 
task may seem, to both teacher and pupil, endless and unreasonble 


Illustrate each of these by voice, instrument, or Measures of 
Musical Talent records to isolate each one from the musical situa- 
tion as a whole and make the pupil clearly conscious of what it is 
that he is to hear. Give the pupil a concrete concept of each of these 
four characteristics, first, in isolation, and, second, in the actual 
musical situation. This identification well done is, in large part, the 
accomplishment of the whole task. Then, however, measure the 
capacity of each individual for these factors and give each his rating 
on these four measures. On the basis of this rating (note the basis) 
organize competitive drills in each of the four factors in turn in 
order that each pupil may be treated at his natural level of suc- 
cessful achievement and that no time be wasted in acquiring the 
skill he already possesses. 

As we are here dealing with inborn capacities, the majority 
of pupils will not improve by this training after the concept of 
each item has been made fully clear to them at the first stage. 
This training is only for the refining of knowledge of what the factor 
is, the will to recognize it, the power of application, and the recogni- 
tion of its significance, not in an improvement of the ear as such. 

Do not blame the pupil with a poor ear for his low capacity; 
do not praise the pupil with the superior ear for his fortune. Apply 
the Bible parable of the talents : hold each one responsible for what 
was given to him. 

Keep the ear of the pupil constantly alert to these four factors 
in all training, revealing their significance in the hearing of beauty 
in music. These four elements having been identified, treat in the 
same manner each of the complex processes of hearing, such as 
rhythm, consonance, melody, harmony, and movement, analyzing 
each into its component elements, and hold the ear responsible 
for discriminating identification of what is heard. 

At this level of the complex processes the real ear training takes 
place for the musical and unmusical alike. A command of the power 
of concrete and telling illustration of musical elements is the gift of 
the inspiring teacher. The analysis and the synthetic production of 
rhythm, harmony, and tone quality by the pupils can be made an 
exceedingly interesting game. 

Take moral responsibility for checking your performance in 
ear training by the parable of the talents. 

In the language of the cameraman, encourage the pupil to 
spot the object, focus, snap the camera, develop the picture, and 
show it to friends. 

LEARNING IN Music 159 

Tone production. Base the training in tone production on a 
clear classification of tonal hearing, both the simple and the com- 
plex processes, keeping the pupil clearly conscious at every stage 
about what specific factor is to be mastered. 

Conduct competitive drills for the mastery of one factor at a 
time. In actual singing and playing, use correct technical terminol- 
ogy and drill continually in terms of the definable, solable, and 
controllable factors. This is, of course, contrary to the common 
practice of barely dragging through the selection over and over 
again without becoming conscious of specific failures or successes or 
even knowing the names of them. 

Do not drill the superior pupils on what they already can do; 
do not drill the inferior ones on what, after careful analysis, you are 
convinced they cannot do. At the most, use the superior ones to 
drill the inferior ones. Remember that the greatest returns from 
musical instruction should come from the musical pupils and you 
have no moral right to block their progress for exhibition purposes. 

Use your constructive imagination in developing a pupil's com- 
mand of voice or instrument through a conscious command of each 
element involved until it becomes automatic, in order that later he 
may have at his command a well-organized and serviceable autom- 
atism which is a condition for the expression of feeling in music. 

Make tone production a part of ear training. This has a double 
advantage. It ties up hearing with action and furnishes most excel- 
lent opportunity for the vitalizing of both. 

In the language of the coach, let us say to pupil and teacher 
alike, know your game, keep your eye on the opponent, hit hard, 
and make no false moves. 

Sight reading. Sight reading is a combination of notation, ear 
training, and tone production and furnishes continual training in all. 

Organize drills on the basis of capacity for achievement. A class 
may be divided into small squads for which pupil leadership is 
based upon capacity for command of the situation. 

Pass by natural stages from the mechanics of sight reading to 
the singing and playing for pleasure and the preparation of reper- 
toires. Remember that after all music is, for the great majority, an 
avocational interest; something that we do for the joy of doing it. 

Introduce progressively the esthetics of music, always in terms 
of the media of tonal hearing, tone production, and sight reading, 
showing that the feeling of music and the expression of feeling in 
music are not beyond description and understanding. 


Bear particularly in mind the principle of establishing habits 
without allowing exceptions, the principle of practicing recall 
instead of relearning, and the principle of measuring the task for 
each pupil in terms of capacity for achievement. 

Make the goal of the striving the integration of skills which 
furnish the medium through which the musical mind may express 
itself with unhampered feeling. 

Keep the pupil in the position of an artist who has his colors and 
brushes, the skill to use them, an object or ideal to paint, and 
expresses himself in the picture. 


V^ERHAPS the most outstanding mark of the musical mind is 
-t^auditory imagery, the capacity to hear music in recall, in 
creative work, and to supplement the actual physical sounds in 
musical hearing. This subject has received too little attention 
in recent years, largely owing to the extreme behavioristic attitude 
which ignores the existence of the mental image and partly owing 
to the fact that it is a phenomenon whic^n does not lend itself 
accurately to psychophysical measurements. jFor the latter reason 
it is usually, but unfortunately, omitted in testing programs for 
the analysis of musical talent. Personally, I am, however, disposed 
to give it a central place and to expect the most immediate and 
helpful leads from an informal inventory of the use of mental 


The significance of auditory imagery may perhaps be best 
recognized through its analogy to the visual imagery of the sculptor 
find the painter. A sculptor who has no good visual imagery is a 
mere mechanic, modeling by measurements. The visualizing sculp- 
tor not only models from memory, often a single impression, but he 
sees in anticipation the expression, the type, the temperament, 
the "soul" which his creation is to embody. He sees in anticipation 
not only the model as a whole, but in terms of the minutest detail 
of fact or fidelity, of idealization or action. These features come to 
him in turn as the creation grows in his mind, often during the days 
and weeks before the first act of modeling or chiseling is begun. 

In this wise he lives himself into his character so that the final 
work of art in a human bust portrait becomes not only a living 



and true representation of the subject, but also the embodiment of 
the artist's ideals ways of conceiving, interpreting, mood, favorite 
snapshot of the subject in action, or responses and as modes and 
models or trial sketches gradually take shape, the material shapes 
are critically compared and modified in adjustment to the imaged 
creation. The creation is first imaginal. The statue is a representa- 
tion of the image, that is, the image gradually built up to represent 
the subject faithfully in a mood, pose, or action representing the 
artist's conception of his subject. At each stage the imaginal inven- 
tion precedes the material treatment. The visual image is the 
working tool of the artist's imagination. Without it his workman- 
ship would be condemned to mediocrity. 

These same principles apply to the workmanship of the painter, 
and the analogy is perhaps faithful to an adequate account of 
creative power in music. It has been argued that some musicians 
do not have this power and the reply is, it has been found that some 
musicians are not musical. Certainly some do not have creative 
power, either in invention or in interpretation of music, and the 
absence of such power often correlates with the absence of musical 
imagery, just as the absence of visual imagery often correlates 
with mediocrity in painting and sculpture. 


^ Normal individuals probably differ more in capacity and mode 
of the utilization of mental imagery than in any other mental 
capacity. I say "probably" because we have no comprehensive 
measurements. Of two equally intelligent normal persons, one may 
have the capacity to recall tones or to anticipate tones as clearly 
as if they were actually sounded at the moment, and the other may 
say with equal certainty that he cannot image any tone at all in 
its physical absence. Between these two extremes, normal persons 
are distributed on a scale showing relatively few cases near the 
extremes and a tendency to bunch toward medium abilities. Em- 
ploying the rating scale from The Psychology of Musical Talent 1 * 7 
in which, under certain experimental conditions the observers re- 
port as follows: 0, no image at all; 1, very faint; 2, faint; 3, fairly 
vivid; 4, vivid; 5, very vivid; and 6^ as vivid as in perception, 
reports were obtained from three classes of observers as shown in 
Fig. 1, where the degree of vividness is indicated by the numbers at 
the bottom and the percentage of cases at each level is indicated at 



the side. In this figure, the dot-dash line represents musicians, the 
dash line psychologists, and the solid line unselected adults and 
children. Unselected adults and children proved to give the same 
distribution, and for that reason they are shown in one curve, but 
the significant thing for our present purpose is the very marked 
distinction between musicians and psychologists, psychologists 
being taken as representative of scientists. Fifty-five per cent of the 
musicians maintained that their auditory imagery could be as clear 
and vivid as in actual perception of the physical tone, and there is a 
tendency among all musicians to rate themselves high, whereas the 
psychologists, in spite of their professional training in the observa- 
tion of imagery, rate themselves comparatively low. When we bear 






6 C 


2Y . 


FIG 1. 

4 3 2 

Vividness of the image 

-Distribution of ratings in tonal auditory imagery. (Agnew.*) Solid line, unselected 
adults and children; dot-dash line, musicians, dash line, psychologists. 

in mind that there are inherited tendencies of capacity for mental 
imagery, it would seem clear that we have here a basis of selection 
for musicianship. 

This difference in capacity for imagery has played a large role 
in the development of the school of psychological behaviorism, 
represented largely by persons in whom mental imagery plays no 
important role, even to the extent that many of them deny or 
question its reality. I have never known a highly musical-minded 
person to be a radical behaviorist one who refuses to assign an 
important role to mental imagery. 

In fact these large individual differences in capacity for mental 
imagery are at the foundation for the choice in vocations, and 
especially avocations when well considered. This difference takes 
live trends; for example, a person with strong visual imagery and 


weak auditory imagery tends to fall into activities in which his 
visual imagery is a distinct asset, as in graphic and plastic arts. 

A study of the role of imagery in the minds of composers, as 
shown in their letters and autobiographies, throws much light on 
this situation. As evidence of this type of testimony, we may 
select certain expressions from the writings of Schumann, Mozart, 
Berlioz, and Wagner, taken as representative because of their 
unquestioned standing as composers. It should be borne in mind 
that at the time these composers wrote, the term mental images 
was not in current use. In fact, Galton's famous work on this 
subject had not yet reached their ears except possibly in the 
case of Wagner. They were, therefore, compelled to account for 
their experience in various descriptive forms based upon their 
immediate experience and couched in improvised terminology. In 
order to identify some of these terms, they are italicized in the 
following quotations from the gleanings made by Agnew. 95 

R. Schumann 

From Music and Musicians, translated by F. R. Hitter. Second Series. 
London: William Reeves. 

"For two long hours this motif rang in my ears' 9 (p. 239). 

"He who has once heard Henselt can never forget his playing; these pieces 
still haunt my memory like the recollection of a parterre of flowers" (p. 236). 

"Though the inner musical hearing is the finer one, the spirit of realization has 
its rights; the clear, living tone has its peculiar effects" (p. 177). 

"In the pauses of the pianoforte part I am nearly always able to imagine the 
filling out of the other instruments" (p. 180). 

"I have sung the work over as finely as possible in imagination" (p. 450). 

"What the mere fingers create is nothing but mechanism; but that which you 
have listened to when it resounded within your own bosom will find its echo in the 
hearts of others" (p. 283). 

"The creative imagination of a musician is something very different, and 
though a picture, an idea may float before him, he is only then happy in his 
labor when this idea comes to him clothed in lovely melodies, and borne by the 
same invisible hands that bore the 'golden bucket,' spoken of somewhere by 
Goethe" (p. 60). 

"We advise him not to write at his instrument, but to endeavor rather to 
bring his forms from within than to draw them from without" (p. 500). 
. From Music and Musicians. First Series. As above. 

"I turned over the leaves vacantly; the veiled enjoyment of music which one 
does not hear has something magical in it" (p. 4). 

"They will be understood by those who can rejoice in music without the 
pianoforte those whose inward singing almost breaks their hearts" (p. 263). 


"He is a good musician, who understands the music without the score, and 
the score without the music. The ear should not need the eye, the eye should not 
need the (outward) ear" (p. 63). 

"In a word, the scherzo of the symphony seemed to me too slow, the rest- 
lessness of the orchestra, trying to be at ease with it, made this very observable. 
Yet what dost thou in Milan care about it all? And I as little, since at any 
moment I can imagine the scherzo as it ought to be played" (p. 38). 

"It is a pleasant sign if you can pick out pretty melodies on the keyboard; 
but if such come to you unsought, rejoice, for it proves that the inward sense 
of time pulsates within you" (p. 147). 

"When you begin to compose, do it all with your brain. Do not try the piece 
at the instrument until it is finished. If your music proceeds from your heart, it 
will touch the hearts of others" (p. 417). 

"People err when they suppose that composers prepare pens and paper with 
the predetermination of sketching, painting, expressing this or that. Yet we must 
not estimate outward influences too lightly. Involuntarily an idea sometimes 
develops itself simultaneously with the musical fancy; the eye is awake as well 
as the car, and this ever-busy organ sometimes holds fast to certain outlines amid 
all the sounds and tones, which, keeping pace with the music, form and condense 
into clear shapes. The more elements congenially related to music which the 
thought or picture created in tones contains within it, the more poetic and 
plastic will be the expressiveness of the composition; and in proportion to the 
imaginativeness and keenness of the musician in receiving these impressions will be 
the elevating and touching power of his work" (pp. 250-251). 

From Early Letters. Originally published by his wife. Translated by May 
Herbert. London: Bell, 1888. 

"You think I do not like your 'Idyllen'? Why, I am constantly playing them 
to myself" (p. 293). 

"Sometimes I am so full of music, and so overflowing with melody, that I find 
it simply impossible to write down anything" (p. 81). 

"But if you knew how my mind is always working, and how my symphonies 
would have reached Op. 100, if I had written them down" (p. 81). 

"During the whole of this letter my 'Exercise Fantastique' has been running 
in my head to such an extent that I had better conclude, lest I should be writing 
music unawares" (p. 177). 

"The piano is getting too limited for me. In my latest compositions I often 
hear many things that I can hardly explain" (p. 117). 


From The Life of Mozart, Including His Correspondence. Edward Holmes 
New York: Harper, 1845. 

"When I am, as it were, completely myself, . . . my ideas flow best and most 
abundantly. Whence and how they come, I know not, nor can I force them. Thos* 
ideas that please me I retain in memory and am accustomed, as I have been told, 
to hum them to myself. If I continue in this way, it soon occurs to me how I may 
turn this or that morsel to account so as to make a good dish of it, that is to say, 


agreeably to the rules of counterpoint, to the peculiarities of the various instru- 
ments, etc. 

"All this fires my soul, and, provided I am not disturbed, my subject enlarges 
itself, becomes methodized and defined, and the whole, though it be long, stands 
almost complete and finished in my mind, so that / can survey it, like a fine picture 
or a beautiful statue, at a glance. Nor do I hear in my imagination the parts suc- 
cessively, but I hear them, as it were, all at once (gleich alles zusammeri). What a 
delight this is I cannot tell! All this inventing, this producing, takes place in a 
pleasing, lively dream. Still, the actual hearing of the tout ensemble is, after alJ, 
the best. What has been produced thus I do not easily forget, and this is perhaps 
the best gift I have my Divine Maker to thank for. 

" When I proceed to write down my ideas, I take out of the bag of my memory, 
if I may use that phrase, what has previously been collected into it in the way I 
have mentioned. For this reason the committing to paper is done quickly enough, 
for everything is, as I said before, already finished, and it rarely differs on paper 
from what it was in my imagination" (pp. 329-330). 


From The Life of Hector Berlioz, as Written by Himself in his Letters and 
Memoirs. Translated by Katharine F. Boult. New York: E. P. Button, 1923. 

"If I had any paper I would write music to this exquisite poem; I can hear it' 1 
(p. 117). 

"Two years ago, when there were still some hopes of my wife's recovery, . . . 
7 dreamt one night of a symphony. 

"On awakening I could still recall nearly all the first movement, an allegro in 
A minor. As I moved towards my writing-table to put it down, I suddenly 

" 'If I do this, I shall be drawn on to compose the rest . . . ' With a shudder of 
horror, I threw aside my pen, saying: 

"'Tomorrow I shall have forgotten the symphony. 9 

"But no! Next night the obstinate motif returned more clearly than before 
I could even see it written out. I started up in feverish agitation, humming it 
over and again my decision held me back, and I put the temptation aside. I 
fell asleep and next morning my symphony was gone forever" (p. 225). 

"Last night I dreamt of music, this morning 7 recalled it all and fell into one of 
those supernal ecstasies . . . All the tears of my soul poured forth as I listened 
to those divinely sonorous smiles that radiate from the angels alone. Believe me, 
dear friend, the being who could write such miracles of transcendent melody would 
be more than mortal" (p. 232). 


From My Life (Authorized Translation). New York: Dodd, Mead, 1911. 

"My whole imagination thrilled with images; long-lost forms for which I had 
sought so eagerly shaped themselves ever more and more clearly into realities that 
lived again. There rose up soon before my mind a whole world of figures, which 
revealed themselves as so strangely plastic and primitive, that, when I saw them 


clearly before me and heard their voices in my heart, I could not account for the 
almost tangible familiarity and assurance in their demeanor" (p. 314) 

In these composers, recognized as representative musicians, 
the testimony is clear to the effect that they lived in a tonal world 
(auditory imagery). This tonal world is realistic, concrete, penetrat- 
ing, and serviceable. They have the power to hear music in anticipa- 
tion and in recall. They can select out for hearing particular tone 
qualities in the manner that the organist manipulates his stops. 
The mental hearing is frequently regarded as of larger resource and 
possibilities than the actual hearing. It is certainly resorted to far 
more frequently than the actual hearing. From the testimony, we 
see how they actually proceed in composing. 

Although we have not collected evidence of the kind, it seems 
probable that, if we should take the great artists as interpreters 
in singing or playing, we should probably find analogous testimony; 
for, after all, voice and instrument give us only feeble cues to the 
sort of thing that the superior "mind's ear" can hear. A few quota- 
tions from letters written by recognized American musicians, 
secured by the author for Agnewf will indicate their opinion as to 
the use of mental imagery. 

"Vivid auditory imagery would seem to make the musically sensitive." 

"The difference shows the degree of true musicianship." 

"I consider distinct and definite auditory imagery very important. I strive 
to develop it in my pupils. With its development comes greater technical accuracy 
and better interpretation." 

"Auditory imagery is a necessary factor in the higher appreciation of musical 

"The quality of the musician and the soundness of his aesthetic judgment 
depend, it seems to me, in large measure on his subjective audition." 

"Significance attached to such differences depends upon whether the student 
has talent for composition or whether he is merely an interpreter." 

"The more musical pupils have the clearer image." 

"I aim at the auditory image from the start. Those having clearest imagery 
perform most artistically and only as they gain this ability, is music of real cul- 
tural value." 

"Those who are strong on imagery memorize easily." 

" Some students are more awake to musical impressions than others. Students 
differ in self -consciousness and the less self-conscious they are, the freer they are 
to hear the music mentally." 

"Those who have it not should desert music at once." 

"The matter of tonal imagery is a vital one in musical training and education. 
Together with the ability to hear tones and sense rhythms through the eye while 
looking at symbols, this power of mental hearing is fundamental and absolutely 


vital in music education, not only for the singer, the player, and the composer, but 
for the intelligent listener as well." 

"I have laid stress with my pupils upon developing auditory imagery and 
urge them to study new pieces away from the piano at first." 

"I consider the development of this faculty a highly important function of 
musical education which has been woefully neglected thus far." 

" You have found probably the weakest spot in present-day musical training. 
I think nearly all children possess the faculty in rudimentary form, with great 
possibilities of development; but the training should begin early, and continue 
throughout the entire course. The results would be manifold: (1) more composers 
and better; (2) better interpreters; (3) more intelligent listeners, whose enjoyment 
of music would not only be heightened, but prolonged." 


While the musical medium in mental imagery is the auditory 
image, imagery through each and all of the other senses may func- 
tion in a very prominent way in music. The above quotation from 
Wagner illustrates his procedure of visualizing the dramatic situa- 
tion as a whole, perhaps with eyes closed in a quiet room, living 
through the scene that is to be represented as it comes to him 
through all the avenues of sense. The testimony of great musicians 
shows them to be peculiarly capable of reliving a situation or living 
it in anticipation as a whole. Therefore, although supplementary 
imagery may not be essential, high general capacity in all mental 
imagery is an advantage to a musician. 

But there is one in particular, the significance of which is 
but little understood, and that is motor imagery. In motor imagery, 
we act and feel the action. This is best illustrated in the case of 
the dream. In a vivid dream, the dreamer does not think the dream 
or imagine it in the usual sense. The dreamer is always the actor 
or an active observer of action. Therefore, when he dreams himself 
singing, he has all the experience of performing that comes through 
the kinesthetic (motor) sense; that is, in mental imagery he lives 
through the same sort of action that he would experience if he were 
actually singing. Now in imaging music in waking life, when the 
composer or, in rarer cases, the interpreter has an inspiration, he 
tends to fall into a sort of dream attitude in which he becomes 
oblivious to actual environment and creates within this tonal 
world a full setting in action. 

The motor image, like the experience of action, is the raw mate- 
rial from which emotion is built up. The musician speaks of being 


moved, thrilled, heart- touched, out of himself, carried away, etc., 
always referring to the emotional situation created by the feeling or 
imaging of action. Although this has not been investigated thor- 
oughly, case study of motor imagery will probably show that this 
is the outstanding characteristic of a musical temperament respon- 
siveness to the musical situation. 


From the above, it is clear that the mental image, and particu- 
larly the auditory and motor images, operates in music in the follow- 
ing three ways : (1) in the hearing of music; (2) in the recall of music; 
and (3) in the creation of music. 

What a listener shall hear in music depends upon what he is, 
or is capable of putting into it, that is, hearing into it. Hearing 
is not a mere registering of sounds. It is a positive, active process 
of reconstruction in the mind of the listener. This may take the 
form of enrichment by analyzing and supplementing the objective 
sounds, or it may take the form of negative reaction, "hearing" 
elements of ugliness and countless irrelevant factors which color 
the interpretation of what is being heard. In the highest form of 
appreciative listening, we approach the attitude of ecstasy in which 
the actual sounds of the tones merely furnish the cues for the 
mental reconstruction that proceeds from the mind of the listener. 
To a person who is not capable of imagery, there can be no genuine 
music, because, like the lines in the crayon sketch, the tones by 
themselves, however accurately heard, furnish at the best a mere 
skeleton for hearing. In this lies a large part of the lack of capacity 
for appreciating music and the explanation of the necessity for 
mere formal obeisance to the social functions and amenities attach- 
ing to music. 

Musical imagery is necessary in all forms of musical memory. 
In vivid musical memory we relive the music. The person who does 
not have the capacity to do so may recall in abstract terms; such as 
the musical notation or even the most refined logical concepts of 
elements in performance and musical criticism. But these are only 
the cold facts. He does not relive the music. He does not feel those 
organic responses which come from the re-reverberations of the 
tones in the music at the moment of the recall. He may recall the 
exact nature of the elements of beauty, the motif, and the forms of 
treatment, and give a complete account of a high order as a musical 


critic, but, if he does not relive it concretely, the recall is musically 

The little triggers in his autonomic nervous system which we 
call the glands of internal secretion are not tripped off by cold 
ideas; and the result is that the organism as a whole often is not 
thrown into effective response, which is the condition for the feeling 
of musical emotion. That is, the nonemotional person can recall 
the cold facts, but these facts are not the essence of music, the 
welling up of the musical emotion. The reason for this is simple 
enough. In the performance, it was the concourse of sounds that 
played upon the whole organism and stirred the musical emotions 
by throwing the organism as a whole into muscular tension, affect- 
ing digestion, perspiration, pose, stability, breathing, and circula- 
tion; but, if the sounds do not come back in recall, this organic 
reaction will be wanting, and the recall will be cold facts in mechan- 
ical array. 

The image is necessary for realistic anticipation in musical 
thought, especially in relation to creative work. This has been 
amply illustrated in the above section on the testimony from com- 
posers. It may be said that all that is needed for this purpose is 
imagination. Now it is quite possible to have imagination that is of 
the pure, abstract, and cold-fact type, as in certain phases of 
mathematics and philosophy. Scholars in general speak freely of the 
operation of imagination without stopping to describe whether it 
has the experiential aspect of active imagery. We often speak of 
fantasy as if it meant nothing; whereas fantasy the world over has 
always been very realistic in ungovernable excursions into fancied 
realities. The term "imagination" in psychology designates the 
ideal or logical aspect of the mental act, whereas the image desig- 
nates those aspects in which the idea takes on, to some extent, a live 
aspect of actual realization. 


While the tendency to live in the world of representation which 
we call imagery in a vivid, precise, and indispensable manner is 
unquestionably an inherited trait with marked individual differ- 
ences, it is equally true that, given a natural facility for imagining, it 
can be developed both by incidental use and by deliberate training. 
The development of imagery is analogous to the development of 
thinking where there is a natural, inherited capacity in this direc- 


tion. The development consists largely in forming the habit of 
noting relationships which become fixed in memory so that when a 
situation is anticipated or recalled the image presents it in accurate 
and vivid detail. 

In the second place, it is due to growing information, knowledge, 
learning, ideas, and ideals to be imaged. We say of perception that 
what a man shall see or hear depends upon what he is certainly 
upon what he knows and wants to know, and upon his necessity of 
knowing it for practical purposes. The same is true of the image, but 
to an even greater extent, on the ground of its larger availability. 
The opportunity for seeing the "Sistine Madonna" is limited by 
conditions of travel; but, having once been seen, it becomes, in a 
sense, a companion in life who may be visited in the mind's eye, 
admired, and perhaps even embellished from time to time with 
ideals of beauty not actually present in the original picture. The 
same is true of hearing a great musician. For those musical minds 
who have heard him, Caruso lives not only in the knowledge about 
his artistic singing, but in the capacity for vivid rehearing of his 

Development of imagery is perhaps analogous to the develop- 
ment of memory. With any given degree of inborn capacity there is 
certain possibility of improvement, and the magnitude of this 
possible improvement increases perhaps in geometric ratio with 
the quality of the inborn capacity; but, as in memory, it is by the 
exercise of his capacity that it grows, and the exercise is facilitated 
by natural ease, which is our inborn talent, and by the service it 
renders in life situations. 


A rating scale for mental imagery should be in every battery of 
measures of musical talent. Such a scale is found in the author's 
Psychology of Musical Talent. 1 * 1 It is different from the regular 
measures in that it is largely subjective. It calls for self -observation 
and is at the best merely a self-rating, a rating under specific 
conditions, which should make it rather significant. This rating is 
often a revelation to the person who takes it because it does show in 
a surprising way how different one may be from other people in 
this respect. One person may have auditory imagery as vivid, 
exact, and stable as the actual perception of the sound; whereas, 


another person equally intelligent may not be able to recognize any 
auditory imagery in his mental life.* 

Types of imagination in music. Elsewhere 137 1 have developed a 
classification of types of musical imagination in terms of which we 
can readily classify musicians with whom we are acquainted. Basic 
types in such a classification are the sensuous, the intellectual, the 
sentimental, the impulsive, and the motor. Any given individual 
may be dominantly of one of these types but ordinarily the per- 
sonality represents the integration of two or more. If well 
developed, such a type may be called the balanced imagination. 

* Jaeobsen has performed a series of fundamental experiments demonstrating 
the operation of mental imagery in purely neurological terms by what is known 
as the action-current technique. By this method physiological psychologists can 
detect and measure the flow of nerve impulses discharging from the brain into a 
muscle. For example, he may tell his subject, "When I say 'go' raise your right 
arm, raise your left arm, kick your right foot, kick your left foot." For each case 
his instruments will show that a certain volley of nerve impulses are discharged 
into the appropriate muscle. To demonstrate the neurological background for a 
mental image he would change the instructions as follows: "When I say 'go' 
imagine don't move but imagine clearly the lifting of your right arm, left 
arm, etc." In a very high percentage of cases he got the appropriate discharge of 
nerve impulses from the brain into the muscles that he got for the actual move- 
ment, but not strong enough to cause the actual movement. When he put the 
measuring instrument on the left arm and said, "liaise your right arm," there 
was no response in the left arm, but when the instrument was attached to the 
right arm the discharge occurred. 



HERE we must face the analysis of a question which has been a 
bogey of the musical profession and the butt for scurrilous 
remark and generally an occasion for exhibiting ignorance about the 
nature of intelligence; namely, Are musicians, as a class, intelligent? 
Let us consider this question from three points of view: 1. Why has 
the question arisen? 2. What is intelligence? 3. How do musicians 


The question has arisen as a result of a number of outstanding 
aspects of the musical situation which we may note in the following : 

Musical education. Until recently, musical education has been 
narrow, formulated and controlled from an artistic point of view 
alone. This has been regarded as a necessity because the highest 
achievements in music are often gained at the expense of sacrifice 
of other education. It is illustrated in the character of music schol- 
arship, music teachers, musical degrees, musical leadership. The 
iionmusical world has, therefore, made the pronouncement that 
musicians as a class do not get the privilege of an intellectual life, 
do not develop sympathies with science, history, or philosophy, or 
marked ability in these fields. In this there is a large element of 
truth; but the situation is being redeemed by the modern recogni- 
tion of music as a legitimate part in the academic curriculum, as it 
was in ancient Greece when music was recognized as one of the 
learned arts. 

The esthetic attitude. The lifework of the musician is that of 
creative art. He lives in a world of images, imagination, fiction, and 
fancy, as contrasted with the rest of the population which, sup- 



posedly, lives in a world of facts and objects. This, again, is true and 
to a certain extent necessary and commendable, but there is dan- 
ger of counting it against intelligent behavior. 

Poetic intuition. Insofar as a musician exhibits insight and learn- 
ing, he tends to develop a life of poetic intuition. It is generally 
admitted that great poets express profound truths often transcend- 
ing the realms of science or philosophy, and that these are reached 
through a sort of inspiration and are expressed in figurative lan- 
guage, the effectiveness of which depends upon the outsider's 
ability to put himself in the artistic mood of the poetical situation 
and give reality to the prophetic and highly imaginative revelation. 
This is true to a certain extent and may be justly regarded as an 
indication of the musician's superior understanding of some part of 
the world in which he lives. It tends to make him lonely and to 
capitalize his feeling of superiority as the keeper and master of 
great artistic truths. 

Life of feeling. Musicians as a class are of the emotional type. 
Their job is to play upon feeling, to appreciate, to interpret, and to 
create the beautiful in the tonal realm. To be successful, the 
musician must carry his audience on a wave of emotion often 
bordering on the point of ecstasy. While doing this involves intel- 
ligence and intelligent action, the medium through which he works 
is feeling, not factual material objects or abstract philosophies. 
This, again, is to a large extent necessary and to be commended. 
The musical mind comes into the world with an hereditary bent in 
this direction. 

Social detachment. As a result of the above four' situations, the 
musician is often found to be impractical, unadapted for business, 
industry, or logical pursuits which have social significance. He 
specializes so highly in his emotional control of the social group and 
of his own affairs that he becomes the butt of criticism from persons 
who regard themselves as successful in practical life, and especially 
in regard to science and common sense. This is one of the penalties 
of specialization which should be borne with patience, but hardly 
with pride. 

Musical prodigies. It is a notorious fact that some children are 
born with a sort of flair for one-sided development in the astonish- 
ing exhibition of certain types of musical skill, entirely unsupported 
by ordinary intelligence, reason, or ability to make practical 
adjustments. History reveals records of musical prodigies who, from 

THINKING IN Music 175 

the point of view of intelligence, are correctly classified as morons. 
They are found in institutions for the feeble-minded and in all 
society, even that of the successful public entertainer. These are 
sports. They are rare, and yet they throw much light on the matter 
of musical talent and the marvelous resources that nature exhibits 
for self-expression. 

Musical genius. We speak of a musical prodigy when music 
exhibits itself as a spontaneous outbreak in the life of the child and 
results in very exceptional achievement. We speak of musical 
genius when the same type of spontaneous exhibition is carried on 
a higher plane, even beyond that obtainable by the most highly 
educated. While the term "genius" may be applied to a life de- 
veloped in balanced proportions, as that of Paderewski, the most 
conspicuous geniuses of music have been one-sided, unbalanced, and 
impractical. Such geniuses have appeared particularly in the 
exhibition of technical skill in performance, but also, though rarely, 
at the creative level. At the latter stage, they are analogous to the 
mathematical genius or the genius for invention, but they live a 
life of isolation which brands them as often lacking in common 
intelligence, in spite of the fact that their acts in their field of 
achievement are superintelligent. 

Temperament. All the above characteristics seem to come to a 
focus in musical temperament which is characterized by the 
fact that it represents a life of impulse and feeling, extreme sensi- 
tivity and capacity for a high degree of specialization. It frequently 
results in frictions and clashes with the established order. The 
musical temperament is essential to the musical life, but it is often 
cultivated artificially and most of the opprobrium attached to it 
pertains to this affectation which may penetrate into each and 
every aspect of the musical life in society. Jastroiv^ in his Qualities 
of Men gives a masterly analysis of this problem. 


In answer now to the primary inquiry, it is necessary for us to 
ask: What constitutes musical intelligence? There is great diversity 
of opinion as to the meaning of intelligence. There are scores of 
definitions and terms, each representing some more or less limited 
aspect of the function. According to Stoddard and Wellman's 1 * 6 
most recent analysis, a person is intelligent to the extent that he is 
given habitually to behavior which is characterized by: (1) diffi- 


culty; (2) complexity; (3) abstractness; (4) economy; (5) adaptive- 
ness to goal; (6) social value; and (7) emergence of originals. Let 
us apply these criteria to the intelligent behavior of the musician. 

Difficulty. All intelligent behavior pertains to the solving of 
problems, not only the problems in abstract, logical situations, but 
all sorts of problems in daily life which pertain to effective adjust- 
ment. The capacity, will, and persistence shown in attacking diffi- 
cult problems are a mark of intelligence. The more intelligent a 
person is, the more difficult problems he is ready and willing to 

Complexity. A problem may be difficult but simple. The ability, 
willingness, and success in dealing with problems of increasing 
complexity through sustained deliberation are marks of intelligence. 

Abstractness. The successful solution of problems involving 
increasing difficulty and complexity is characterized by the ability 
to deal with them in abstract symbols, ordinarily spoken of as 
concepts and judgments in the act of reasoning. 

Economy. The ability to accomplish the most mental tasks in 
the least time is a mark of intelligence. Intelligent behavior is not a 
matter of trial and error, but consists in the economic and logical 
utilization of the insight resulting in premises based on previous 

Adaptiveness to goal. Seeing the problem, anticipating the 
solution, and adhering to the blue print, figuratively speaking, are 
marks of intelligent behavior. 

Social value. Limiting the pursuit of problems to those which 
have social value is a mark of intelligent behavior and distinguishes 
it from equally difficult, complex, abstract, economic, and planned 
activities in all degrees of insanity or sporadic behavior. 

The emergence of originals. The discovery of new and funda- 
mental truths by a process which is verifiable is the highest achieve- 
ment of intelligent behavior. 

If this analysis is right, we come to the conclusion that intelli- 
gent behavior is a solution of problems of increasing difficulty, 
complexity, abstractness, necessity for economy, social value, and 
the discovery of truth. Now it is evident that these are all situa- 
tions which the musician must meet to the extent that he is a 
rational being. Musical life demands intelligent experience and 
intelligent behavior in the processes of maturation, education, and 
the entire, serious pursuit of the art. 

THINKING IN Music 177 

This intelligence is based upon both hereditary and environ- 
mental factors, and in the total population we find that there are 
enormous differences due purely to heredity and other differences 
due entirely to environment. The maturing personality is a product 
of both. Therefore, when we say that one person is more intelligent 
than another, we should take into account the raw material in the 
form of capacity furnished by heredity and the molding of the 
material through maturation in experience and training. It is a 
commonplace observation that a person's status in life is deter- 
mined in large part by the degree and kind of intelligence. This is 
strikingly illustrated by elaborate statistics which came out of the 
mental testing program in the army. 

In predicting success in musical education, we must always take 
intelligence into account. Thus, daring the 10-year experiment in 
the Eastman School of Music, Stanton 11 * employed what was known 
as a comprehension test. Rating on this single test has proved a very 
valuable index to the degree of achievement that may be predicted 
for the pupil, should he pursue his musical education. Any good 
intelligence test, however, will answer the purpose. 


After this sketchy survey of the problem, we are now prepared 
to give some tentative replies to the question under consideration : 
On account of the emotional bent and the necessary activities in 
art, musicians live largely in the world of feeling and as a class have 
sacrificed much in intellectual pursuits for their artistic goal. Their 
learning is more contingent upon the feeling of appreciation and 
emotional action than upon facts and reasoning. Therefore, the 
cultivation of scientific and abstract thinking has been generally 
neglected in musical education. On the other hand, the musical 
profession makes as high a demand upon the intelligence as any 
other profession. Rating on intelligence as a supplement to measure- 
ment of musical talent is one of the best indices for the prediction 
of success in musical education or a musical career. The distribution 
of intelligence in musical activities is probably analogous to the 
distribution of intelligence in any field, such as the army, where 
there is a place for the corporal as well as the general. 


IN setting out divisions, such as imagination, memory, intelli- 
gence, and feeling, there is no implication that these are separate 
faculties or parts of the mind. These terms simply characterize 
certain dominant aspects of experience and behavior as a whole. 
All perception involves memory, intelligence, and action; all feeling 
involves perception, imagination, action, etc. The organism always 
responds as a whole, yet in the analysis of the total response, it is 
convenient to isolate dominant characteristics. The most illusive 
of these old concepts of psychology is feeling. 

Perception always has reference to the concrete, the objectively 
definable thinking always deals with concepts, logical and analyza- 
ble; but the affective life is scientifically less tangible and intelligi- 
ble, although it may be the most violently responsive. 

Fundamentally, all action in normal behavior represents either 
attraction or repulsion, liking or dislike, agreeableness or disagree- 
ableness. Music deals with the feeling of agreeableness, liking, and 
attraction, but by contrast of the setting, it must always deal 
with their opposites, the disagreeable, the repulsive, and the 
unattractive, even if only for elimination. 


Musical feeling, like all other feeling, is aroused in proportion 
to a certain sensitiveness to objects, either physical, mental, or 
ideal. A person who is sensitive to a difference of 0.01 of a whole- 
tone step responds to the musical situation in an entirely different 
affective way than the person who cannot hear any less than a 



quarter or a half tone. He will like or dislike only what he can hear, 
and the sensitive person, therefore, has vastly greater occasion for 
affective response to pitch than the person who is not sensitive 
to pitch. This is even more true in the realm of images, ideas, 
and emotions. Images of pitch, memories of pitch, thoughts of 
pitch, emotions aroused by pitch, skills in the performance of 
pitch, all call forth feelings of attraction or repulsion, agreeableness 
or disagreeableness; but the person who is sensitive to pitch has 
vastly greater resources in these higher mental processes than the 
person who is not. In other words, a person who is pitch-conscious, 
likes to hear pitch, is likely to build his memories, ideas, and skills 
in terms of this medium, but always living under the delicate 
balance of seeking the agreeable and attempting to avoid the 

The same is true of the sense of intensity, the sense of time, and 
the sense of timbre. The degree of sensitiveness to one or all of 
these determines the number of objects or experiences to which he 
can respond affectively. The highly sensitive person lives in a vastly 
larger field than the less sensitive, and he is more likely to select his 
pursuits of life in those fields within which he has the greatest 
resources, the largest number of pleasures, the greatest power. This 
is the reason for the quite generally recognized classification of 
musical minds into the tonal, the dynamic, the temporal, and the 
qualitative. The musician may be born with superior capacity in 
one or more of these, and, as a result, he concentrates his interests 
around the use of these capacities in which he has the greatest 

What is true of sensitivity for each of the attributes of hearing is 
true for each of the different sense modalities. The person with high 
sensitivity for color and strong visual imagery tends to find his 
outlets in this field and to be dominantly conscious by responses of 
attraction and repulsion within this field. This is particularly true 
in the stronger feelings, usually called emotions, which result in 
marked outward expression. 


Hearing and sight are the two dominant senses, followed, per- 
haps, by the kinesthetic sense as third in order. The artist in 
graphic and plastic arts tends to live in a visual world ; the musician 
in an auditory world, though never exclusively. Affective situa- 


tions and tendencies toward affective response are increased and 
intensified by the pursuit of a person's fortes. Thus, a musician 
who is of the tonal type develops more and more power of discrimi- 
nation, a richer storehouse of experience, and, therefore, stronger 
affective reactions in music in which melody and harmony, with 
their vast array of variants, play the dominant role; whereas one 
whose forte is in the temporal field enriches his opportunities for 
feeling dominantly in that aspect of music. 


The limits and characteristics of the affective life of a musician 
are set largely by the limits of his intelligence or natural aptness in 
motor skills. What a person shall like or dislike depends upon the 
degree of comprehension that he has. This is not peculiar to music; 
it is true of mathematics, literature, and science. There are very 
few who can develop genuine enthusiasm for Einstein's mathe- 
matics. The limits of affective life are determined also by the 
natural capacity for developing motor skills, as in instrumental 
performance or mastery of voice. 


Since the business of the musician is to produce, to create the 
beautiful, he is always beauty-conscious, or, the reciprocal, ugly- 
conscious. This attitude of expressiveness transfers, so that the 
musician is perhaps more likely than others to be beauty-conscious 
or beauty-expressive in relation to all other things in life, such as 
food, dress, and other comforts. One of the results of this is the 
tendency to develop irritability and oversensitiveness to all sorts 
of situations. The experimental work dealing with such problems is 
extensive but, on the whole, slushy and unsatisfactory. While it may 
be interesting to know what we like or dislike, such inquiries do 
not satisfy scientific curiosity. In Chap. 8, we laid down the 
criteria of scientific experiments in music. If we apply these to the 
semiscientific and so-called practical material in current publica- 
tions on musical feeling, very little will stand the fire test. 

Terms expressive of feeling are dealt with in numerous parts of 
this book. As far as we know, the analysis of feeling for beauty and 
the expression of beauty in the vibrato represent scientific proce- 
dure of the type we must look forward to and follow in the future. 


It reveals quantitatively the factors that make for beauty of tone; 
it identifies the corresponding elements in the feeling for tone and in 
the expression of this feeling. It deals with scientific facts system- 
atically, one at a time. 

Analogous to this is the psychological approach to the problem 
of consonance-dissonance. The documenting of performance scores 
and phrasing scores throughout the present volume contributes 
vast material for the study of how to arouse agreeable feeling in 
music. After all, the psychology of musical feeling hinges upon the 
general psychology of feeling and emotion. The specialist in music 
cannot go far without taking this larger point of view. 



WE may best illustrate the nature and characteristics of timbre 
by considering quantitative descriptions of instruments in 
terms of their timbre spectra. 

The recordings were made in an acoustically treated room which 
we speak of as the "live" room. This "musically acceptable" studio 
is a compromise between a good concert hall and a dead room. The 
timbres here represented embody two aspects of tone production, 
the instrument itself plus the room, as is characteristic of all music. 
The reverberations of the room play an exceedingly important role 
and vary significantly with many factors which it is essential to 
keep as constant as possible in recording. 

Recent experiments show that we obtain different spectra for 
recordings in the dead room from those in the live room for the 
simple reason that here the tone is a tone of the instrument itself 
and is not modified significantly by the room; yet, even in a dead 
room, there are variable factors, such as the relation of the position 
of the player to the microphone. In general, the live room tends to 
reinforce low partials through resonance at the expense of high 
partials. Therefore, the true spectrum for any instrument by itself, 
as recorded in the dead room, shows weaker low partials and 
stronger high partials than in an actual music room. 

It must be clearly understood that all spectra are subject to 
considerable variability depending upon the character of the in- 
strument, the skill of the player, the relative intensity of the 
tone, the resonance of the room, and many other factors. On the 



whole, however, the group of tones presented for each instrument 
may be regarded as fair samples taken under favorable circum- 
stances for recording in a musically acceptable room. 

The tones here presented were recorded and analyzed with the 
Henrici harmonic analyzer (see Frontispiece) by Dr. Donald 
Rothschild. The analysis was carried through 20 partials for each 

The players of the bassoon, the clarinet, the flute, the oboe, and 
the French horn were members of the wood-wind ensemble of 
Bachman's band. The remaining players were soloists from the 
university band. Each performer played the equivalent of an 
arpeggio covering the acceptable range of his instrument. Each tone 
was played twice, once/ and once p, the player being free to inter- 
pret/ and p in the conventional way. 

The description of instruments given in this chapter is restricted 
to the barest identification of the outstanding features which are 
shown in the spectra. A full account of the instrument would, of 
course, take into account historical development, the physical 
principles involved in the construction, various methods of 
energizing, the limits of variability, and many practical observa- 
tions based upon actual performance, as well as upon the musical 
demands. Our main object here is merely to illustrate what a 
quantitative description in terms of timbre shows and means. 

The meaning of harmonic analysis and the methods of graphic 
representation were explained in Chap. 8, to which we may refer 
for explanation of the tables and the figures in the present chapter. 
It will be recalled that the relative significance of a partial is 
expressed in terms of the height of a bar and that the decibel scale 
is preferred over the percentage-of-energy scale because it shows 
degree of perceptibility of each partial. 

The frequency scale is given at the bottom. The fundamental 
pitch of the tone is given for its first partial. Decibels are repre- 
sented on the vertical scale of 30 units. Loud tones are represented 
by solid bars, soft tones by open bars. The small circle indicates 
absence of a partial. 

The first example, the bassoon, will be described in some detail, 
but the remaining examples must pass with bare mention, the 
reader being left to look in the spectra for the answers to numerous 
questions of his own. To supplement the nine instruments in this 
chapter we have further illustrations for the violin in Chap. 18. 


As was explained in Chap. 8, the reading from the harmonic 
analyzer constitutes a table expressing for each partial the per- 
centage of the total energy in the tone that resides in this partial. 
Thus in Table I for the bassoon, we see that the highest tone G 523 
has but three partials in the strong tone and two in the weak. We 
see also that 87 per cent of the strong tone and 96 per cent of the 
weak tone lie in the first partial, the fundamental. On the other 
hand, the lowest tone, E 82, is very rich. The largest portion of 
energy lies in the sixth partial, and the lower partials are relatively 

Please note that the tables are in terms of percentage of energy, 
and the tone spectra in this chapter are in terms of their decibel 
values as in Fig. 2i in Chap. 8. This accounts for the difference 
between the tables and the graphs. Spectra like Fig. 2a in Chap. 8 
could, of course, be made from the tables. In the tables, partials 
which have less than 1 per cent of the energy are not listed, but 
the spectra may show some of them significant. 

Now let us take the concrete facts, stated numerically in Table 
1 and represented graphically in Fig. 1, and see what they tell us 
about the timbre of the bassoon. 


Percentage of energy in each partial 














































P : 


















































49 23 1 1 1 







42 2 1 16 1 







6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 



h i. 










L ,o_ 





I ,. 


*ji j 

J ]j 




1 CSj 





S 67891 2 345 67891 2 
50 KX) WOO 
Cj C 2 Cj C 4 C$ C< 

FIG. 1. The bassoon. 



1. The "bassoon quality " resides in the region of 500 ~, which 
is the dominant resonance region, or formant, for this instrument. 
Sighting vertically in the columns of the spectra, we see that all 
the long bars, representing dominant energy of the tone, tend to 
follow a vertical column directly above 500 ~ for all frequencies. 
None of the partials falls exactly at 500 ~ but it can be seen that 
there is a distinct gravitation of the dominant partials toward that 
point. This grouping of strong partials in one region is explained 
physically by the fact that this is the dominant resonance region of 
this instrument. 

2. The lower the tone the less significant the low partials become. 
Thus the lowest loud tone has 49 per cent of the energy in the sixth 
partial and 23 per cent in the seventh. There is only 2 per cent in the 
fundamental, no energy in the second partial, 9 per cent in the third, 
6 per cent in the fourth, and 9 per cent in the fifth. The same princi- 
ple holds for the next higher tones, 97~, 130~, 163^. Indeed, for 
130~ and 163~ there is no energy in the fundamental, that is, the 
first partial. 

Yet we do hear the fundamental very clearly in these low tones 
as well as in the highest. This is due to the principle we discussed in 
the chapter on Pitch; namely, that low tones have relatively little 
energy in the fundamental, but that in hearing the fundamental is 
reinforced by a series of subjective tones which represent the dif- 
ference tones generated by the other partials. Thus the difference 
between the first and second partials is 82 ~, the difference between 
the second and third is the same, and so on. Each of these generates 
a difference tone, always of the same pitch as the fundamental, so 
that the strength of the fundamental becomes cumulative. That is 
what makes the fundamental stand out so clearly in hearing. Other 
types of subjective tones operate in like manner, each according to 
its own formula. 

3. As the fundamental pitch rises, the tone becomes thin and 
pure, so that for the highest three tones the dominant energy is in 
the first partial for the soft tone: 96 per cent in the highest, 84 per 
cent in the next lower, and 71 per cent in the next lower tone. In the 
bassoon, this is due to the fact that the fundamental for the high 
tones falls within the dominant resonance region of the instrument. 
This is characteristic of many instruments: the higher the tone 


within the register of the instrument, the more nearly it may 
approximate a pure tone. In other words, orchestral instruments 
reveal more of their differences in timbre in their lower registers 
than in their higher registers. 

4. In general, the highest partials, though few, are more con- 
spicuous in high tones than in low tones. 

5. There is an observable difference in the timbre of loud tones 
and soft tones for all parts of the register. Accessory noises and 
inharmonic elements, not here represented, are prominent in the 
strong tones. 

Here we have answered five questions about the beauty of this 
musical instrument in analytical and quantitative terms. The pur- 
pose of the illustration has not been to state all observable facts 
but rather to create a clear picture in the mind of the reader of how 
characteristics of a particular instrument may be studied and 
described. The illustration should give us a clean-cut conception as 
to how the characteristics of an instrument can be defined and in 
what languages we can couch these definitions. Each principle that 
has been demonstrated suggests a variety of other principles which 
might be discussed if space permitted. 

These dry facts may create a vivid and functional sense of 
familiarity with this instrument. Instead of accepting the variety 
of tone qualities as an irrational chaos, this line of reasoning shows 
how science dispels the confusion, by analyzing the tone into its 
component elements, which can be verified by exact measurements 
and described and defined in terms of verifiable concepts. This 
somewhat detailed description and interpretation for the bassoon is 
given as an example of the reading and interpretation of the data. 


Here we have a picture which differs radically from that of the 
bassoon. The most outstanding characteristic is the dominance of 
the fundamental. 

Voxman, 20Ba who has recently made a thorough study of the 
quality of the clarinet tone with recordings in the dead room, has 
reached among others the following conclusions: 

1. There is no evidence of a fixed formant as the determinant of clarinet 

2. There is no consistent concentration of energy in any specific partial. 


3. Both odd- and even-numbered partials exist but the odd-numbered par- 
tials predominate throughout. This predominance decreases with an increase of 
the fundamental frequency. 

4. The acoustic spectrum for a tone of a given frequency is definitely a function 
of the intensity level: the louder the tone played, the more extended is the series 
of overtones and the greater their intensity relative to the fundamental. 

5. For a given dynamic level the relative energy in the fundamental increases 
with frequency. 

6. The lower partials in the spectrum are decidedly weaker when the record- 
ing is made in the dead room than in the live room. 

7. Sonance affects our hearing of the timbre of the clarinet because this 
instrument is exceptionally capable of maintaining a constant wave form in a 
sustained tone played by an artist. 


The French horn has a definite resonance region, spreading from 
200 to 600 ~. The wide and well-balanced spread of partials within 
this region gives the rich and mellow characteristic to the horn. It is 
noticeable that the dominance of this region is so strong that the 
fundamental is practically absent below 150 ~. There is no marked 
consistency in the distribution of energy corresponding to the basic 
loudness of tones. 


This horn has a very rich tone in the middle and the lower 
registers. There are two formant regions, one at 130 to 250 ~ and 
the other around 300 to 800^. The first makes the fundamental 
prominent in the 130, 173, and 220 ~ tones. The second is especially 
marked in the highest three tones. This wide spread of partials gives 
the characteristic richness of this tone, although in the highest 
register a pure tone may be produced. There is a tendency for the 
loud tones to have more energy in higher partials. 


The cornet gives rich tones in all registers. The first partial is 
comparatively weak in the 194 and 294 ~ tones. On the whole, the 
timbre remains fairly uniform throughout all registers. There is a 
tendency for the energy of the louder tones to be shifted to the 
higher partials. 


The trombone closely resembles the French horn in that the 
dominant region is between 200 and 1,000~, without any evidence 


of sharp formants but with a fairly marked peak between 250 
and 500 ~. All fundamentals below 200^ are weak or relatively 
absent. The strong fundamentals in the highest three tones indicate 
the peak response of "the region they represent. There is no con- 
sistent shift of energy for the difference in the loudness of the tones. 


The flute gives the purest and thinnest tone of all orchestral 
instruments. The fundamental contains 100 per cent of the energy 
in the highest tones and there are only five partials in each of the 
lowest two. This perhaps is the characteristic to which we refer 
when we speak of any tone as being flutelike. The pure flute timbre 
is best sustained in soft tones. How radical the change may be for 
loud tones is shown in the first two partials. 


The body of tone lies in the region from COO to 1,500~. The 
very rich and widely spread formant around this region is what 
gives the characteristic of this oboe. 


The tuba has a resonance region between 100 and 300 ~. 
Indeed, for the lowest tone the first and second partials are practi- 
cally absent, the energy lying mainly in the third and fourth. It 
is this region which gives the characteristic tuba tone. In the higher 
registers the tones are strikingly pure and, therefore, identical 
with tones from other instruments in their upper registers. 

It is very tempting to extend this chapter indefinitely because 
it touches upon countless live issues in music and suggests the 
possibility of objective solution, classification, and description. 
Likewise, it is exceedingly tempting to review various issues 
which come up throughout this book in relation to their significance 
in the present illustrations, such as the relative absence of low 
fundamentals, the similarity of instrument and voice, and the 
implications for the building of new instruments. While we have 
attempted to simplify at every turn, we have also shown the danger 
of oversimplification, such as the assumption that a given wave 
form represents a given instrument or remains the same from wave 
to wave. 

Aside from insight into the structure of the tone which harmonic 
analysis has given us, such analysis will be in the future a constant 






1 2 
1 19 
5 24 
3 4 





1 3 










10 7 







1 1 








P : 






































2 1 






44 02110012 






7 1 








7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 





f: 90 



p: 86 




/: 99 


p: 26 




/: 66 




p: 94 



/: 26 




9 2 

p: 77 





/: 14 





p: 10 





/' 1 




4 5 t 

p: 9 




5 1 


/ * 




21 3 1 

p: 11 




11 9 4 1 1 


/ 1 




3 6 41 





15 15 27 8 32 





I 2 3456 7891 

00 1000 

C, C, C 4 C s 

3 4 

C 6 C, 
FIG. . The clarinet. (Ko*man. fMa ) 

Fio. 3. The French horn. 





87 11 

1 1 


P : 

















1 1 






















42 14 







31 6 






14 4 







8 11 







16 2 








1 3 





4 5 




9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 18 










































2 2 












3 1 


















' 1 




9 3 





















4 2 10 1 1 







19 2 10 1 


9 10 11 



S 67891 
SO 100 
C, ( 



-. -.Jl 

345 6769J 

C, C 4 C $ 


FIG. 4. The baritone horn. 






. i 





i ti 
















2 3456 7891 2 3 4 
200 1000 
C, C 4 C 5 C $ C 

FIG. 5. The cornet. 










P : 






























P : 





























































































4 10 4 3 


2 3 4 56 7 8 9 10 H 12 13 14 ,16 16 17 

























P : 








67891 2 3 4 5 67891 2 J 

50 100 KXX) 

C, C 2 C, C 4 C s C 6 

FIG 6. The slide trombone. 












Jl 1., 

2 345 67691 2 3 4 
300 1000 
C, C 4 C s C 6 C 

FIG. 7. The flute. 





f: 24 





5 6 

p: 26 





/* 3 




p: 18 



/' 5 





3 1 

1 1 

1 1 1 

p: 11 




15 1 




/ * 





6 2 

7 1 


p: I 





8 2 

1 1 


f: 15 






2 1 


p: 22 






/; 20 





3 3 

3 4 


P: 1 





2 1 









6 7 

8 9 

10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 











































































1 28 4 3 







E 6 -39 










11 1 


9 10 












ll .. 



L 1 






1 1- 

-d _ 




11 r 










II 1 





I \ 






















1 IL..LL 

z j 



4 567691 2 34567 
C 4 C $ C 6 C 7 

FIG. 3. The oboe. 

5 4 5 67691 2 3 4 5 6 7891 
50 KX3 KXX) 
C, C 2 C 3 C 4 C s 

FIG. 9. The tuba. 


tool for gaining more intimate and accurate information in regard 
to the resources and characteristics of our instruments. Tone 
spectra will furnish in large part both material and measures 
for the determining of artistic principles of tone quality and the 
mastery of them in the development of skills. 

In this analysis, we must remember that each individual spec- 
trum represents a single sound wave shown as a specimen or a 
cross section of the harmonic constitution, or overtone structure, 
of the tone at a given moment, and that adjacent waves may vary 
within a considerable range. Among such variables would be the 
character of the instrument, the resonance and temperature of the 
room, the position of the microphone, the skill, the type of tech- 
nique, the musical mood, and a great many other factors operating 
through the player. 


rriHE literature on the violin is perhaps more satisfactory than 
JL the literature on any other instrument. A good deal of it is of 
the character that could be included under the head of the Science 
of Violin Playing. However, following our precedents, we shall not 
attempt to survey this literature but will give a few concrete 
illustrations, primarily by way of the performance score. 

The following topics will be treated: (1) the violin performance 
score; (2) the violin phrasing score; (3) comparison of two players; 
(4) the pitch factor; (5) the intensity factor; (6) the time factor; 
(7) the timbre factor; and (8) the problem of scales. The materials 
for the first seven sections are drawn from the work of Sraa// 166 ' 167 
and he has given most valuable assistance in the musical interpreta- 
tion. The eighth section is drawn freely from the work 


Violinist Composition 

Busch* Sonata in D minor (Bach) 

Elman Air for the G string (Bach-Wilhelmj) 

Kendrie Ave Maria (Schubert- Wilhelmj) 

Kreisler Sonata in G minor (Bach) 

fylenuhinf Sonata in C major (Bach) 

Menuhin Tzigane (Ravel) 

Seidl Air for the G string (Bach-Wilhelmj) 

Slatkinf Ave Maria (Schubert- Wilhelmj) 

Small If Air for the G string (Bach-Wilhelmj) 

Small fcj Air for the G string (Bach-Wilhelmj) 

Small 3f Ave Maria (Schubert- Wilhelmj) 

Szigeti Sonata in G minor (Bach) 

* Hereafter only the player's name will be given, the composition as listed being implied, 
f These performances have been treated the most completely. 
$ This performance was eight months after Small 1. 


Record, His Master's Voice D.B. 


Record, Victor 7103-B 

Record, Victor 8079-B 
Record, His Master's Voice D.B. 


Record, Victor 78 10- A 
Record, Columbia 903 1-M 
Laboratory record 

Laboratory record 
Laboratory record 
Record, Columbia 67989-D 




Small 1 ** recorded photographically and studied the composi- 
tions listed in Table I by means of performance scores and phrasing 

30 - 
20 - 




FIG. 1. Ave Maria as played by Slatkin. 

scores. Of these, a sample is taken from each of the two renditions 
of Ave Maria (Schubert- Wilhelmj) as played by Slatkin and 
Small (Figs. 1 and 2). These are placed on facing pages for con- 
venience in comparison. The reading of the score is the same as 



in Chap. 4. Measures are indicated by a short vertical bar and 
numbered, and the actual notes of the musical score are inter- 
polated for reference. The decibel readings shown at the left are 

FIG. 2. Ave Maria as played by Small. 

not absolute but relative, in that the zero as a reference point is 
placed arbitrarily at the intensity of the softest note in the selection 
which had musical significance. When intensity is recorded from 
phonograph records it is clearly understood that this involves 



some distortion; but, in those cases, no conclusion is drawn which 
would be seriously affected by that distortion. These samples give 
complete records of performance for pitch, intensity, and time. 
Studies on timbre are discussed in a separate section. 


FIG. 1. (Continued.) 


The musical significance of these scores is set out more graphi- 
cally in the phrasing scores (Figs. 3 and 4) for these same per- 



formance scores. This score gives an exact profile of the musical 
interpretation made in the phrasing. It is given in terms of pitch, 









FIG. 2. (Continued.) 

intensity, and time; but through these media we represent all 
possible complex forms of phrasing except for the medium of 
timbre. For interpretation see the legend under Fig. 3. 




Since these two playings were made without either player know- 
ing about the performance of the other, it is particularly interesting 

FIG. 3. Phrasing score for first half of Fig 1. 

Pitch, intensity, and temporal deviations for the Ave Maria (Shubert-Wilhelmj) as 
played by Slatkin. Successive notes are shown on the abscissa. For pitch, units on the 
ordinate represent 0.1 tone, and the zero point indicates exact intonation in the tempered 
scale. The circles mark the mean-pitch level of successive notes. For intensity, units on the 
ordinate represent Idb and the zero point indicates the average of the mean intensities of 
the notes. The solid line indicates the mean intensity for successive notes. For duration, 
units on the ordinate represent 0.1 sec. and the zero point indicates exact distribution of time 
throughout a measure in accordance with the score. The dotted line indicates a temporal 
overholding (+) or underholding ( ) of successive notes. 

FIG. 4. Phrasing score for Fig. 2. See legend of Fig. 3 for explanation. 

to see in what respects they reveal similar characteristics and inter- 
pretations and in what particular respects they differ. 


The performance scores. In comparing the performances of 
Slatkin and Small let us first compare item for item in the per- 
formance score (Figs. 1 and 2). We must limit ourselves to the more 
salient characteristics in similarities and differences. The limits of 
time and space prevent us from going into fine details which may be 
studied in the original large graphs. Let us call Slatkin A and 
Small B. 

Both played the first note with a vibrato, the mean pitch being in true 
intonation. B stopped the vibrato for the last quarter of a second. In other respects, 
the vibratos are of the same type and extent. The duration of the tone is approxi- 
mately the same. After the first half second A held an even intensity; whereas, 
B executed a crescendo of about 10 db. A has a fairly even intensity vibrato, 
synchronous with pitch and of about 5 db in amplitude; whereas, B has only a 
trace of the vibrato, and that mainly in the last half of the tone. 

In passing to the second note there is a change in the direction of the bow, 
shown by the dip in the intensity curve in both cases. B has a greater dip but of 
shorter duration than A. This will be seen to indicate a characteristic difference 
in bowing. Both have a pitch vibrato of narrower extent on the second note than 
on the first. A's intensity vibrato is erratic, but B's seems to continue from the 
first note and with increasing prominence. 

At the beginning of the third note there is a change of bow. Both continue 
the pitch vibrato, as in the second note, at less than 0.2 of a tone, and both fail 
to carry it to the end of the tone. These two tones, like the latter part of the first, 
remain at a fairly even intensity and fairly bold intensity vibrato. The char- 
acteristic difference in the change of bow again appears at the end of the third 

At the end of the fourth note there is a glide from E to D which is similar 
for the two players, except that B shows a clearer pitch vibrato in the glide. 

A and B both have a bold intensity vibrato. To what this coincidence is due 
is not yet definitely known. However, we can say that it is probably due to 
some instrumental characteristic. 

In these examinations we should look for agreements and disagreements 
and anticipate possible explanations in terms of instrumental characteristics, 
common difficulties in fingering, mannerisms and specific faults in performance. 

In the fourth note there is a slight gap in the pitch record for A, owing to an 
incomplete recording, and B ceases the vibrato for the last fifth of a second. A 
increases the intensity by about 4 db; whereas, B remains on the same intensity 

At the beginning of the second measure we have the same characteristic dif- 
ference in dip owing to the manner of change in bow. In the first note both make 
a clean attack in pitch. B has a slightly wider vibrato, which ceases for the 
last 0.15 second. The intensity performance is similar. After the change of bow, 
both make a clean attack upon the second note. A plays it with a very faint pitch 
vibrato and B with an even and average pitch vibrato. A makes a 2 db increase in 
intensity, and B plays a crescendo of 10 db, with a progressive reduction in 


extent of the intensity vibrato. The increase in the intensity vibrato on this note 
is probably due to its proximity to the air-cavity resonance region of the instru- 
ments, which is at about C#. 

The following two grace notes theoretically take time from the preceding 
note and differ only in that B carries the absence of the vibrato from the ending 
of the preceding note to the first grace note. Both show a drop in intensity for 
these two notes. Inasmuch as the grace notes are short and are played in 
the same bow as the preceding note, the drop of the first note in returning to the 
average intensity level indicates that the drop is due to moving outside of the 
resonance region. The time for the grace notes is taken out of the preceding notes, 
as is shown by the fact that the length of a quarter note in this measure is 2.41 
seconds and A takes only 2.25 seconds and B 2.35 seconds, showing that the note, 
even with its grace notes is underheld. 

In the fifth and sixth notes, following a change of bow, A has a more normal 
vibrato; B has a faulty vibrato. Both A and B connect the fifth and sixth notes 
with a continuous glide, indicating again a similar use of position change, but B 
makes a dip in intensity in the transition and executes a swell for each note. In 
comparison with the preceding and following notes, there is relatively little 
intensity vibrato. 

The seventh and eighth notes, again slurred, are played approximately alike 
in pitch, but both players show a significant change in the intensity vibrato of the 
two members, and both also show an intensity rise of 4 or 5 db in the intensity 
level for the second note. The rise in the intensity level may be accounted for by 
the approach to the peak of the resonance region. The explanation of the flaring 
up of the intensity vibrato on the first note and its attenuation on the second may 
be due to some sympathetic vibrations of the free strings. The first note, A, is 
one octave below the open A string frequency, which means that the second par- 
tial of the present A corresponds in frequency to the open A string; whereas, the 
second note, which is B, has no such foundation for sympathetic vibrations in 
free strings. 

There is not much difference in the pitch characteristic in the main body of 
the first note in the third measure, but B makes a partial glide toward the follow- 
ing note; whereas, A makes a clean release of the note, probably indicating that 
A remained in the same position while B shifted position. The intensity char- 
acteristics are also quite similar, there being a slight diminuendo for both A and B. 

The pitch of the second note is quite similar for the players, but there is a 
marked difference as to both intensity level and intensity vibrato. B executes a 
swell and increases the intensity vibrato in contrast with the intensity of the 
note following. The difference in the behavior of intensity with change in bow at 
the beginning of the second and third notes in this measure may indicate a 
fundamental difference in the method of bow change. There is no significant dif- 
ference in the playing of the third note, except that in this case A glides, indi- 
cating change in position, and B does not. 

The next two thirty-second notes, played with separate bow strokes, show 
about the same type of treatment, both as to pitch and intensity. The intensity 
level for these two notes represented an increase of about 10 db for A and about 
5 db for B above the level of the preceding note. The pitch of the next two notes, 


sixteenths, is played about the same by A and B, except that A runs the second 
note into a glide. There is a marked difference in the type of intensity change. In 
the character of the intensity level both have a more marked intensity vibrato 
in the second note. Both players show a marked intensity pulsation in the second 
note, as we found in the previous appearance of this A at the end of the second 
measure. B executes a swell in the second note. 

Both make transition from the seventh to the eighth note through a partial 
gliding, involving a rise from the preceding note on the part of A and a rise 
toward the following note on the part of B> with an interruption in the change 
of bowing in both. This implies that A, in making his change in position, 
utilizes the finger with which he has been playing, while B uses the finger which 
will be employed in the next note.* 

The phrasing scores. We may now take the data which we 
have just examined from the playing of Slatkin and Small and 
show how these scores, when measured with care with the enlarged 
graphs, can give us a concrete and detailed picture of the way 
in which each player phrased the selection. 

Let us first compare the pitch, represented by the circles, 
beginning with the second note because the recordings for the first 
note in the Small graph are defective. Calling Slatkin A and 
Small B as before, referring respectively to graphs 3 and 4, we note 
the following course of pitch intonation: 

A plays the second note 0.15 of a tone sharp, B plays it true; A plays the 
third note true, B plays it 0.05 sharp; A plays the fourth note true, B plays it 
0.2 of a tone sharp; A plays the fifth note true, B plays it 0.1 flat; A plays the 
sixth note 0.05 sharp, B plays it true; A plays the seventh note true, B plays it 
0.05 flat; A plays the eighth note 0.1 sharp, B plays it true. 

This may suffice as a guide for the reading of phrasing through 
pitch. The melody is, of course, set by the composer. The player's 
interpretation consists in the adoption of a scale, for example, the 
natural scale, and then deviating from this for artistic values. 

In records of this sort, which may now be readily available, we 
shall be able to make comprehensive studies of such remote ques- 
tions as that which centers about tendency tones, both in theory 
and in practice. We find that certain intervals are augmented 
or contracted in accordance with recognized theory, that a great 
variety of specific deviations are dictated by the player's feeling 
for a particular context, that technical difficulties such as fingering, 

* Anyone interested in further comparison will find further interpretations in the 
original scores in Sma//. 1M>167 



FIG. 5. Pitch, intensity, and temporal deviations for the Air for the G string (Bach- 

Wilhelinj) as played by Small. 

FIG. 6. Pitch, intensity, and temporal deviations for the Tzigane (Ravel) as played 
by Menuhin. The points at which the solid line is interrupted represent the occurrence of 



interfere with the interpretation, and that even the best of players 
probably make some sheer errors. 

In the same manner, we may trace the comparative treatment 
in terms of intensity: 

FIG. 7. Intensity and temporal deviations for the Air for Hie G String (Bach-Wilhelraj) 

as played by Elman. 

FIG. 8. Intensity and temporal deviations for the An for the G String (Bach-Wilhelmj) 
as played by Small (second performance). 

A sounds the first note 4, that is, 4 db below the mean intensity; whereas, 
B sounds it at 13. A rises to 1 in the second and 7? to + 2. A drops to 2 
in the third note, but B rises to +3. In the fourth note A drops to 7 and B 
to +1- In the fifth note A rises to 4 and B rises to +3. In the sixth note A 
rises to 1 and B drops to +2. 

Turning then to the temporal interpretation and calling under- 
holds minus and overholds plus, in terms of tenths of a second, 


we find that A underholds the first note 0.5 second, and B is not 
recorded. A plays the second note +.05; whereas, B plays it in 
metronomic time. A plays the third note +.15 seconds and B .2. 
A plays the fourth note .7 and B .1. A plays the fifth note in 
metronomic time, and B .15, etc. 

These phrasing scores are a mine of information. In this sym- 
bolic language, we can now discuss any fundamental issue involved 
in phrasing or general interpretation. 

In rhythm, for example, we see how each performer expresses 
himself. We can put various theories of rhythm to the acid test. 
We can discover principles of rhythm hitherto unrecognized. 

Perhaps the most interesting revelation in these figures is the 
light they throw on the nature of accent, showing how each 
player renders his primary and secondary accent in terms of time 
and intensity. 

Thus it is evident that ultimately the performance score must 
be transcribed into a phrasing score for ready comparison and 
interpretation in musical terminology. We see here a very vivid 
picture of the differences in a section of the two renditions of the 
Ave Maria. While the graphs are expressed in quantitative terms, 
these must be translated into the terminology of the conventional 
musical interpretation of phrasing. In these scores we see in accu- 
rate detail the various forms and degrees of accent for phrase 
patterns in terms of three media. The reader would find it profitable 
to take these examples and study one factor at a time in their 
complex forms, such as rhythm, volume, tempo, in the patterns 
of each of the three media. 

Similar scores are shown for Small's Air for the G String (Fig. 5) 
and Menuhin's Tzigane (Fig. 6). Similar phrasings in time and 
intensity, not including pitch, are shown for Elman's rendition of 
the Air for the G String (Fig. 7), which is comparable with Small's 
(Fig. 5) and Small's second rendition of the same selection (Fig. 8). 
Figures 5 and 8 furnish interesting material for comparison of the 
phrasing in two renditions of the same selection by the same 

After this acquaintance with the reading and interpretation 
of performance and phrasing scores, we may profitably summarize 
Small's findings on basic issues involved in pitch, intensity, time, 
and timbre scores in turn. 



The pitch vibrato. Small m summarizes his findings on the pitch 
vibrato, on the basis of the recordings listed in Table I, as follows : 

Summary. 1. The pitch vibrato appears in practically all 
tones of the violinists studied, except on the open strings. It is 
typically present throughout the whole duration of a tone. 
These facts indicate a close similarity between the violinist's 
and the vocalist's use of vibrato (24).* 

2. The average rate of these violinists' vibrato is 6.5 cycles 
per sec. with but a small range between individuals. This rate 
is in agreement with previous studies on violin vibrato (12, 19), 
and when compared with the vocalist's (24) rate indicates that 
the typical rates for these violinists and vocalists are the same. 

3. The average extent of the vibrato is approximately 0.25 
tone. This confirms previous reports (12, 19) and again indicates 
that the violinist's vibrato is only half as wide as the singer's. 

4. Measures of regularity yield average successive cycle-to- 
cycle differences of 18% in rate and 10% in extent. This is 
essentially the same as for vocalists (24). 

5. The form of the pitch pulsations is quite smooth and 
regular; it approximates a sine curve. 

6. The rate and extent of the pitch vibrato are independent 
of each other, both for the individual violinists and for the group. 

7. Although these measurements have yielded valid state- 
ments of sound field conditions with reference to the particular 
performances studied, constant caution must be used in drawing 
conclusions from them concerning violin playing generally and 
audition problems specifically. For the very reason that hearing 
is subject to such a variety of illusions and that a linear relation- 
ship does not exist between auditory stimulus and sensation (5), 
an objective approach to art, such as the present, affords a 
peculiar opportunity for the analysis of many technical problems 
which are usually obscured by the function of perception itself. 

8. Implications which are significant to the understanding of 
the vibrato-producing mechanism are : (a) The cyclic movement 
of hand and arm approaches simple harmonic motion, (b) The 
stopping finger moves both above and below the principal pitch. 

* Numbers in parenthesis here refer to bibliography in Small. 168 


(c) The direction of the first and last vibrato movements in a 
tone is not preponderantly of one kind, (d) The vibrato move- 
ment tends to persist through changes of finger and bow, and 
frequently through change of position. 

9. A violinist's typical vibrato tends to remain the same in 
repeated performances of the same composition and in the per- 
formance of different compositions. 

Precision of pitch intonation, mean pitch levels, tendency tones, 
transitions. Small m summarizes his findings on this subject as 
follows : 

Summary. 1. The violinist deviates over 60% of the time 
from the tempered scale notes with deviations .05 tone or greater 
and over 31% of the time with deviations .1 tone or greater. 
The average deviation is about .1 tone. The deviations are 
preponderantly in the direction of sharping. 

2. Some of these deviations may be due to: (a) anatomical 
difficulties in the necessary spacing of fingers for some intervals, 
(b) accidental causes, (c) use of Pythagorean or natural scale 
intonation, (d) the division of attention, (e) the non-linear 
relationship between pitch and frequency, or (f) the use of 
tendency tones. 

3. Frequent applications of tendencies from the tempered 
scale were found, although their application is not invariable. 
The tendencies applied were for (a) the fourth degree of the 
scale to be lowered and the seventh raised, (b) minor and 
diminished intervals to be contracted, (c) major and augmented * 
intervals to be expanded and (d) chromatically altered notes to 
over-shoot the alteration in the direction of the chromatic used. 
The percentage of possible occasions these tendencies were 
applied in these compositions is given in table form. The leading- 
tone and sub-dominant tendencies are more frequent than the 

Sub-dominant Minor and di- Major and aug- 

Leading-tone (kth degree) mimshed intervals Chromatics merited intervals 

85% 80% 51% 50% 44% 

4. The intonation in tempered scale intervals was found to 
deviate .05 tone or more over 50% of the time, and .1 tone or 
more about 25 % of the time. Of these deviations of .05 tone or 


over, 56% are in the direction of flatting. Of those .1 tone and 
over, 65% are flat. The typical deviation is about 0.1 tone. 
Intonation is slightly more accurate for intervals than for 
individual pitch levels. 

5. The violinist interpolates certain pitch transitions be- 
tween pitch levels of the score when a change in level and a 
change of position coincide, the object probably being to enhance 
the legato character of a phrase or melody. The portamenti are 
predominantly continuous transitions. This type of interpolation 
also occurs in vocal performance (24). Three types of discon- 
tinuous pitch transitions occur, verifying pedagogical theory on 
this subject. The average interval covered in these pitch move- 
ments is 2.5 semitones. 

Gliding pitch attacks and releases as found in song (24) and 
speech (4) do not occur in the performances of these violinists. 
A typical steady-pitch-level attack and release are found in two 


Range of intensity. Figures 1 to 8 show typically the range of 
intensity changes. The average range of intensity between the 
softest and the loudest tones for all records is 21 db, with individual 
ranges from 14 to 26 db. The mean intensity differences between 
successive notes is 3.5 db. The typical range of intensity variation 
within individual notes was 13 db. For all violinists here studied, 
except Menuhin, the mean maximum intensity is in the region of 
middle C. This is probably due to the fact that the fundamental 
air-cavity resonance of the violin is just above middle C, perhaps 
near C#. 

Change of bow. The typical drop in intensity with the change of 
bow is 12 db in the dead room. Other recordings, such as that of 
Menuhin, probably show a smaller drop on account of the reverber- 
ations in the room. Whether these drops are heard or not depends 
upon a large number of factors, both subjective and objective. 

The intensity vibrato. Small m summarizes as follows: 

Summary. 1. The intensity vibrato is present only 76% as 
often as the pitch vibrato in the same performances. This is 
essentially the proportion found in the case of singing (24, 32). 


The proportion varies in individual performances from 40 to 

2. The intensity vibrato is not always continuous nor does 
it appear throughout the entire duration of the tone in which it 
is found. It is frequently intermittent and sporadic. 

3. The average rate of the intensity vibrato is 6.3 cycles per 
sec., which is the same as the pitch vibrato rate. 

4. The average extent is 4.4 db, which substantiates Reger's 
report (19). The distribution of extents shows a wide dispersion. 

5. The typical difference between successive cycles is 11% 
of the average rate and 30% of the average extent. Both in- 
tensity vibrato rate and extent, though particularly the latter, 
are less regular than pitch vibrato rate and extent. 

6. The form of the intensity pulsations, barring superim- 
posed secondary fluctuations, approximates a sine curve. The 
most common phase relationships between intensity and pitch 
pulsations are those of phase agreement and 90 out of phase. 

7. The rate and extent of the intensity vibrato exert no 
significant selective influence on each other. 

8. The characteristics of the intensity vibrato are very 
similar for the same composition played by three different vio- 
linists and for a composition played twice by the same per- 

9. The intensity vibrato probably is relatively more 
important in violin playing than in singing. 

10. Probable causes of periodic intensity fluctuations, in 
addition to those already suggested (12, 19) are beats resulting 
from sympathetic vibration of free strings, and movement in 
and out of resonance regions due to the pitch vibrato. 

11. The sympathetic vibrato is an intensity vibrato and 
exhibits the same characteristics as intensity vibrato in general. 


The trill. It is interesting to note that the trill in these selections, 
seven pulsations per second, is very near the average rate of the 
vibrato. Instead of even sounding of two notes of pitch indicated in 
the score, the violin trill closely resembles the pitch vibrato in the 
shape of the wave. When the interval is small and of short duration, 
the distinction between the trill and the pitch vibrato is largely 
psychological rather than physical; somehow, if we know when 


the trill occurs, we hear the two notes which mark the interval 
even in the semitone and do not hear the mean tone of the vibrato. 
There is a synchronous intensity change of about 5 db in the trill, 
the accessory note being the weaker. The accessory note is also 
about 25 per cent shorter than the main note. 

Other temporal aspects, too numerous to mention, must be 
observed in the phrasing scores. In general, Small m states: 

1. The violinists deviated over 80% of the time from exact 
note values. Half the deviations were more than .15 sec. 

2. Over-holding and under-holding were about equally 

3. The average extent of deviations was approximately 
.25 sec. Under-holding is typically greater than over-holding and 
also varies more from player to player. 

4. In general the longer the note duration the more liable was 
the appearance of a deviation. The extent of under-holding 
showed a tendency to be proportional to the duration of the 
note. Such a tendency for over-holding was very slight. 

5. Temporal deviations seemed to bear a somewhat closer 
relationship to phrase structure of the melody than did intensity. 
There was also a somewhat more general agreement among the 
violinists in their use of temporal deviations than in their use of 
intensity variations. 


The objective study of violin tones presents a most fascinating 
area for investigation. With the recent acquisition of adequate 
means of measurement, we may look for great developments in our 
understanding of the resources of the violin and the scientific 
aspects of the mastery of technique in playing. 

Comprehensive studies of the violin as an instrument are in 
progress showing, for example, the response characteristics for all 
frequencies and all degrees of intensity throughout its range. Ex- 
periments are in progress in various laboratories analyzing the 
merits of instruments of rare value. Such findings should, of course, 
prove valuable in current design of instruments. The policy is to 
study one specific feature at a time; for example, Home is analyz- 
ing possibilities of modifying tone quality by the mute, varying 
step after step the form, the weight, and material of the mute and 



the relation of these to features in bowing. Mutes have grown like 
Topsy, topsy-turvy; but there is no longer any excuse for 

In this chapter, we can give only a single illustration (Figs. 9- 

12) of timbre in the violin. Here 
we have for comparison repre- 
sentative spectra from each of 
the four violin strings. Bearing 








3 4 5 67691 

3 C 4 C 5 


C 6 

C 7 

FlG. 9. G string (Small.) 

in mind our reiterated reserva- 
tions about the variability in 
fair samplings, we can say that 


- , ,. 



\ ,\ 





J_ Ittil 


J_ IU!L 




1 1, iii. 




. ..JJJlLL 

> 34561 
C 3 C, 

89! 2345 67891 
1000 IQOOO 
C s C 6 C 7 C 8 

FIG. 10. D string. 

here is a good illustration of what a good violin can do when well 
played and free from room and outside influences. 

We are indebted to Small, sometime Eastman fellow and now a 
member of the staff in the faculty of the music school in the 



University of Iowa, for these recordings and analyses. The record- 
ing was made in the dead room under the most reliable control 
conditions. These spectra, therefore, represent the actual violin 
timbre free from admixture of room resonance and outside dis- 
turbances. He used his own violin, an old Italian instrument made 


J J 

'' \ \ 


_, L 







.41- - 




1 1 

J 4 5 6 7891 2 3 4 5 67891 
BO 1000 10.000 

c, c s c, c, c 8 

4 5 67891 
400 1000 

FIG. 11. A string. (Small.) 

3456 7691 


^4 ^5 Cg 7 Cg 

FIG. 12. E string. (Small ."") 

in 1740. All notes were played legato mezzo forte and up bow. The 
instrument was tuned to 440 ~. 

It is probably true that, of all instruments, the violin produces 
the most beautiful tone. We may see in these spectra something of 
the nature of this beauty. As is well known, it lies in the richness 
and even distribution of the partials. The "pictures" must speak 
for themselves, as they tell a long and complicated story. What this 



story shall be depends upon what questions are in the mind of the 
musician or scientist who interprets them. It may be a principle of 
physics, the solution of an historical controversy, a cue to an ele- 
ment in technique of playing; but to everyone it should give a 
striking illustration of the resources of the violin. 


It is generally agreed that the natural scale should be preferred 
to the tempered scale in instruments which do not have a fixed 
pitch. There has been a long-standing controversy as to the extent 
to which artists on the stringed instruments and singers take 
advantage of this feature of intonation. It is also generally rec- 

Fio. 13. Score of the Kreutzer Etude showing passage, between the two arrows, which 

was played. (Greene.* 8 ) 

ognized that there are certain sequences or other factors which 
occasionally demand the augmenting or the contracting of an 
interval from its theoretical value in either of these two scales. 

Greene' has made an extensive study which puts into a 
record in black and white the actual performance of violinists 
on this issue. The study is an analysis of 11 unaccompanied per- 
formances by six violinists.* The recordings were made directly 
before the camera in the dead room. The players performed as 
if they were playing for the radio, but without using the vibrato 
in the Kreutzer Etude. 

Reliability of reading in frequency varies with the length of 
the note. For 78 per cent of the notes it is reliable to 0.01 of a 
tone; for 20 per cent to 0.02, and for 2 per cent (the shortest notes) 
to 0.03. 

* The performers were Scipione Guidi, assistant director and concertina ster of the 
St Louis symphony orchestra (1), Frank Estes Kendne, professor of violin at the University 
of Iowa and conductor of the University of Iowa symphony orchestra () , Arnold M Small, 
concertmaster of the University of Iowa symphony orchestra (4); and Felix Slatkin (8), 
Ellis Levy (5), and Jacob Levme (C), members of the first violin section of the St. Louis 
symphony orchestra Hereafter in this discussion the players are reported by number. 



FIG, 14. Phrasing score for pitch renditions of the passage in Fig. 13 by four players. 



Figure 14 shows how the first four players performed that sec- 
tion of the Kreutzer Etude which lies between the two arrows 
in Fig. 13. The zero line denotes the pitch as established for the 
whole selection. The solid jagged line indicates deviations from this 
"true" pitch in the tempered scale, and the dotted jagged line 
shows the same for the natural scale or just intonation. 

It is evident from these pictures that none of the players per- 
formed consistently in either of the two scales, although on the 
average their performance deviated from the tempered scale 
slightly less than from the natural scale. These situations are 
typical of all the performances studied, and of artistic performance 
in general. 

We may now examine in Fig. 15 the composite findings for the 
six players of the five intervals intensively studied; namely, the 
minor second and major second, the minor third and major third, 
and the perfect fourth. 

Minor second. The composite graph shows that there is a strong 
tendency to contract the minor second. The group as a whole 
contracted the minor seconds 0.06 of a tone below the tempered 
and 0.12 below the natural scale. 

Major second. Reading the composite graph for the major 
second in the same manner as for the minor interval, we see that 
the major second is on the whole augmented. There are two values 
for the natural scale indicated, the larger at +0.02 and the smaller 
at 0.09 of a tone. The composite graph shows that the major 
second is augmented about 0.03 of a tone above the tempered scale, 
0.01 above the larger natural scale interval value, and 0.12 above 
the smaller natural interval value. The smaller natural intervals are 
enlarged 98 per cent of the time, and the smaller 65 per cent. 

Minor thirds. For the minor thirds the composite figure shows 
the arrow at 2, indicating that the average tendency of the group 
was to play 0.02 of a tone below the tempered scale, which makes it 
0.1 of a tone below the natural scale. 

Major thirds. For the major third the natural scale is 0.07 of a 
tone less than in the tempered. The average extent of its interval, 
as played, however, is 0.03 of a tone greater than its value in the 
tempered scale. This general tendency holds for all of the four 

Perfect fourth. The perfect fourth was introduced as a control 
interval in which there should be no marked difference between the 





II ii 

18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 2 4 $ 8 10 12 14 16 18 
tP T N + 




1412 10 864202468 10 12 14161 
Pf T N 






16 16 W 12 10 864202468 10 12 14 16 18 
N TN| 4 

.1 . 

1412 108 6 4 2 I A 6 810121416(8 
N T tP + 




14 12 10 8 6 4 2 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 
NT + 


FIG. 15. Group performances of five intervals. On the abscissa, deviations from' the 
theoretical tonal extent of the interval in the equally tempered scale (marked T) are indi- 
cated in 0.01 tone. Cases of intervals contracted occur at the left, and those expanded at 
the right, of the T value. The symbols N and P show the direction and amount of divergence 
of the theoretical value of each interval in the natural and Pythagorean scales from its 
theoretical extent in the equally tempered scale. Arrows indicate the average extent of the 
given interval as played. On the ordinate, percentages of the total number of cases are 

Example: In the figure for the minor second, the natural scale value of the interval 
occurs at 0.06 tone from the equally tempered value, while the Pythagorean value differs 
from the equally tempered value by 0.05 tone. The interval tended to be contracted as 
compared with its natural and equally tempered values, the average extent occurring at 
0.06 tone from the T value, and at 0.12 tone from the N value. Ninety-eight per cent 
of the cases were contracted as compared with the N value, while 81 per cent were con- 
tracted in relation to the T value. Further, the average extent of the played interval occurs 
at 0.01 tone from the P value, thus varying from it only by an amount equal to the 
expected, error of frequency measurement. Figures for the other intervals can be read 
similarly. It will be seen that there are two theoretical values for the major second in the 
natural scale, and the Pythagorean value for this interval coincides with the larger natural 
scale value. Further, the Pythagorean value of the perfect fourth likewise agrees with the 
natural scale value for that interval. (Greene.* 9 ) 


two scale values. The composite graph shows that the extent of the 
interval in the natural scale is 0.01 of a tone less than in the tem- 
pered. The average extent of the interval as played is at the natural 





II In 

Id 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 Q 2 4 6 6 10 
t T N + 




18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 a 4 6 8 10 
t T N + 




1ft 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 202 4 6 d 10 
t T N + 












N T Kit 

1 ll 




12 10 8 6 4 2 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 
- N T Nf t 



= 86 






- N T N + 

FIG. 16. Comparison of performances in three selections (Greene. 39 ) 

scale value. There is close agreement among the different players, 
which indicates that this interval presents no tendency to augment 
or diminish, although the actual performances scatter to about the 
same extent as for the augmented and contracted intervals. 


Comparison of three selections. In Pig. 16 there is shown the 
composite graph for minor seconds and major seconds in the three 
selections studied. While the distributions are irregular and differ 
in that respect, the general tendency is on the whole the same in all 
selections, as may be seen by observing the position of the arrow. 
The same principle holds true for the minor thirds and major thirds 
and the perfect fourth. 

Direction of movement. In order to determine whether the 
movement of pitch up or down makes any difference, comparisons 
are made in all cases of upward and in all cases of downward move- 
ment for the five intervals. The conclusion was reached that, on the 

Minor seconds 

Major seconds 

-5 +6 
P T N 

Minor thirds 

-9 0+2 
Ndo) T N(9/) 

Major thirds 

-3 +8 
P T N 

-7 +4 
N T P 

Perfect fourths 


i i i i i i i i i i j f 


FIG. 17. Comparison of the tempered and natural scales with the Pythagorean scale. 


whole, there is no statistically valid difference due to movement 
from the lower to the higher or from the higher to the lower note in 
the interval. 

The Pythagorean scale. The comparisons have been made 
between the natural scale and the tempered scale and, since a 
player conforms to neither of these, the question arose as to whether 
any other recognized scale is approximated, and it turned out that 
the Pythagorean scale meets the need more closely than either of 
the other two scales. 

This is shown in Fig. 17. P denotes the position according to 
the Pythagorean scale. Again the arrow shows where the average 
tendency lies. Thus, for the minor second, the interval is con- 
tracted by 0.06, which makes it within 0.01 of a tone from the 


Pythagorean scale and 0.12 of a tone from the natural scale. In the 
major second, the performance is again within 0.01 of a tone from 
the Pythagorean value, which is the same as that for the larger 
natural interval, and is 0.02 of a tone above the tempered-scale 

The minor third is within 0.01 of a tone of the Pythagorean 
value and 0.10 from the natural value. For the major third the 
average value is within 0.01 of a tone of the Pythagorean value, 
0.03 away from the tempered scale, and 0.1 from the natural. For 
the perfect fourth there is no significant tendency to deviate. Thus 
we reached the striking conclusion that the violinist, when unac- 
companied, does not play consistently in either the tempered or 
the natural scale but tends on the whole to conform with the 
Pythagorean scale in the intervals here studied. 


nnHE aim of this chapter is to illustrate the application of scientific 
A method to the study of the theory and practice of piano playing. 
We now have at our command adequate recording and measuring 
instruments, and the scientific method is beginning to express 
itself for various purposes; such as the purely scientific array of 
facts about performance on the piano, the determination of esthetic 
principles, the characterization of types of performance, descrip- 
tion of individual differences, measurement of achievement, 
study of faults of performance, and musical criticism. 

Instead of attempting to discuss the subject as a whole, we 
shall consider a few typical situations which illustrate the procedure 
and should lead to further scientific thinking on the part of the 
reader. The first item, piano touch, illustrates how the scientific 
approach clarifies thinking; the second, the piano camera, shows 
how accurate and permanent measurements of performance can be 
made; the third, phrasing, gives a short sample of the kind of 
facts that can be elicited from a performance score; and the fourth 
shows how one minute detail in technique can be analyzed into 
fundamental principles of operation. 


One is tempted to say that touch is the touchiest subject in 
musical circles, because we are deeply impressed with the enormous 
possibilities for characterizing musical artistry and expression of 
musical feeling in terms of this art. The current vocabulary descrip- 
tive of touch is extensive, loose, and baffling. Historically, but little 

* From the Scientific Monthly. 1 * 4 * 



effort has been made to aid the student in music by bringing order 
out of this chaos from a scientific point of view. However, recent 
scientific approaches to this subject have made progress and give 
assurance of the possibility of an adequate analysis, description, 
and terminology for many of these phenomena.* The best available 
book on the subject for musicians is the volume by Professor 
Ortmann, Director of the Peabody Conservatory of Music. It is 
based upon a searching analysis of historical, theoretical, and 
experimental evidences. His principal findings may be summarized 
as follows: 

The pianist has at his direct control only two of the four factors in music, 
namely, intensity arid time. Pitch and timbre are determined primarily by the 
composer and the instrument. 

The pianist can control the intensity only in terms of the velocity of the 
hammer, at the moment at which it leaves the escapement mechanism, and by 
the action of the pedals. 

There are only two significant strokes on the key: the percussion and the 
nonpercnssion. The difference between these is that the former contributes more 
noise to the piano tone, and the latter gives the player better control of the desired 

Aside from the addition of the noise, the player cannot modify the quality 
of the tone by the manner of depressing the key or by manipulations after the 
key has struck its bed except, perhaps, by a momentary partial key release and 
immediate key depression, damping the tone somewhat but not entirely. 

He can control the time factors which influence quality only by the action of 
the dampers either through the keys or the pedals. 

In general, these facts have been known for a long time by 
instrument makers and leading musicians. But many musicians 
have failed to recognize their significance or admit the facts. In- 
deed, experts in various fields of acoustical science also have ques- 
tioned the findings enough to justify taking the problem into their 
laboratories for analysis and verification. However, all the investi- 
gators have reached the same conclusion on the above points. Let 
us examine each of the essential factors in turn. 

Insofar as it depends upon the stroke of the key, intensity 
(the physical fact) or loudness (the mental fact) is a function of the 
velocity of the hammer at the moment that it impinges upon the 
string. After that, the tone can be modified only by action of 
the dampers. The piano action for any key consists of a compound 

* The evidence for the view here presented is largely the work of Ortmann, 1 3 of White, 213 
Hart, Fuller, and Lusby," and Ghosh.*>u 

PIANO 227 

lever system, the purpose of which is to facilitate and control the 
force of the blow on the string. Let us consider the nature of the 

If a ball is placed on the inner end of a cleared piano key and the 
key is struck in the usual manner, the ball will fly from the key up 
against the string. Nothing can influence the velocity or the direc- 
tion of the ball after it has left the key, and the ball can energize 
the string only at the moment of impact because, owing to the 
resilience of the compressed felt and the throw of the string, it 
bounds off instantly. The function and action of the hammer are 
analogous to that of the ball. The velocity of the hammer is deter- 
mined by the velocity of the escapement lever at the moment the 
hammer is released for its flight, and the force of the blow is deter- 
mined by the velocity of the hammer at the moment of impact. 
From this, several considerations follow: 

1. It makes no difference whether the key is struck by an 
accelerating, retarding, even, or any form of irregular movement; 
the only significant thing the player controls in the stroke is the 
velocity of the key at the exact moment that it throws off the 

This easily observed physical fact has profound significance in 
the theory of playing, hearing, enjoyment, and critical judgments 
about music. The economic aspect is not to be ignored when we 
consider what money is spent in trying to teach pupils to do some- 
thing that cannot be done. It takes away a great deal of the 
glamour and grace of mannerisms in the mode of depression of the 
key. It reduces touch to the fundamental factor of intensity. 

This should in no way detract from the resourcefulness of the 
instrument and the opportunity for individual expression or the 
indirect effects of intensity which are legion. On the other hand, it 
clarifies, glorifies, and reveals the extraordinary refinement that is 
necessary in this artistic touch. The elaborate care taken in the 
development of form, weight, pressure, and rate of arm, wrist, 
and finger movements is fully justified insofar as it results in a 
refined control of the intensity of the tone, but not for any inde- 
pendent change in tone quality. 

2. The hammer is released just a trifle before the key reaches its 
bed. Like the ball, it has only one form of contact with the string, 
namely, an instantaneous impact followed by immediate rebound. 
The movement of the key cannot influence the hammer after it has 


been released any more than it can influence the flight of the ball 
after it has been thrown off. Therefore, no amount of waggling, 
vibrating, rocking, or caressing of the key after it has once hit 
bottom can modify the action upon the string. The only way in 
which the key can further affect the string is by a new stroke of the 
hammer. This can easily be verified by manipulating a key near its 
bed and looking at the action of the hammer. 

Probably the only exception to this statement is the rare or 
doubtful possibility that a partial release of the escapement mecha- 
nism may reengage the hammer stem so that the hammer may 
again be thrown against the string and a partial damping may 
result. However, even if physically possible, this is merely a stunt 
and is not attempted by artists under normal conditions of playing. 
Yet this fallacy plays a role in musical circles in at least three 
important respects. First, whenever this stunt is affected, the 
observable finger action serves as a suggestion which produces the 
desired result in the form of an illusion of hearing. Such normal 
illusions have a very great influence upon musical hearing. Second, 
in ignorance or defiance of the physical limitations, teachers often 
attempt to train pupils in the supposed art of this type of finesse. 
And third, theorists, who oppose the limitation of touch to intensity 
control, frequently fall back upon this phenomenon to sustain 
their claims. However, all well-informed musicians recognize that 
this feature is not important in their artistic playing. Therefore, 
we may ignore it in the discussion of the real factors in musical 

3. The pianist can produce indirectly a great variety of tone 
qualities, but only by his control of the intensity of the tone. Hav- 
ing imparted a given velocity to the hammer, the pianist is entirely 
at the mercy of the instrument for the determination of qualitative 
changes taking place in the tone, except for manipulation of the 
dampers. The piano is so constructed that it can produce a vast 
series of tone qualities, each one a function of the intensity of 
the tone. Each instrument has its own relatively fixed character- 
istic in this respect. In general, the louder the tone, the richer it will 
be in quality. 

If we represent a series of intensities by the letters a, &, c, d, etc., 
and the corresponding degrees of richness and other characteristics 
of the quality by the symbols a', &', c', d', etc., then whenever a 
tone of intensity a is sounded, a quality a' is produced; intensity 6 

PIANO 229 

for the same tone will always yield a quality &'; intensity c or 
any other intensity will always yield its corresponding tone quality. 
It is possible, therefore, to calibrate any particular piano in this 
way and to set up a scale of intensities which will yield approxi- 
mately the corresponding scale of tone qualities. However, the 
situation is complicated by the fact that each instrument has its 
own resonance characteristics and responds differently to different 

This setting up of a scale of equivalents for intensity and tone 
quality is just what every pianist has to do empirically. Rarely is it 
a clearly conscious effort or scale; probably it can best be described 
as a relationship into which he has felt himself more or less 

4. In 1933, Ghosh 36 ' 37 demonstrated that, within a considerable 
range of the intensities normally functioning in music, the wave 
form of the vibrating string and therefore the resulting harmonic 
constitution remain constant. Thus, within a moderate range of 
changes in intensity, the player cannot modify the quality of the 
tone as it emerges from the string. 

The qualitative changes which come with changing intensity 
are the result of resonance, reverberation, or damping effects of 
the sounding board and the rest of the piano, the thuds and rattlings 
on the keys, as well as the acoustical characteristics of the room. 
The wave emitted by the sounding board and its accessories is very 
much stronger than the wave emitted from the string and there- 
fore becomes dominant in hearing. The wave form that impinges 
upon the ear is an amplification and modification of the wave form 
emitted by the string. This principle applies to all other musical 

At the present time artists regard inharmonic and percussion 
accessories to piano response as legitimate and essential contribu- 
tions to tone quality. Is it possible that this attitude may change ? 
We are facing an era of radical change in the nature of music. It is 
difficult to predict what will happen to concepts of piano playing. 
Several factors must be taken into account. 

1. The piano of today, the manner of its use, and the tastes and 
habits of hearing are determined in large part by the heretofore 
existing mechanical limitations to construction of the instrument. 
This piano quality involves a variety of thuds, rattlings, raspings, 
and various other forms of noise which are utilized for musical 


effect and add pronounced characteristics significantly to the tonal 
elements, especially in the louder intensities. It is, to a considerable 
extent, in the impurities of tone that we differentiate instruments. 

2. It is now possible to construct a synthetic-tone instrument 
in which we may include any desired sound quality, periodic or 
aperiodic, and therefore eliminate any of the present character- 
istics which may be redundant or undesirable. 

3. In such an instrument, it is now possible to introduce a vast 
variety of tone qualities which we have not been able to produce 
with our present instruments. We must, therefore, consider the 
possibility of thinking of the future of music in terms of instru- 
ments in which the characteristics are not due to the limitations in 
mechanical construction, but are the deliberate choice, the result of 
invention and discovery of entirely new tonal complexes for musical 

4. It is a matter of history and psychology that likes and dis- 
likes, tolerance and intolerance, artistic cravings and urges, are 
matters of development contingent upon the tendency to make the 
best of what we have, the biological tendency toward new habit 
formations, and the inherent artistic merit in innovations. 

These situations the piano shares with all other instruments. 
Conservatism tells us that there will be no sudden change, but 
insight into the nature of the situation tells us that the change will 
be radical and that it must of necessity be in the interest of higher 
levels of musical achievement with new problems for the composer, 
the performer, and the listener. 

Is it probable that the electrical flute, clarinet, trumpet, or 
violin will introduce new satisfaction in the purity of harmonic 
factors, so that we can dispense with the noises which at the present 
time give us the characteristics of the instrument? We may venture 
to answer that these new resources in electrical instruments will 
vastly enrich our world with harmonic tones and will "chasten" 
or replace many of our present instruments, but there may always 
be an artistic demand for inharmonic elements, and other noises 
and percussion features. 

5. Pianists have fairly clear concepts of characteristics of tone 
quality, such as harsh, brilliant, mellow, full, singing, round, shrill, 
dry, metallic, steely, brittle, shallow, poor, ringing, clear, velvety, 
bell-like, jarring, and strident. Ortmann wz performed an experiment 
in which a number of distinguished artists participated and were 

PIANO 231 

able to produce the qualities just named to their general satisfac- 
tion. But a recording device attached to the piano revealed that 
the only two variables that had been under their control were 
the velocity of the hammer blow and the action of the dampers 
which affected the duration and loudness of the tone, and that, 
whenever qualitative differences were present, they were differ- 
ences in intensity and time relationships. 

6. The countless varieties of temporal movement are also 
reduced to the operation of time, with some modification by inten- 
sity. Ortmann performed experiments in which accomplished 
pianists gave artistic expression to such marks as "accelerando," 
"ritardando," "affettuoso," "espressivo," "scherzando," etc. The 
recording device on the piano revealed the fact that all these char- 
acteristics of musical movement were completely controlled by the 
two factors, the time relationships and the intensity of the tone. 

7. The pianist can modify quality through controlling the time 
factor in three ways: the tempo and the temporal aspects of 
rhythmic features are determined largely by the duration between 
the moment of incidence of successive tones; the duration of 
vibration is determined by the moment of application of the damp- 
ers through the release of the key; the vibration may be continued 
by overholding the notes with the sostenuto pedal. 

It is well known that the piano tone fades out rapidly soon 
after the hammer stroke; but the listening ear tends to ignore this 
and, instead of hearing tones as having sudden change in intensity 
and timbre, tends to hear the initial characteristic of the tone until 
the next key is struck, in spite of the fact that the physical change in 
the tone is very radical. For this reason, it seems to make relatively 
little difference whether a key is held down for the entire time 
assigned to it in the score. As a matter of fact, the player is often 
irregular and relatively indifferent in regard to the time for release 
of the key, especially in rapid movements. He depends on this 
tendency in hearing to carry over. In musical hearing, the effect 
of overholding the note by pedal is perhaps more evident in its 
modification of resulting tone quality than in the awareness of the 
continuation of the note or chord as such. 

8. The most profound change the artist can give to tone quality 
comes through pedal action. By means of the sostenuto pedal tones 
may be carried through a series of chords after the respective keys 
have been released, thus producing great enrichment in the har- 


mony through the gradual overlapping and fading of antecedent 
tones. Refinement in the use of this medium is an outstanding 
mark of artistry. 

In the use of the una corda pedal the artist has a choice of strik- 
ing one, two, or three strings. Two effects result. The softer felt 
tends to dampen partial vibrations of the string and the remaining 
string or strings vibrate in sympathetic resonance. A combination 
of such tones obeys precisely the same laws as tones produced 
without pedal although the basic tone-complex is altered. The 
action of the soft pedal involves, of course, purely the factor of 

9. The great tonal resources of the piano as an instrument lie in 
the richness of tone produced by the possibility of playing one or 
many keys, with or without pedals, and thus utilizing both har- 
monic and melodic progressions. But these are as a rule set i i the 
score by the composer, and the possibility of legitimately introduc- 
ing variants and ornaments not so indicated is limited. 

10. It is, of course, recognized that the pianist has many devices 
for changing the quality of tone by freedom in the use of intensity 
or in time. For example, tone coloring is a very conspicuous feature 
in artistic playing, but it ordinarily means that the pianist strikes 
the notes in the chord with different force and thus can produce 
varying resonance effects from the same chord. Likewise, there aie 
considerable resources in the variety of uses of the pedals, as to both 
time and intensity. The pianist has various devices by which he 
can get sympathetic vibrations and modulate overtones. There are 
also many ways of enhancing subjective tones which may play an 
important role, clearly modifying the perceived tone quality, and 
we must not overlook the vast array of illusions which have qualita- 
tive significance. Last but not least, there is the power of suggestion. 

11. The artist may legitimately think and perform with tone 
quality as his objective and consciously control his touch in terms 
of tone quality. Likewise, the listener may regard tone quality as 
the primary factor and think of intensity as a secondary and even 
unrelated factor. But the fact remains that, in general, the only 
way in which the pianist can produce qualitative changes is through 
dynamic and temporal changes, and then only within the limits set 
by the characteristics of the instrument. 

12. It follows from these considerations that a fairly adequate 
record of musical performance can be made by recording the veloc- 

PIANO 233 

ity and time of the hammer blow and the action of the dampers. 
With a given composition and a given instrument of which the 
characteristics are known, we can describe the essentials of artistic 
performance on the piano in terms of the artist's command and 
use of these factors. 

The Iowa piano camera is built on this principle. It registers 
the performance in minute and serviceable detail in a permanent 
photogram. This can be transcribed into a scientific performance 
score, in terms of which objective analysis of the significant tonal 
features of the rendition may be made. 

The purpose of this analysis has been to pave the way for a 
synthesis. In acoustics we have analyzers which may dissect any 
rich tone into its component partials; conversely, we have syn- 
thesizers which can take all known partials of any rich tone and 
reconstruct the original single sound wave. On this analogy, it is 
here suggested that the principle which justifies our reducing a 
rendition to its two operating media justifies our assuming that, 
by reversing the process, we may derive all the salient elements in 
the performance from an adequate record of these two media. Such 
matters as phrasing, personal interpretation, the principles of art 
involved, errors, idiosyncrasies, and exhibitions of skill are embod- 
ied in such a piano-carnera record. 


We have just seen that, of the four factors in musical perform- 
ance, pitch, intensity, timbre, and time, two, pitch and timbre, are 
determined by the piano. Therefore, only intensity and time need 
be recorded to obtain an adequate statement of piano playing. 
The Iowa piano camera* was designed to record these two factors. It 
has proved remarkably simple to operate, reliable and adequate in 
the musical situation. It gives a photographic record of the begin- 
ning, duration, moment of ending, and relative intensity of each 
note in an entire selection played under normal conditions. 

Figure 1 is a sample of the photographic record, actual size, 
covering 0.68 second. The vertical lines show time in 0.04 second 
and can be estimated to within 0.01 second. Each horizontal white 
track represents a key on the entire keyboard. The dark horizontal 

* This camera has been described briefly by Tiffin and Seashore, 20 * and in technical 
detail by Tiffin. 196 



bands are due to the inner framework of the piano, but they aid in 
the identification of the keys. For each note, the length of the white 
space B is proportional to the time necessary for the hammer to 
move through the last 12 millimeters before striking the string. The 
length of the bar A gives a similar measure of the time necessary 

PIG. 1. Drawing from actual photogram taken with the Iowa piano camera, 

for the hammer to travel the preceding 12 millimeters. Thus, 
A + B gives the time for the movement of the hammer through 
the last 24 millimeters before striking the string. From the duration 
of B or the duration of A + JB, the velocity of the hammer and, in 
turn, the force of the impact and intensity of the resultant tone 
near the beginning of the tone may be determined. The dark bar 
following this shows the time of retreat of the hammer from the 



string, and this, together with the white bar following, gives the 
length of time that the key was held. For the duration of the white 
bar the hammer was free from the strings, but at the end of that 
time the strings were damped by the return of the key. The end of 
the last black bar indicates the complete return of the key, and 
shows the time necessary for it. 

FIG. 2. Schematic drawing of the mechanism of the piano camera. Explanation in text. 

The pedal action is represented by the white line at the base, 
showing that the pedal was free preceding the chord, that it was put 
into action in time to sustain this chord, and that it was held in so 
as to cover the next note. 

The mechanism by which this record is obtained is illustrated diagrammati- 
cally in Fig. 2. A light strip of balsa wood approximately 7 centimeters long and 
7 millimeters wide is glued to the tail of each hammer in the piano. The top of 
the piano is raised and a lens focuses the region C of the tail A on the film D. This 


film is Eastman No. 1 recording paper, 4 inches wide. An electric motor draws 
this film through the camera at a rate of 12 centimeters per second. The film is 
exposed to the bank of hammers below only through the narrow slit E. As any 
key is depressed, its hammer moves forward in the direction of the arrow, and the 
hole F in the balsa-wood tail passes the region C which is focused on the film. 
Directly below the tails is a cylindrical electric light bulb A, approximately 2 
inches in diameter, and 4 feet long. The filament of this bulb, J, which is a single 
long loop of wire, is directly below the point of photography C. As the hole F in 
the tail A moves forward, the region C (which is focused on the film D) is mo- 
mentarily lighted from below. The result of the passage of the hole F is that a 
short bar is photographed on the moving film. This is the bar A in Fig. 1. The 
total length of the balsa-wood tail is such that, when the hammer strikes the 
piano string and produces the sound, the tail has jiibt passed the region C, again 
allowing this region to be lighted from below and thus photographing another 
distinctive mark on the film. At this point in the movement of the hammer, two 
marks have been photographed on the film, one caused by the hole F passing the 
region C, and one caused by the end of the tail passing this region. Since the film 
is being drawn through the camera during this process, it is obvious that the 
faster the hammer is moving, the shorter will be the distance between the two 
marks photographed. The hole F is placed 12 millimeters from the end of the tail. 
Hence the record of velocity is secured during the last 12 millimeters which the 
hammer travels before the string is struck. It has been shown by Ihckman^ 
that the velocity of a piano hammer during the last 12 millimeters of its move- 
ment before striking the string is practically constant. Thus, since the intensity 
of the tone is determined only by the velocity of the hammer, the record gives a 
serviceable indication of the relative intensity of the tone. 

The piano is so constructed that as soon as the hammers have struck their 
respective strings, they fall back away from the string. However, they do not 
quite fall back to the original position until the key is released. The position in 
which the hammer actually stays, as long as the key is depressed, is just enough 
in advance of its normal position that the hole F is within the region C. Hence, 
as long as the key is depressed, light passes from below through the hole F, mak- 
ing a narrow line on the moving film. 

The procedure outlined above is duplicated for every hammer in the piano, 
for the lens L serves to concentrate a picture of the entire bank of hammers on 
the 4-inch film. Each hammer has its own pathway on the film, and the beginning, 
ending, duration, and intensity of the tone contributed by each hammer may be 
studied separately. 

Although the film moves at a fairly constant rate, a time line is employed to 
insure accuracy in the measurements. A neon tube is exposed to the film through 
a slit as long as the film is wide and 0.5 millimeter in width. This slit is adjacent 
to the slit E. The neon tube is connected to the secondary of an induction coil, and 
a 25 ~ electrically driven tuning fork is placed in series with the primary of the 
coil, a 2- volt direct current being used. This arrangement photographs 25 parallel 
lines per second, each line extending across the width of the film. 

The movements of the damper pedal also are recorded on the film. A lever 
arm, mechanically controlled by the damper pedal, is mounted in the piano on 

PIANO 237 

one side of the bank of hammers. The movements of this lever arm are photo- 
graphed while the record is taken and show partial or incomplete damping as 
well as the extreme positions of the pedal. A similar record may be made for the 
other pedals. 

The camera is surprisingly simple and inexpensive. It imposes 
no restrictions upon the player and does not interfere with routine 
use of the piano in the studio. 

Thus it is seen that all time factors, the moment of incidence, 
the duration, and the moment of cessation of each tone, are meas- 
ured directly in 0.01-second units on the tracing for each key and 
the damper pedal. 

The intensity of the tone is measured in terms of the rate of 
impact of the hammer as expressed in millimeter units of the sec- 
tion AB in the photogram. These units are converted into decibel 
readings of 17 steps. Each step represents approximately 2 db, 
thus giving a range of 34 db. 


The photogram of the type in Fig. 1 is a complete chart in itself, 
but, for detailed analysis and publication, this photo record is 
transcribed into a musical performance score as in Fig. 3. A mova- 
ble scale in the form of a plat of the piano keyboard is laid vertically 
across the record (Fig. 1) in front of any note that is to be read. The 
bass end of the scale is at the top and the treble at the bottom in 
this figure. By this means we find that in this photogram the top 
note is E in the bass clef and the other note in the same dichord is 
E 4 in the treble. The note following is G 3 #, and the last note is B 2 . 

To represent the facts in musical notation, we utilize the con- 
ventional staff and substitute bar graphs for the conventional 
musical notes (Fig. 3). Thus the three bars represent the three notes 
just named. The position in the staff indicates the pitch of the note. 

The vertical lines show time in 0.04-second units. The dotted 
slanting line is interpolated to show the degree of asynchronization 
in the first chord. The left end of a bar indicates the exact moment 
that the hammer struck the string. The length of the line indicates 
the time that the key was held down, allowing the strings to vibrate 
unhampered by action of the pedal. The line between the two clefs 
denotes the pedal action, full line meaning pedal not in action, 
absence of line, full pedal, and the dotted line, transition, or "half 



pedaling." Here the pedal is pressed in time to catch the vibration 
of the dichord and is held to cover the following note. 

The relative loudness of each note is indicated by the number 
above each note. These are arranged in a scale of 17, in which 1 
denotes approximately the softest note which can be played with 
musical significance, and 17 the loudest. 

Any musician can read this score at sight and note the actual 
time and intensity values insofar as they are musically significant. 
The pitch and timbre factors are fixed by the structure of the 
instrument and the composition, except as modified by the damper 
pedal. This pattern score is so constructed that, when advanta- 
geously reduced, it can be printed as a musical notation and does 

FIG. 3 The photogram of Fig 1 transcribed into the musical pattern score 

not require much more space than is required for the conventional 
score. A sustained example of the form and use of the piano per- 
formance score is given in the following section. 


In order to illustrate the nature and significance of this pattern 
score in a specific case, let us consider one of the hundreds of prob- 
lems that come up in the subject of phrasing. Figures 5 and 6 are 
performance scores for the standard score shown in Fig. 4. A in Fig. 
5 and B in Fig. 6 are professional pianists playing the same selection 
with instructions to give their best personal interpretation of the 
passage. Each was kept ignorant of the performance of the other. 

With the description given for Fig. 3 above, the reader may now 
compare these pattern scores with the performance score, item for 
item. This comparison might be made with three purposes in view; 
(1) gaining familiarity with the relation of the pattern score to the 
standard score and skill in reading the former; (2) a comparison of 
the performance of the two pianists as to technical skill and per- 



sonal interpretation; and (3) examination of a single element in the 
interpretation in detail. 

The comparison of the pattern score with the standard score 
should be made in accordance with the interests of the reader and 






FIG. 4. The chorale section of Chopin's sixth nocturne. (Henderson.* 6 ) 

in terms of natural questions that may arise, such as the method of 
representing pitch, time, intensity, pauses, measures, chords, 
synchronization, release of keys, pedal, tempo, timbre, sonance, 
tone quality, crescendo, diminuendo, rubato, and accent. All these 



and many other features are clearly indicated in the performance 
score. With these mastered, the performance score of one player 
may be compared with a standard score in terms of any of the 
data just mentioned. 

FIG. 5. The musical pattern score of the chorale section of Chopin's sixth nocturne, as 
played by pianist A. (Henderson.* 6 ) 

The way is then paved for comparing the two performance 
scores item for item. To write out a detailed comparison of these 
two performances in full on the basis of the facts in hand would 



require a volume. The reader should therefore select in turn for 
comparison such features as he would regard as most significant: 
for example, what known principles of interpretation are illus- 

Fia. 6 The musical pattern score of the chorale section of Chopin's sixth nocturne, as 
played by pianist B. (Henderson. 46 ) 

trated? What types of devices are used to attain certain artistic 
ends ? What types and degrees of deviation from metronomic time 
and even intensity are employed ? What manifest faults in skill may 


be found? Are there any personal idiosyncrasies? What are the 
outstanding features of merit in the interpretation given by each? 
What surprising features or media are here used for effect in phras- 
ing? How is tone quality modified by the use of the sostenuto pedal ? 
How often does emphasis on the accented beat occur through inten- 
sity or through time or other means ? 

When these and other questions have been answered after seri- 
ous examination of the facts, the reader may be ready to sit down 
and attempt to reproduce one of the performance scores on the 
piano, interrupting the performance from point to point to "hear 
out" the significance of a particular variant in the phrasing. To 
illustrate the procedure, we may ask and answer in detail one ques- 
tion: By what devices does the player give emphasis to the ac- 
cented note in the measure? 

The reader may think at once that the accent is made by playing 
the note louder, but the score will show that this is seldom the case. 
The composer has determined emphasis in large part by his choice 
of harmonic elements through such means as the repetition of 
identical measure patterns, pitch placement, and position of 
cadences. In this selection, the first of these plays a very important 
role: one pattern (a half -half-half measure) appears nine times in 
the statement and ten times in the restatement of the theme. Pitch 
emphasis may have functioned in six beats. The role of the cadence 
is more marked in phrases than in measures. 

Let us see first what role intensity plays in emphasis on the 
accented beat. In the majority of cases, the accented note is not 
played with greater intensity. It is a matter of coincidence that 
pianists A and Ji each play the first note in the beat louder in only 
19 per cent of the 31 measures. But some of these measures were the 
beginning of phrases and serve the purpose of phrasal separation 
rather than, or in addition to, measure accent. If these be elim- 
inated, there remain only 6 per cent for A and 12 per cent for B with 
undoubted intensity accent. These figures would be altered some- 
what if we take into account the note preceding the accented note 
because of the crescendo or diminuendo. One might expect a half 
note to be struck harder than the quarter note for the purpose of 
maintaining a sound, but there is no evidence of this in the per- 
formance score. 

This fact, that intensity is not essential to accent, was confirmed 
by measurements on phonograph records of performances by 

PIANO 243 

Cortot (Victor 6063-B), Rachmaninoff (Victor 6731-B), and 
Paderewski (Victor 6234-B), making due allowance for lack of 
fidelity in the phonograph record. For all players, the same princi- 
ple operated also in the secondary accent; that is, the third beat in 
the 4/4 measure. Very rarely was the secondary accent achieved 
through increasing intensity of that note in comparison with the 
unaccented note following. 

It is quite possible that the above finding may be due to some 
extent to the character of the selections studied. The stressing of 
measures as, for example, in the march or the bolero, may call for 
overt physical stress on the accented notes. 

But how shall we account for this relative absence of physical 
intensity and accent ? It is a fair guess that it is due to the fact that 
the compositional structure suggests the beat unit, and subjective 
rhythms, for both the player and the listener, carry out the scheme. 
This presents a most interesting problem in the psychology of 
music, namely, what features attributed to the performer are really 
due to the subjective contribution of the listener? Countless 
instances might be cited in accordance with the laws of empathy 
and suggestion. 

But time is always a rival of intensity in giving accent. Stress 
may be obtained by lengthening a note or delaying its entrance. 
This is a well-known fact in classical poetry. Schramm 117 has shown 
that it is largely true also of English poetry, and Harold Seashore 158 
has found the same to be true in artistic vocal music. In quarter- 
quarter-quarter note measures pianist A shortened the second 
unaccented note from 2 to 18 per cent in 66 per cent of the cases, 
and B shortened the second note in every case (from 2 to 26 per 
cent). In the half-quarter note measures, A invariably lengthened 
the quarter note in relation to the half note (4 to 28 per cent), and 
B lengthened it 5 to 32 per cent in 88 per cent of the cases. How- 
ever, this lengthening of the note accented cannot all be attributed 
to measure accent. There are many compositional and other factors 
that call for the relative lengthening of an accented note, such as 
the feeling of finality at the introduction of a phrase or the melodic 
quality between long and short notes. 

Delayed entrance of the first accented note occurred in 80 per 
cent of the cases for A, and 90 per cent for JB. The determination of 
the cause or the nature of this delay and the principles operating in 
it are too involved to be discussed here. In some, intensity plays but 


a slight role in emphasis on the accented beats in the measure; time 
is more frequently important, as to both length of the note and 
delay of the accentuated note. Can it be that objective emphasis by 
the player, either by strength or duration of the note, is compara- 
tively secondary in value to the compositional emphasis which the 
musical listener "feels into" the measure subjectively? That is a 
matter for profitable speculation, but the facts just cited stand out 
in the black and white of the performance score. There is no doubt 
that both player and listener hear the accent. 

These findings do not lighten the task of the player or reduce his 
vast range of achievement through the control of time and inten- 
sity. They do, however, complicate his problem when he realizes 
that he not only has to take account of his physical control of time 
and intensity but also his control of the subjective factors which 
psychologically are very real, tangible, and constant. Here the 
distinction between intensity as the physical fact and loudness as 
the resultant mental fact becomes very real and important. 


The two parts of this chorale are, of course, quite different in 
the actual score (Fig. 4). Yet there is a surprising similarity in the 
interpretation given by phrasing as is shown in Fig. 7. For each 
artist the upper section records intensity; the lower, time, with 
the duration of the notes indicated between them. The fidelity in 
the temporal equivalence is most striking. On account of the chorale 
style, the intensity phrasing is not so significant. Regarding pri- 
marily the temporal phrasing, we have here proof of the possibility 
and perhaps even desirability of securing identical musical effects or 
messages in typical statements and restatements of music regard- 
less of the difference in notes. 


As a second illustration of the significance of a performance 
score, we may consider some questions in regard to an artist's 
possibility of interpretation of a musical selection. It is fully rec- 
ognized that any artist can give a great variety of interpretations, 
and it is not desirable that he should have just one, but when we 
consider what a large number of factors enter into a given inter- 
pretation, it is interesting to inquire about the extent to which a 
given interpretation can be repeated. Each artist has his own mode 



ftanbt A 

FIG. 7. Relative duration of melody notes and the corresponding relative intensity values. 




of interpretation. This he may vary ad infinitum in accordance 
with his moods and fancies. Yet there is a tendency to apply certain 
principles or give the same general feeling reaction to a given 




first r 

) 1 1 II I I 

end ft/ on 





Second rendi tion 





































V 1 ^ 








10 15 


FIG. 8. Duration of measures in two renditions of the first 24 measures of Chopin's 
Polonaise, op 40, no. 1, by Bauer. (Sk inner. 16&a ) 

composition. Furthermore, there is a tendency to develop an 
individuality which is recognizable through both limitations and 
particular personal achievements. Suppose we ask the question, 

First rendition 
Second rendi f/on 



Phra ses 
FIG. 9. Duration of phrases in same performance as for Fig. 8. (S 

how accurately can the artist repeat a given interpretation if he 
should try to do so? 

Two artists, Harold Bauer and Philip Greeley Clapp, took part 
in this experiment and recorded samples of performances from 



Beethoven, each repeating a given interpretation two or three times. 

One of the first considerations in attempt- 

ing to apply scientific method to musical 

interpretation is that we must be satisfied 

to fractionate and deal with one item at a 

time. In terms of these performance scores, 

we could indulge in an extended discussion 

as to the exact nature of the interpretation. 

Let us consider only one, the element of 

time, and of this only two aspects, the 

duration of the measure and the duration 6 - 

of the phrase. Many other aspects of time 

are involved, such as the distribution 

within the measure or within the phrase, 

principles operating in determining the 

duration of tones, the use of time for 

emphasis, mode of pedal blending, in fact 

any temporal aspect which is significant 

for a musical interpretation. 

first rend if ion 

I Second rendition 

Third rendition 


2 3 


-r- oi ii i j. * ii n i. FlG - 10 - Duration of the 

Figure 8 shows the duration of the first first 4 phrases in three rendl . 
24 measures in two successive renditions of tions of the first 4 phrases 
Chopin's Polonaise, op. 40, no. 1, as played in Beethoven's Sonata, op. 57, 
by Bauer. The first rendition took 49.1 by (1app ^- 166 > 
seconds and the second, 49.7. It will be observed that there is 
remarkably close correspondence in that the curves have to agree 

Artistic rendition 
- -Attempted metronomic 
rend i tion 

5 10 15 20 

Mea sures 

PIG. 11. Comparison of artistic time and attempted metronomic time in the rendition 
of the first 25 measures of Chopin's Nocturne, op. 27, no. 2, by Clapp. 


for the entire 24 measures. It is clear, of course, that if he had 
played without interpretation, simply reproducing the score in 
metronomic time, these graphs would have been a straight 
horizontal line. Figure 9 shows the consistency of interpretation in 
the same selection in terms of phrases. 

Clapp played a selection from Beethoven's Sonata, op. 57, from 
which a short sample was taken to show to what extent his tem- 
poral interpretation would be consistent in three performances of 
the same unit. Figure 10 gives the record in terms of the length of 
phrases. The agreement of the three performances, as to the dura- 
tion of phrases, is remarkably close, particularly in view of the great 
freedom expressed in the interpretation. The duration of measures 
was in equally close agreement. 

Clapp played a section of Chopin's Nocturne, op. 27, no. 2, 
in which he first gave his normal interpretation by phrasing and 
then attempted to play the same in uniform metronomic time. 
The result is shown in Fig. 11, in which we see that the artist did 
not succeed very well in playing in metronomic time. The curve 
shows that there is a tendency to be influenced by motives for 

In this manner, the study of consistency in interpretation 
could be extended to comparisons of time and intensity in them- 
selves and in their interrelationships, which give expression to 
musical feeling and values. 


In studying piano playing, Vernon 20 * set for himself the follow- 
ing tasks: 

To observe the frequency with which chords are played out of 
perfect synchronization by representative artists and the extent 
of their deviation: to look for consistencies in the manner of 
deviating; to determine which deviations are errors and which 
the result of esthetic intention; to discover which musical situa- 
tions are most consistently the occasion for deviation; and finally, 
to induce principles governing the playing of chords which shall 
be descriptive of the playing of artists and contributory to a 
general theory of the nature of beauty in music. 

These studies were made before the piano camera was available, 
by the use of Duo-art rolls. 

PIANO 249 

The prevailing attitude of teachers is to demand exact syn- 
chronization, as a general rule. This is expressed typically by 
Kullakf 1 who says: 

In particular, the strictest simultaneity of all co-incident 
beats must be maintained and an anticipation by the left hand, 
which so easily becomes a habit in accompanying, resolutely 
suppressed. As in the drawing the line must be sharp, not blurred, 
the rhythmic entrance too must fall on one and the same point, 
and the clearest accuracy prevail throughout the interweaving 
threads of tone. 

A second attitude is expressed by Johnstone^ who stresses the 
same point but admits an exception : 

In playing chord passages, watch that both hands strike 
exactly together and that all the notes of the chord are played 
simultaneously. ... In playing a chord of which one note is a 
melody note, let the finger which plays the melody note drop 
more rapidly and an almost imperceptible shade earlier than the 
fingers which play notes of the accompaniment in the same chord; 
thus the melody will have the stronger tone. 

A third point of view, which we do not find clearly set out in 
literature, but observe in practice, is to the effect that interpreta- 
tion may use chord rolling,* or may delay or advance a particular 
note or notes as an element of musical touch for emphasis or clear- 
ness of perception, or enrichment. This practice is not based upon 
recognized rules, but seems to spring from a liberal attitude toward 
the use of deviations as a means of feelingful expression in the ar- 
tistic mood. This view is in harmony with the main theory of the 
present volume, to the effect that beauty in music lies largely in 
artistic deviation from the exact or rigid. 

It is generally recognized, of course, that deviations do occur, 
and the question then arises as to whether they should be regarded 
as errors or we should seek to discover in them principles of artistic 
interpretation. We may look for both. Regarding the situation 
from this point of view, psychological analysis leads us to expect 
three types of deviations from the exact synchronization. These are 

* The present discussion has nothing to do with chord rolling or similar effects when 
indicated in the score. 



(1) those which represent a recognized principle; (2) those types 
which come about entirely unconsciously and automatically 
through the operation of musical feeling in such a way as to pro- 

g g 8 8 SS 

8 2 S 8 8 S 

duce effects of esthetic value without knowledge of why or how it 
was done; and (3) deviations which may be classified as errors. 
Errors are roughly of two considerably overlapping kinds: first, 
mere evidence of lack of skill, and, second, those due to musical 

PIANO 251 

impediments in the way of playing, such as difficulty in fingering, 
separation of the chord in the two hands, different rhythms in 
the two hands, intervals of more than an octave, and chords with 
many notes. Many of the errors in the latter class are readily 
recognized by knowledge of the presence of particular impediments. 
However, we have no satisfactory means of drawing a sharp line to 
distinguish between errors and artistic principles. 

The question arises at once as to how much variation from 
synchronization we shall count as a deviation. Even the best 
artist cannot be absolutely exact. Our first disposition was to 
make a generous allowance, for example, one or two hundredths 
of a second, but when Vernon investigated this experimentally 
by measuring how small differences in time deviation musical 
observers could detect in asynchronous chords, he found musicians 
who could hear a deviation of 0.01 second from one note to another. 
According to this, the required interval was larger in proportion to 
the lack of time sense and of training of the observer. This made it 
necessary to assume that many musicians probably can hear devia- 
tions from exact synchronization as fine as 0.01 second in actual 
musical performance; and, since this was the unit of measurement, 
it was decided to include for the present purpose all deviations this 
large or larger, without assuming that the smallest difference is 
perceptible to all. 

Our knowledge of individual differences, of course, assures us 
that what degree of deviation shall be heard, whether as an error or 

FIG. 12. A. Entire Sonata Pathttique, op. 13, rolls 5691-4, 5703-3, 5711-3, 18031 

B. (Bauer) first movement, op. 13, grave and allergo con brio, roll 5691-4; 845 chords. 

C. (Bauer) second movement, op. 13, adagio, roll 5703-3, i51 chords. 

D. (Bauer) third movement, op 13, allegro, roll 5711-3, 530 chords. 

E. (Bachaus) first movement, op. 13, grave and allegro con brio, roll 79650; 849 chords. 

F. (Hofmann) Moonlight, op. 27, no. 2, adagio sostenuto, roll 6101-6, 135 chords. 

G. (Paderewski) Moonlight, op. 27, no. 2, adagio sostenuto, roll 6929-8; 136 chords. 
H. (Hofmann) Polonaise Militaire, op. 40, no. 1, allegro con brio, roll 7620-6; 1043 


/. (Paderewski) Polonaise Militaire, op. 40, no. 1, allegro con brio, roll 6140-0; 923 

In all these figures, frequency of occurrence of a deviation is indicated on a scale in 
terms of per cent, the scale being divided into units of 0.1 per cent at the left of the figure, 
the amount of deviation from synchronism is indicated in terms of 0.01 second at the base 
of the figure. The zero, or no deviation, column is, of course, proportionately long. This 
column is broken, and the number at the top gives the per cent of chords in the entire 
selection which were synchronous, leaving the reciprocal percentage to be distributed among 
the deviations which are classified to the left as anticipations and to the right as delays. 


as artistic effect, varies among individuals within very large limits. 
It also varies with the complexity of the chord, the tempo, and 
other factors. 

With all these qualifications in mind, we may now compare 
some outstanding artists. Figure 12 tells one phase of the story. 
Since all the graphs in Fig. 12 are drawn to the same scale, namely, 
in terms of per cent, the form and size of the figures furnish us a 
true objective picture of the characteristics of each performer on 
this one specific aspect, the number, magnitude, and distribution of 
deviations from true synchronization. 

At a glance, we see that each performer differs materially in his 
utilization of this device. Conversely, each figure shows to what 
extent each performer plays in exact synchronization. Assuming a 
high standard of proficiency among these artists, differences such as 
those indicated may possibly be attributed to the attitude that each 
artist takes toward the utilization of this device. 

It also is noticeable that the utilization of this principle varies 
for the same artist in different selections, and that a given selection 
reveals a common tendency among artists; the Moonlight adagio 
brings out more than twice as many deviations as the Polonaise 
Militaire. More detailed studies show also that the same artist 
varies his deviations in repetition of similar measures, phrases, 
and larger units. 

After preliminary study of these performances, Vernon drew 
up a set of 26 principles which he thought theoretically should 
function in the asynchronization of chords. In terms of these, he 
undertook a statistical analysis of all the performances to deter- 
mine the validity of each proposition. Some were confirmed, others 
were found partly observed, and for some no evidence was found. 
Any musician who has attempted to state in black and white why 
he treats the chord in a given way will realize that this was a bold 
venture in view of the fact that most of the asynchronization is not 
done according to rules but is a spontaneous expression of feeling 
values. In this statistical study Vernon excluded the rolling of 
chords indicated by the composer. His findings may be generalized 
in the following statements: 

1. Various causes for asynchronization lie in mechanical difficulties. 

2. A considerable percentage of the smaller deviations probably may be 
regarded as errors. 

PIANO 253 

3. A number of the specific principles may be subsumed under the general 
principles that notes may be brought in singly to facilitate perception. 

4. Another group may be subsumed under the principle that chords may be 
played with a temporal spread for the sake of emphasis. 

5. Chords may be spread for the purpose of softening a sharp contour, espe- 
cially in legato movements, in tempo rubato, and other musical forms requiring 
softening of contour. 

With the technique now available, this problem is open for 
extensive and intensive investigations which are certain to throw 
much light upon the nature of artistry in piano playing. 



rriHE psychology of singing falls naturally into three large divi- 
-L sions, as it deals in turn with the singer, the song, and the lis- 
tener. This chapter will be devoted to a study of the song, as 
represented in the musical pattern score.* 

If a musician were asked to give a complete account of every 
detail that he, as a trained musician, had heard in a given song, his 
account at best would be extraordinarily laborious, and even then 
inadequate. In the performance score, however, we have a rela- 
tively complete record of everything that happened in the song, 
involving a multitude of details that the musician never hears. 

In the study of this score, our first task is to see in accurate 
detail exactly what the physical features are in the song pattern as 
rendered. After one is familiar with these features, the real study 
of the score must be made in terms of musical theory, musical 
interests, musical skills, and everything else that has meaning for 
the musician. It presents a long and rich story which we must leave 
each musician to construct for himself. 

A complete description of a song would involve (1) the quanti- 
tative statement of the physical features in the rendition as revealed 
by measurements on sound waves; (2) the relating of these to the 
musical score; (3) the discovery of principles of artistic expression; 

(4) the application of musical theory in evaluating the performance; 

(5) the identification of the faults in the rendition, either real or 

* This chapter is based almost entirely upon the researches of Dr. Harold G. Seashore, 
working as Eastman fellow in the psychological laboratory. The student of singing will find 
it worth while to pursue in detail his original report. 166 


VOICE 255 

apparent; (6) an evaluation of the performance in relation to mu- 
sical form and esthetic norms and ideals. The musical pattern score 
presents concrete data on all these issues. What we can hope to 
accomplish in this chapter must, therefore, be limited to an intro- 
duction to the technique of the interpretation of songs, especially 
as represented by items (1) and (2). 

At the first inspection of the musical pattern score, the reader 
will be surprised by the constant and relatively gross deviation of 
the pattern score from the original musical score. Children delight 
in a demonstration with the microscope on the fingernails. Take a 
well-manicured, clean fingernail, and, to the naked eye, it looks 
smooth and presents a beautiful edge; put that nail under a high- 
powered microscope, and what to the naked eye had seemed smooth 
and graceful now appears jagged, irregular, rough, and ugly. Ap- 
plying this analogy to hearing, we find that the unaided ear, like 
the unaided eye, has marked limits in sensitivity and, therefore, 
does not detect the countless deviations in tones which tone photog- 
raphy brings out in astonishing detail. We shall see in this score a 
great many elements in performance which the limits of hearing and 
artistic demands have normally smoothed over as a result of the 
complexity of the musical situation, the rapid movement of the 
tones, the sporadic nature of errors, and ignorance about artistic 
principles which operate. 

The performance score gives us for the first time a real insight 
into specific features of the act of singing. The conventional 
musical score, which is a message from the composer to the singer, 
leaves the artist great latitude for interpretation and the exhibition 
of musical skills. The performance score, which we have sometimes 
called the pattern score, is a record of how the singer actually 
performed. It is a tool of investigation, a graphic picture in detail. 


Singer Voice Composition Source 

Baker Contralto lie shall feed His flock (Messiah) Record, Victor 4026 

Crooks Tenor All through the night Record, Victor 1558 

Homer Contralto Calm as the night Record, Victor 6703 

Kraft (1) Tenor Drink to me only with thine eyes Direct 

Kraft (2) Tenor All through the night Direct 

Marsh Soprano Come unto Him (Messiah) Record, Victor 4026 

Seashore Soprano Come unto Him (Messiah) Direct 

Stark Tenor Ave Mana (Bach-Gounod) Direct 

Thompson Basso Phosphorescence (Loewe) Direct 

Tibbett Baritone Drink to me only unth thine eyes Record, Victor 1238 



This chapter will furnish a certain amount of study material 
with directions to the reader for actual work in this type of analysis 
at first hand. A few songs are given here in extenso so that they may 

FIG. 1. Drink to me only with thine eyes as sung by Arthur Kraft. (H. Seashore. 166 ) 

be used as working material from several points of view in this and 
in other chapters. 

Table I is a list of the singers with their songs which Seashore 1 ** 
studied intensively. The main analysis is based primarily upon 
Stark's rendition of the Ave Maria (Fig. 1, in Chap. 4). There are 



two songs by the same singer, Kraft (1) Drink to me only with thine 
eyes (Fig. 1) and Kraft (2) All through the night (Fig. 2). There are 
two men singing the same song, Drink to me only with thine eyes, 
Tibbett (Fig. 3, in Chap. 4) and Kraft (Fig. 1). There are also 

FIG. 1. Kraft I. (Continued.) 

two women who sang the same song, Come unto Him, from the 
Messiah, one a professional singer, Marsh (Fig. 3), and the other an 
amateur singer, Seashore (Fig. 4). 

The serious student of music will take the assignment here sug- 
gested and compare the performance of each of the different singers 



on each topic which comes up for observation, insofar as time and 
specific interests permit. By this inductive method the analysis will 

FIG. 2. All through the night as sung by Arthur Kraft. (77. Seashore. 1 ) 

bring out with extraordinary detail and realism the musical issues 
under consideration. This material will, of course, furnish a splendid 



starting point for the discussion of what the ear actually hears and 
what the musician thinks he performs, and may be compared with 
the study of violin (Chap. 18) and piano performances (Chap. 


We recall that the score is divided into half steps indicated 
alternately by dotted lines and dash lines. If a note was steady and 
in perfect pitch, the graph would be a straight line on one of these 
interrupted lines. Any deviation from the true pitch is shown 
by proportionate deflection above or below the true-pitch line. The 
distance between two adjacent dash lines represents a whole-tone 

FIG. 2. Kraft 2. (Continued.) 

step, and, therefore, the distance between a dotted line and dash 
line is a semitone. The measurements are in terms of a 0.01-tone 
step, and we shall use that terminology. The musical notes which 
are interpolated are not part of the photographic record but are 
inserted merely as an aid in comparing this pattern score with the 
original musical score. Each dot and dash represents 0.1 second. 
The vertical bars mark off seconds, and the short heavy bars at the 
bottom mark off the measures. 


General trends of intonation. In order to show how the most 
salient features of the pitch score in these songs may be read, we 
may suggest the reading for the first page of the Ave Maria (Fig. 
1, Chap. 4) as sung by Stark. 



The song is in the key of F. The first note on the syllable A was approached 
from below, rose above the mean pitch, and then remained on true pitch for a 
little over 3 seconds. The ve began in true pitch, but rose to about a quarter tone 

FIG. 3. The aria Come unto Him (Messiah) as sung by Lucy Marsh. (H, Seashore. 166 ) 

sharp for three-fourths of the note. The Ma was touched but lightly on two 
vibrato cycles, followed by an upward glide on the third cycle. The ri was begun 
a trifle flat, but after three cycles rose to true pitch, and remained true up to the 



portamento to the second note on the tie; it then flirted with this note on two 
wide cycles and glided upward until it was continued on the syllable a in true 
pitch throughout this note. After a breath-pause the note on gra was attacked by 

FIG. 3. Marsh. (Continued.) 

a two-tone rising glide, followed by two cycles slightly flat, reaching the true 
pitch about the third cycle, from which there was a gradual flatting followed by 
a gradual return to true pitch, the portamento to the second note of the interval 



being considerably overreached. The movement from the flatted second note on 
the tie continued on the next two notes, ti and a, under a relatively even upward 
glide in which the true notes were only touched by the crest of the very wide 
vibrato cycles. Pie was sung on approximately true pitch for the first note of the 
tie, and only the crest of the vibrato cycle reached the second note of the tie 
from which a downward glide carried it to the true pitch of the note on na, which 
was then sung on approximately true pitch. 









W . 

5T "Tf r 

_.^w\^U /vww 





- - ^/ywwAAAAA vw^ - 


FIG. 3. Marsh. (Continued.) 

After a breath pause, the note on Do was attacked two and one-half tones from 
below and rose leisurely for 0.7 second to true pitch, which was held to the glide 
on the second note, which was slightly overreached, so that on this and the next 
two notes, mi and nus, we have a parallel to the three notes at the end of the 
fifth measure. Both notes for the tie on te were sung flat but a half tone short. 
The note on cum was attacked flat but was held on true pitch after the first two 
cycles. The first note in the ninth measure reached the true pitch in three cycles, 



began the glide gradually, and slightly overreached the second note. From this 
note through the next five notes we see the characteristic figure of the legato 

Fia. 4. The aria Come unto Him (Messiah) as sung by Mrs. Carl Seashore, Jr. 

(//. Seashore. 166 ) 

movement, that is, the notes lose individuality and are blended in a gliding, 
relatively smooth inflection which constitutes a natural unit. 

With this guide in the interpretation of intonation, the reader 
should proceed throughout the rest of the song, noting carefully 



the characteristics of the tonal movement throughout each note. 
In such analysis the intonation of this song will reveal the following 
features, among many others: (1) The mean pitch, which is the 







FIG. 4. Seashore. (Continued.) 

actual pitch heard, tends to correspond with the true pitch of the 
musical score. (2) The mean pitch is, however, frequently flatted or 
sharped to a surprising degree. This is more characteristic of short 



than of long notes. Long notes tend to begin slightly flat and are 
gradually corrected as if by hearing. (3) The tones in the upper and 
lower registers are sung with equal accuracy, but there is relatively 

Fia. 4. Seashore. (Continued.) 

more flatting in the upper and lower registers, and there are more 
sharped tones in the middle register. This is contrary to the com- 
mon notion that flatting occurs primarily on high notes. (4) 



The movement through the body of the tone may be characterized 
as level, erratic, rising, or falling. Of the 107 notes, 48 were sung 
level, 37 rising, 6 erratic, and 9 falling. The rising inflections seem to 
be due in large part to the legato attack, in which the characteristic 
sharp rise of the attack tapers off through a diminishing flat up to 
the true pitch. (5) In the phrasing, small units tend to fall into a 
more or less graceful inflection unit, rising, falling, upward bend, 
downward bend, or circumflex. (6) In analogous situations for 
phrasing, the same types of liberties tend to be taken, and the type 
is repeated throughout the song. 

Fio. 4. Seashore. (Continued.) 

In this literal interpretation of the pattern score itself, the 
musical reader will find numerous other characteristics of pitch 
intonation; some indicating typical errors, others indicating devia- 
tions from true pitch on artistic principles, and some just plain 

These revelations, though shocking to the uninitiated, should 
not condemn this singer. On the contrary, the original sta- 
tistical tables of comparisons with famous artists show that this 
artist maintains a better than average level of achievement in 
each of these matters of intonation that are revealed by the pattern 

Sharping and flatting. The issue as to sharping and flatting as- 
sumes new proportions and new phases in the light of these per- 

VOICE 267 

formance scores. All the singers show some surprisingly large 
deviations from true pitch. Some of these undoubtedly have esthetic 
value in phrasing and harmonic balancing. On the other hand, the 
larger deviations we find could not occur except under cover of the 

Here we may inject a poser: Why should a musician perform in 
the conventional intervals ? The music may demand an augmented 
or a diminished interval. The soloist can and does take advantage of 
a license which, if better known, might become an esthetic rule. 

These deviations from true intonation are tolerated by the 
listening ear for the reason that only when the listener is highly 
trained and in a critical mood does he hear these deviations from 
the exact and rigid. But, of course, the main justification lies in 
the fact that beauty lies in artistic deviation from the rigid, 
and the legato movement is perhaps a striking example of this type 
of tonal license. Indeed, a rigidly true intonation without vibrato 
would be uninteresting and intolerable in the singing voice. 

The pitch vibrato. In judging the merits or demerits of a singer, 
we must take into account primarily (1) the extent, (2) the regular- 
ity, (3) the form, and (4) the rate of the pitch pulsation. 

The average extent of the cycles in the first song is 0.48 of a tone, that is, 
practically a semitone. This happens to be the average extent for the best singers 
of today. Sixty-five per cent of the extents fall within 0.1 of a tone from this aver- 
age with a standard deviation of 0.14 of a tone. The wave form is relatively 
smooth, which is characteristic of a good, trained singer. 

The rate of pulsation is 6.5 cycles per second, with a standard deviation of 0.6. 
The average rate for good singers is 6.3 with a standard deviation of 0.7. Eighty- 
three per cent of the cycles fall within 10 per cent of the average. 

The extent of the pulsation is slightly larger (7 per cent) for the short tones 
than for the long tones. The rate of pulsation is approximately the same for long 
and short tones. The extent is slightly larger for the low tones than for the high or 
medium tones. The rate is approximately the same for high, medium, and low 
tones. There are no marked disturbing characteristics. The extent, the regularity, 
the form of pulsation, and the rate may be characterized as being typical. In 
summary, Stark's vibrato is about the average for good artists now on the 
American stage. 

The following questions, among hundreds of this kind, are 
answered in these performance scores and can be observed by 

* There is an instrument, called the "theremin," which is played by waving the hands 
in front of its antennae. If played without the vibrato, the intonation is intolerable because 
it is rarely true, but with the vibrato the mellow tone carries a satisfying accuracy in pitch. 


detailed and critical observation. It is suggested that the reader find 
his own answers from firsthand study of the scores and then com- 
pare them with the summary embodied in Chap. 4. 

1. How generally does the pitch vibrato occur in these songs? 

2. What is the average rate of pulsation ? 

8. What is the average pitch extent of the pulsation? 

4. How does the pitch vary from vibrato cycle to vibrato cycle? 

5. How does the vibrato vary in pitch from tone to tone and within the 
same tone? 

6. Is there any correlation between the rate and the extent of the pitch 
vibrato ? 

7. What is the relation of rate and extent of pitch vibrato to low, medium, 
and high pitch? 

8. What is the relation of rate and extent of pitch vibrato to soft and 
loud tones? 

9. What is the relation of rate and extent of pitch vibrato to long and 
short tones ? 

10. Does the vibrato vary with sex? 

11. How does the pitch vibrato vary in two artists' versions of the same song, 
or two versions of the same song by the same artist? 

12. How does the pitch vibrato appear in attacks, releases, and portamenti? 

This list of questions is merely a fair sample. The author has 
listed over 200 such questions and many more may be added from 
the point of view of particular interests. It could be extended sev- 
eral times over. The answers to all except those which pertain to 
timbre are in the score. 

In evaluating the four most significant traits of a good singer, 
Bartholomew* names the vibrato as one. In running through the 
score and observing this feature alone, it will be noted that the 
vibrato is present on all notes; that the shape of the pulsation is 
fairly smooth, taking the form of a sine curve; that the rate of 
pulsation is fairly constant; that, as a rule, the pulsation is present 
in the portamento;* and that the actual beginning, and particularly 
the termination, of a note is modified by the way in which it falls 
into phase with the vibrato cycle. 

Precision of intonation in the body of the tone. A careful study 
of the above samples raises serious questions about the extent to 
which exact intonation is practiced and the large number of factors 

* This is not evident at first sight for the reason that the up and down glides tend to 
obliterate the waves in the line; but from a geometric point of view, each line bend in the 
sweeping line actually represents a vibrato wave. 

VOICE 269 

which have to be taken into account in judging intonation. Take, 
for example, Fig. 5, enlarged from the score of the first song, and 
Fig. 6, enlarged from Kraft. In the first figure we must ask: What 
was the pitch of the first tone? If the salient pitch were heard as 
one, it would be represented by the horizontal line. If the salient 
pitch were carefully discriminated, it would take the shape of the 
slowly rising line. What was the pitch of the second note? The third 
note? The fourth note? Parallel these questions in the second 
line. It is shockingly evident that the musical ear which hears the 
tones indicated by the conventional notes is extremely generous 





/ven- ins 

FIG. 5. Samples of mean-pitch lines from Stark. (77. Seashore. 166 ) 

and operates in the interpretative mood. Compare this principle for 
the various singers, and you will see that the matter of hearing 
pitch is largely a matter of conceptual hearing in terms of conven- 
tional intervals, and the vibrato and glides are means of covering 
up faulty intonation. If the last two notes in each of these samples 
were sustained straight, without vibrato, but a trifle sharp or flat, 
they would not be tolerated; but, with this artistic license which the 
vibrato introduces, the faults tend to be covered up by an illusion 
which results in gracefulness. It is interesting to compare Figs. 5 
and 6 to see how common principles tend to crop out. 

It is obvious that the singers never remain for as much as a 
tenth of a second in true pitch as a physical fact. They hover around 
it through the vibrato and other sources of deviation. However, it 
has been shown that the pitch we actually hear is approximately 



the mean between the crest and the trough of the vibrato cycle. 
This we call the mean pitch, as distinguished from the true pitch 
indicated by the keynote of the accompaniment. 

All the characteristics of artistic deviation in the intonation of a 
single note of course apply equally to the singing of intervals in 
harmony and melody. 





FIG. 6. Samples of mean-pitch lines from Kraft. (H. Seashore. 156 ) 

Accuracy of intonation in attack, release, and portamento. The 
portamento, gliding attack and release are examples of factors 
which influence the effectiveness and agreeableness of the tone 
movement characteristic of this song. The songs here studied are 
all in the legato style. In the group we find that 40 per cent of the 

VOICE 271 

intertone transitions take the form of portamento, 25 per cent 
of the tones are attacked with the gliding inflection, and only 
35 per cent show an even attack. In the gliding attacks, 97 per 
cent are rising, quite irrespective of the melodic lines. This rising 
glide is especially associated with the opening of phrases. Figure 7 
shows four characteristic types of rising glide. The longer the tone 
the more likely there is to be a gliding attack. The average duration 
of the attack in these songs is 0.2 second. The average extent of 
the rising glide is about 0.9 of a tone. 

About half the tones in these songs end with a level release 
followed by a pause; about 40 per cent end in the portamento glide. 
Our performance scores give vivid illustration of the various types 
and possibilities. 


FIG. 7. Type forms of gliding, rising attack. (77. Seashore*) 

Is the gliding attack or release to be condemned? Of course, 
there is much slovenliness in singing, and that is to be condemned. 
But there is ample evidence in experimental studies to show that 
glides are an important medium for softening the contour of the 
tone by such artistic deviation from even attack or release. The 
pitch glide has its parallel in the gliding form of the intensity in 
attack. There are also physiological reasons for a rising form of 
both pitch and intensity in that the tone has to be "built up." 
The early form of the Hammond organ brought out this principle 
in a striking manner. The "clean" attack of the tone was disagree- 
able. Larsen 12 has devised a means of "softening" the attack by a 
modulator which makes pitch and intensity come in gradually in 
every note. 

The portamento is, of course, a feature of the interpretation 
contributed by the singer, although it is called for on principle 
in legato style and partly in the score. 

It may occur for any size of interval up to the octave. However, 
incident to melodic movement, the large majority of portamentos 
are for small intervals. Portamentos are, as a rule, shorter than 
glides of the same extent, owing in large part to the rapid move- 


ments in small intervals. The average duration for these porta- 
inentos is about 0.15 second. The wider intervals require greater 
duration of the portamento. It tends to appear in transitions in- 
volving changes in vowel and in the articulation of semivowels, 
transitionals, voiced and nasalized stop consonants, and voiced 
fricatives. A singer glides from one vowel to another or to a diph- 
thong. Figure 8 shows six types of portamentos. It will be observed 
that in good singing the transition is always a function of the 

! v 

FIG. 8, Type forms of portamento. (//. Seashore. 1 ) 

vibrato, which serves to lengthen or shorten the note or the transi- 
tion, according as it fits into the vibrato cycle. 


The exact description of the dynamic aspects in singing is 
complicated by many factors. As has already been pointed out, 
we have no nomenclature in musical notation which is discriminat- 
ing or detailed. The performer has no objective check by which 
he can judge right or wrong in intensity. The measurement in the 
laboratory is complicated by the fact that the reverberations in 
the room, the position of the singer, the position of the listener, 
the point at which the record is made, and many other factors of 
that sort greatly modify the intensity that shall be performed, 
heard, or recorded. Since phonograph records distort the intensity 
in various ways, no intensity record is shown for the last three 
songs, those which were made from phonograph records. 

Yet there are many fundamental facts exhibited in these per- 
formance scores which throw light on the actual nature of the 
dynamic interpretation in these songs. The reader will profit most 
by careful review of the performance scores of the first four songs 

VOICE 273 

for the answers to the following six comprehensive questions in 

1. What is the dynamic pattern of a tone as to attack, sustaining, and release ? 

2. What are the typical group patterns, as in beat, measure, phrase, or 
sentence ? 

3. What is the characteristic range of intensity inflection for each singer? 

4. Is there any correlation between intensity and pitch level? 

5. What are the characteristics of the intensity vibrato as to the frequency 
of occurrence, extent, rates, regularity, and synchronization with the pitch 
vibrato ? 

6. What individual differences in types of intensity inflection are discernible ? 

Since intensity is the principal medium for phrasing, we look 
to the picture of the intensity movement for the complete account 
of the character of the phrasing as affecting accent, measures, 
phrases, and musical sentences in the true physical aspect. By 
this means we may make a comparison with the theoretical 
meaning or phrasing and a comparison of types and interpretation 
in repeated units of the same selection as well as of interpretation 
of the same selection by other singers. 

The intensity score. Intensity is indicated in 4 db steps at the 
left. The zero is set for the softest tone that occurs in this selection, 
probably about 40 db above the threshold of hearing. 

In the Ave Maria, there is a crescendo from to 20 db; there is a weak, but 
even, intensity vibrato throughout all but the first 0.5 second. 

After an inceptive breath pause the intensity rises to its previous level, and 
then follows a decrescendo of 12 db, but the vibrato has practically disappeared. 
In the third note the intensity rises again to the original maximum and is without 
vibrato. Let the reader sing these three notes and observe the natural tendency to 
follow this pattern, which, it will be observed, has great esthetic value. 

The fourth note is maintained fairly steadily at 16 db for 2 seconds. From 
there, there is a slight sagging, apparently in anticipation of and in sympathy 
with the downward portamento of the pitch. It carries a fragmentary vibrato. 
In the last note of the phrase there is a fairly marked intensity vibrato. Since the 
intensity is one of the two principal media in artistic phrasing, w r e have in this 
graphic representation of the dynamic values a perfect picture of the type of 
phrasing accomplished by the artist. In the second phrase there is a gradual swell 
from the just audible up to a new maximum of 9 db louder than in the correspond- 
ing note of the first phrase, with a downward glide through the second note of the 
tie to zero for a breath pause, from which the intensity rises parallel with the 
arpeggio in pitch and drops to zero, giving the notes on ti and a the appearance 
of separation and light touch. The next note rises gradually to 19 db, which is 
maintained until it dips on the portamento, returns to nearly the same maximum, 
and then fails gradually to zero in the pause. 


The curve for the note on Do resembles the curve for the note on gra, rising 
to the same maximum height and diminishing gradually through the tie. On the 
following mi and nus, we have a contrast with the above movement on ti and a, 
in that the two short notes are not separated from the preceding note at the 
beginning and there is no rising intensity with the rising pitch, undoubtedly due 
to the sequel which calls for a soft tone of 8 db only on cum, the last syllable. The 
intensity vibrato is intermittent. 

So much for the verbal legend for the reading of the score. 
From here on, the reader may proceed throughout this and the 
other selections without the verbal aid. After that has been com- 
pleted, a review of the score in perspective gives a set picture of 
the dynamic phrasing which should be verified by each reader in 
terms of his musical knowledge, personal experience, and interests. 

Tonal power. In comparing the dynamic values of tones, it is 
conventional to speak of the highest intensity reached within a 
tone as representing its tonal power. Thus we may speak of the 
average range of an artist's tonal power; the average range 
for 10 concert singers was 20 db. There is a correlation of, r = 0.61 
0.05 between rise or fall in intensity and rise or fall in pitch; i.e., 
as pitch rises or falls, intensity tends to rise or fall. In terms of 
"power," we describe dynamic phrasing, as in beat, measure, 
accent, crescendo, or decrescendo. This is because we must use 
some specific point in the intensity of the note for comparison, and 
the highest peak is what we are likely to hear as the intensity of 
the tone. 

Figure 9 is an illustration of one of numerous ways in which 
singing may be characterized in terms of tonal power as just 
defined. In Tibbett and Kraft (1), we see a marked contrast in the 
dynamic interpretation of their song. We see also how Marsh 
and Seashore differ in their interpretation. Crooks and Kraft (2) 
are in closer agreement. Kraft's range of power differs significantly 
in his two selections. In other comparisons, the difference in the 
character of the song must be taken into account. 

The intensity vibrato. An intensity vibrato is present part 
of the time. It is very significant that it shows the same general 
type of intermittence and irregularity for all the singers here 
studied. It may be discerned 50 to 75 per cent of the phonated 
time, but it has an even rate and extent only about half that time. 
For the more constant periods it has an average extent of about 
6 db; this makes it far less prominent perceptually than the 



average semitone extent of the corresponding pitch vibrato. The 
rate tends to be synchronous with the rate of the pitch vibrato, but 

o 20 ~ o 20 

FIG. 9. Spread of tonal powers within a song; ordinates are percentage of tones, and units 
of 5 db are marked off along the base line. (H. Seashore. 166 ) 

there is great diversity in the phase relationships. The average 

rate is about 6.5 pulsations per second, 4 and 10 being the extremes. 

If we are now familiar with these songs, we may have a feeling 

of familiarity analogous to what we experience after having seen 



the face of a person. We tend to recognize certain characteristics 
of each singer in the performance, for example, the use of breath 
pauses, the sharpness of the attack, the tendency to strike an even 
level, or to decrease or increase within the phrase. These things 
in songs are like the mannerisms or peculiarities of the voice in 
speaking, and here they are shown in the concrete. 


Functionally, the temporal organization is observed primarily 
in tempo, meter, rhythm, and phrasing. The last two are of 


2345 678910 II 12 13146 16 (7 

234 567 89 1011 12 13 14 6 16 
FIG. 10. Durational progress of the songs from measure to measure. Percentage of 
deviation from the average duration of measures is plotted. (H. Seashore. 166 ) 

primary importance psychologically and will be considered 

Phrasing. At this point we may restrict our interest to the 
acquiring of a ready command of time values as represented in the 



performance score. This will be facilitated by the reader's attempt 
to answer the following questions on the basis of a direct inspection 
of the scores: 

1. How are the temporal aspects of tempo, beat, meter, rhythm, and phras- 
ing represented in the scores? 















2345 678 


-^ NT MI fl F 








INT 1 

123 4 5 67 8 




I 2345 67 8 9 10 II 12 13 14 15 16 

FIG. 11. Durational progress of the songs from phrase to phrase. The percentages are 
calculated from the duration of the briefest phrase as the base. (//. Seashore. 1 * 6 ) 

2. What types of deviation from the musical score in time are observed? 

3. What types of pauses may be observed? 

In studying these temporal phenomena we must distinguish 
clearly between the objective time and time as heard. The two 
are far from parallel; that is, we do not hear time as it really is. 
There is a vast mass of normal illusions of hearing involved, 
partly owing to incomplete perception but perhaps more frequently 
to esthetic values. 


Of course, nobody sings in time indicated by the notes. Take, 
for example, variations in the length of the measure, as shown for 
the 10 singers in Fig. 10. If each measure were allowed the same 
duration, the result would be represented by the straight line 
marked "average"; this is not the case. The singer's interpretation 
is accomplished by artistic deviation from this average. Thus, 
Tibbett shortens the first two notes and comes to the average in 
the third, then shortens the fourth note about 18 per cent, and so 
on, for the first two-thirds of the phrase, and in the last third 
emphasizes his phrasing by a marked lengthening of all measures 
except the last. In none of these singers is there the slightest ap- 
proach to an even time for a measure.* 

The same principle might be illustrated for the beats within 
the measure, which are the foundation work of the rhythm. Ac- 
cented and unaccented notes are varied in length within a measure 
in order to create briskness of artistic rhythm. 

The same principle is illustrated on a larger scale, using the 
phrase instead of the measure as a unit of variability in Fig. 11. 
The base, zero, represents the duration of the briefest phrase. 
Points above this line indicate percentage of lengthening in the 

Pauses also play a very important role in musical interpreta- 
tion. The time marks for pauses in the score are of comparatively 
little value to the artist, who makes various pauses in connection 
with personally felt esthetic needs as well as for convenience in 
articulation and intonation. It is, of course, strikingly apparent 
that the temporal value of notes is greatly modified by the release, 
and portamento, f 

As to whether a given singer is good or bad in the use of time, 
there are two ways in which we may judge: (1) by statistical 
treatment of analogous features in the performance of great singers 
and (2) by our own feeling as to what seems to be agreeable or 
disagreeable in temporal expression. The latter is, of course, our 
almost universal resource, but is fallible and inadequate. 

* "Inc'' in certain graphs indicates that the reading was incomplete, or interrupted at 
that point. 

f The word "tempo" may be used in two meanings, as illustrated in Figs. 10 and 11. 
It may mean the average time as represented by the straight line, or it may mean the 
continually modified time from moment to moment, as shown by the rising and falling line 
in the graph. We may call the former tempo and the latter modified tempo. Even tempo ia 
rarely desired outside of large group performance. 

VOICE 279 


The interpretative aspect of singing lies almost entirely in the 
field of phrasing, and the medium of phrasing is primarily rhythm. 
Table II gives a skeletal cue to the type of factors which must be 
considered in discussing rhythm in artistic singing. The items 
listed under performance in each of the four heads can be repre- 



(From H. Seashore 166 ) 
I. Duration (time) 

1. Composition 

a. Note and rest values: the note pattern 
6. Meter: the measure pattern 

c. Phrase: the verse pattern 

d. Tempo: the song pattern 

e. Words: meter, phrasing, synchronization 

/. Accompaniment: coordination with melody 

2. Performance 

a. Time stress: over- and underheld tones 
6. Progressive shifts: rubato, accelerando 

c. Special effects: arrhythm, syncopations 

d. Words: scansion, phrasing, synchronization 

e. Accompaniment: synchronization, tempo 
II. Loudness (intensity) 

1. Composition 

a. Symbols: pp t ff t cresc., sfz. 

2. Performance 

a. Intertonal dynamics: stress, crescendo, phrase 

b. Intra tonal dynamics: contour within tones 

c. Words: scansion by intensity stress 

d. Accompaniment: augmentation of voice stress 

III. Pitch (frequency) 

1. Composition 

a. Melody: tones favoring accent 

6. Phrase: cadence, repetition, contour 

c. Words, speech, singing melody, coordination 

d. Accompaniment: melody, arpeggio, chords 

2. Performance 

a. Ornaments: vibrato, grace notes, figures 

b. Transitions: attack, release, portamento 

c. Words: effect upon pitch accuracy, transition 

IV. Tone quality (wave form) 

1. Composition 

a. Words: mood, meaning, 'color,' alliteration 

b. Accompaniment: piano, orchestra, organ 

2. Performance 

a. Vowel: inter- and intratonal quality 
6. Articulation: consonants, pauses, clarity 



sented in pattern scores. Rhythm is often thought of in terms of 
accent and duration of the tone; but the situation is vastly more 

E v 









J JiJ.T.r J J, J 




J. J yi/JJ- J 

inrMiorr IOF JOVE\ 


FIG. 12. Kraft 1 and Tibbett. The role of several factors in rhythm. Top to bottom: 
pattern of note-length, melody, words, relative duration, tonal power, phrases. Vertical lines 
indicate measures. (H. Seashore. 166 ) 

complicated. Instead of speaking of accent and length of tone, the 
psychologist favors the use of the term "rhythmic advantage." A 

VOICE 281 

note has rhythmic advantage, if it is strong, or disadvantage, if it 
is soft. It has advantage, if it is long, disadvantage, if it is short. 
But there are many other factors acting singly, in combination, 
or in opposition. These may occur in each of the four attributes of 
sound: pitch, intensity, duration, or tempo of the tone may give 
advantage or disadvantage to rhythmic emphases. 

Figure 12, which is an analysis of sections from Kraft (1) and 
Tibbett, gives graphic illustrations of how these factors occur and 
work together. The top line for each unit gives the time values 
from the musical score. The next line graphs the rise and fall in 
pitch. The next line gives the words. The next gives the fluctuation 
in time value, that is, overholding or underholding the note. 
The last unit gives the emphasis caused by intensity. Let us follow 
analyses of the graphs made for Kraft (1) and Tibbett. 

The first phrase consists of two measures, less one eighth note; all the notes, 
as seen in the top line, are eighth notes, except the quarter note on the second beat 
of the first measure. The melodic curve is level for the first three notes, rises a 
half step for the remainder of the measure, ascends a whole step on the beat note 
of the second measure, and then descends by half and whole steps to a low tone 
on eyes, which is then continued a step higher to end the phrase on the same pitch 
as it began. The words are self-explanatory. It is seen that the first tone, Drink, 
was overheld almost 35 per cent and that the next two were relatively much 
shorter; to and me not only were shorter than the equally valued note of Drink, 
but were relatively shorter than the average eighth note. In other words, the 
tempo of the phrase was accelerated. 

On-ly with, also, were relatively underheld, but they formed a little pattern of 
rubato of their own. The second note of with, an eighth note, again was not given 
its relative time. Apparently this time was given to the syllable thine, which is 
important to the meaning of the lyric. Interestingly enough, the first tone of 
eyes, in an accent position, was again hurried so that it was relatively underheld, 
not only with respect to the average, but also to its neighboring tones. The phrase 
closes on the second tone of eyes, which apparently was retarded a little to give 
finality, although even here the value was just about the average of all eighth 

In the intensity graph at the bottom, the tonal powers of the first three tones 
were the same, 3 db above the smallest tonal power in the song, which is the zero 
level of the graph. The syllable on was accentuated by increased tonal power, but 
on ly, an unaccented tone, the power subsided. The lowest tonal power in the 
phrase was found in the accented syllable with. Following this, there was a steady 
increase of powers to the last tone of the phrase. 

Articulation can be studied in the syllables, although such a study is incom- 
plete because not all syllables were given distinct articulation; some consonants 
were passed over in portamento glides. The articulation in the portamento is not 
as distinct as the articulation of the opening vowel or consonant after a pause. 


Also, it is not shown here which attacks were level and which were gliding; it is 
quite clear that a long gliding attack after a pause will have some articulatory 
rhythmic advantage. The main contribution of the graphs is the parallel por- 
trayal of relative pitch, time, and tonal power. 

These facts are, of course, all present in the original performance 
score but are here isolated for facilitation of observation. It is well 
worth while to make a detailed comparison of renditions given by 
Kraft and Tibbett, item for item. No one assumes that two singers 
should sing the same song alike, or that even one singer should re- 
peat the same song in the same manner. But it is interesting to see 
how many interpretative factors must be inherent in the music it- 
self to bring about the very numerous agreements in the rhythmic 

The exhibit of repeated rhythmic patterns within the same 
selection is very significant. It is worth while to review the various 
scores with this one objective in view. The temporal pattern is 
repeated in several phrases, giving a very clear illustration of how 
the composition demands phrasal patterns and how the pattern 
is repeated in successive phrases, often quite in disregard of melody. 

In the Messiah arias, of Marsh and Seashore, the first five phrases are repeated 
in the second five with only one small change in the tenth phrases. Otherwise, 
for each singer we have five rhythmic, melodic, and lyrical patterns, each done 
twice. Furthermore, in the aria Come unto Him, phrases 1, 3, 6, and 8 are 

Consider the first phrase, Come unto Him. Both Seashore and Marsh sang this 
expression with cup-shaped patterns of relative time; Seashore's repetitions were 
more uniform. Phrases 2 and 7 were done differently by the two singers, although 
each singer was consistent with herself. The difference between the two singers 
was in regard to the tones on la and bor. Seashore overheld the dotted eighth 
note, which is the first note of /a, while Marsh chose to effect the climax of her 
retard on the final tone /a, an eighth note just preceding the drop of an octave to 
bor. Marsh's version was more arrhythmic. 

Marsh did phrases 4 and 9 reasonably close to strict and uniform time, except 
that in the second rendition, phrase 9, she shortened both of the sixteenth notes 
rather excessively. Seashore's pattern is much more interesting as far as dura- 
tional organization is concerned. The curve represents an accelerando-ritardando- 
accelerando pattern of tempo. Each time she favored the anacrusis note opening 
the phrases by lengthening it; then she favored the primary accent slightly by 
curtailing the following eighth note. On beat 2, the tertiary accent, she introduced 
a slight accent of relative duration; the next two notes were underheld, and then 
she overheld the sixteenth note which is the secondary accent on count 3, giving 
it not only a small durational stress, but also making the brief note more 

VOICE 283 

In the final phrases of each division, 5 and 10, Marsh showed great uniformity. 
Marsh overheld the anacrusis and in each case to open the phrase and then favored 
the He on the primary beat by over-holding it in relation to the second tone on 
the same syllable. The tones on give in each repetition, being a tertiary accent on 
count 2, are important from the textual standpoint; they were, therefore, held 
considerably longer than if in strict time. However, the general retard of the 
phrase led up to the you in an unaccented position just preceding the long tone 
with rest. 

Seashore stressed the meaning by accentuating He in the second repetition, 
phrase 10, and in both cases syncopated by oversustairiing the second tone of 
give. She closed the phrases accelerando. 

Five variables in rhythm. In the above analysis, it has been 
possible to take into account five variables in rhythm: (1) the note 
length, which is set in the composition; (2) relative overholding 
or underholding of a note in time; (3) the rise or fall in melody; 
(4) tonal power or intensity; and (5) pauses. 

For each of these we may recognize double advantage, simple 
advantage, indifference, and disadvantage. For example, if a note 
is relatively overheld with respect to both of its neighbors, it has 
double advantage; if it exceeds only one neighbor, it has simple 
advantage; if it is equal to its neighbors, there is indifference; and 
if it is underheld, it has rhythmic disadvantage. Each of these five 
factors may operate singly or in combination with other factors. 
Thus, a long note may also be overheld and have an advantage of 
rise in pitch and increase in tonal power, either in a primary or 
secondary accent. Two or more variables may act in opposition, 
thus tending to cancel the rhythmic stress. In transitions a tone 
may have rhythmic advantage from a pause of over a half second 
or by initiating a gliding attack or long portamento. 


Timbre refers to the quality of a tone at a single moment and, 
as we have seen, is measured in terms of the form of the sound 
wave. But tone quality also takes into account sonance, which 
embraces the rapid change of the character of the tone in timbre, 
pitch, and intensity, whether artistic or erratic. 

Timbre. The various objective scores presented in this chapter 
show nothing about timbre. It is fully recognized that this fourth 
factor in singing is by far the most important characteristic of 
voice, but it is also the most complicated factor. It is not want of 


material or technique, but want of space that prevents treatment 
of the timbre of the voice in the scores here analyzed. 

The best mode of complete representation of a tone is that 
employed for Fig. 4 and similar figures in Chap. 9. The spectrum 
for each sound wave is placed on a slanting base to represent the 
complete overtone structure of a 500 ~ tone lasting one second. 
We should have to represent 500 spectra in this manner. A simple 
figure of such proportion would require a large page ! 

The practical thing to do in studying voice is, of course, to take 
"fair samples" to the extent that time and space may permit. 
That is what we have done in Chaps. 8, 9, and 17, in which the 
general principles of timbre are discussed. 

For practical purposes in the description of the timbre of a 
voice or in the comparative study of voices, it is quite feasible to 
make compact sampling of a voice with due regard for variations 
with pitch, intensity, time, phonetic element, and location of the 
sample within the tone. When principles of these variables are 
standardized, we shall be able to add to each objective performance 
score a general picture of the way in which the particular voice 
conforms to recognized principles and supplement this by pictures 
of specific peculiarities, good or bad, in the exhibition of timbre. 

Sonance. To determine the exact quality of a singer's voice 
in a given situation, we must also take into account the phenomena 
of sonance. These are amply illustrated in the entire performance 
scores for the singers here presented, as to pitch, intensity, and 
time. Among the basic factors which must be considered are a full 
and quantitative statement of the characteristics of the vibrato, 
both artistic and erratic, for pitch, intensity, and timbre, all shown 
in the performance score. Likewise, the stability or instability of 
the tone in terms of intensity, both artistic and erratic, is a deter- 
mining factor of sonance, principally as affecting roughness or 
smoothness of tone. 

Space will not permit a verbal description of the very detailed 
comparison that can be made, but with the experience gained up 
to this point, each reader may now indulge in these comparisons 
to his heart's delight, observing first the gross resemblances and 
differences, and then going into details from note to note, from 
esthetic principle to esthetic principle, and thus gain a very rich 
basis for the comparison of singers and for a deeper realization of 
what any one singer actually accomplishes. 

VOICE 285 

This chapter has undoubtedly proved to be a severe assignment 
for study. It is well adapted for such purposes, and can be made a 
constant reference whenever any principle of singing is under 
discussion. The student may be sent to records of this kind to 
obtain original qualitative statements on the issues involved. 

We now have gained a bird's-eye view of the factors with which 
we may deal in a complete analysis of artistic performance in 
voice. The serious student has been confronted with a very heavy 
task, on the one hand, in attempting to isolate each of these facts 
and, on the other hand, to integrate them into a complete picture 
of tone quality. From this, there should follow a discriminating use 
of terms, a deepened insight into actual resources of what con- 
stitutes a voice, the development of the musical ear of the dis- 
criminating listener, and musical criticism. It is in terms of this 
approach that we must build the science of voice, musical esthetics, 
and the scientific foundations of training in the art of singing. 



MODERN organized efforts in the direction of occupational 
guidance of the young take three forms education for 
general culture, vocational training, and avocational training. 
The vocational guidance is of leading interest in the public mind 
the problem of placing each youth in the occupation for which he 
is best fitted. But avocational guidance is coming to be recognized; 
first, because we are confronted seriously for the first time in the 
modern world with the problem of educating for leisure how to 
spend spare time; and second, because in the arts we find the most 
marked exhibitions of talent or lack of talent, and the pursuit 
of the arts is and should be far more of an avocational nature than 
vocational. This is particularly true of music. The real emphasis 
needs to be laid at the point of educational guidance, whether it 
be for vocation or avocation. If the educational guidance is well 
done, the other two will take care of themselves. 

The aim of this chapter is to present in rapid review a general 
picture of the present status of educational guidance in music, 
setting forth underlying principles, safeguards, and objectives. It 
will be restricted to a consideration of the discovery, the evaluation, 
and the guidance of musical talent and will not touch upon the 
problem of means of education or outlets for the trained. 

* This chapter is essentially reprinted with permission, in part from School and Society 11 *" 
and in part from the $th Yearbook of the National Society for Experimental Education. 1 * 
It dovetails with the next three chapters, which give more specific accounts of psychological 
guidance in music. 




Music is the most universal art, but the outlet for a professional 
career is relatively limited to four fields, namely, those of composer, 
conductor, virtuoso, and teacher. 

The highest form of musicianship is that of the composer, who 
represents superior creative power that is very rare. The conductor 
is the supreme interpreter and represents the greatest versatility, 
together with the power of leadership. The virtuoso is the winner in 
a severe struggle for survival. He represents a very small percentage 
of those whose ambitions lie in that direction and is often regarded 
as a technician with a limited outlook on the larger aspects of 
music. The teacher is the pedagogue and may or may not possess 
musical talent. 

The talent required for each of these four groups is radically 
different; the necessary education is different; the resultant per- 
sonality is radically different. Differentiated guidance toward 
these fields is, therefore, of the greatest importance, as it involves 
not only questions of expensive preparation, but, what is more 
important, the making or breaking of human hearts in success or 
failure. Yet, from the point of view of public education, it is rela- 
tively unimportant, because all these vocations together comprise 
less than 1 per cent of the normal population that craves musical 

The problem of guidance in public schools, therefore, becomes 
primarily one of guidance toward the appreciation of music and self- 
expression in music for the joy of expression in itself. That is a 
problem of educational and avocational guidance, whether it be 
for the various degrees of amateur performance or for the general 
appreciation of music. 

The outlets and media for expression in this large area of the 
musical life embrace all conceivable forms of music from the most 
primitive beat of drums through the countless varieties of instru- 
ments, the various gifts of voice, the power of dramatization, and 
the various functions and roles in the service of music in the 
health and the life of the home, community, church, and art. 

It is, therefore, clear that musical talent is not one thing; 
musical education is not one thing; and the effective functioning of 
music in the life of the people is not one thing. Hence the problem 


of guidance becomes extraordinarily complicated; yet it is full 
of undreamed-of possibilities. 

In the popular mind, a person is either musical or nonmusical, 
just as he is supposed to be either sane or insane. The fact is that 
we are all more or less sane and all more or less talented; it becomes 
a question of degree, kind, and value. 

Musical talent is not one thing, but a hierarchy of talents as 
varied, as interrelated, and as dependent upon soil, environment, 
and inherited traits as is the vegetation of the forests. There are 
oaks and poplars, annuals and perennials, flowers and thorns, 
luscious fruits and pernicious weeds; so in the musical organism 
and its function, there is vast diversity. Yet in the kingdom of 
art, as in the plant kingdom, there is law and order in the relation- 
ships. As in the plant kingdom, the seed is always there. But what 
kind of seed is it? What chance does it have of coming to foliage 
and fruitage through the operation of natural laws and planful 
cultivation ? 

This concept of variety, intricacy, and vastness of talent, how- 
ever, does not discourage the scientific approach to its analysis; 
because musical talent has its taproots, its modes of branching, 
rebranching, and enfoliage, and there is a possibility of establish- 
ing classifications and making quantitative measurements which 
may have a wide sweep of application. This faith in possibilities 
springs from the psychological laboratory where the scientist is 
satisfied to fractionate the problem and deal intensively with 
one issue at a time. 

The scientific approach is, however, represented by a very small 
minority of those who are engaged in guidance or will be so in the 
future. This could not be otherwise in view of the scientific pre- 
requisites in training for that point of view. It is no discredit 
to the ordinary teacher or musician that he or she does not 
have it. 

Fortunately the situation is relieved by nature's provision for 
survival. In the vast majority of cases, the question of prognosis 
is not raised, but the child is thrown into the musical situation, 
and, if he has it in him, he may come out happily; but at the best, 
this process involves enormous waste in the field of musical nature. 
At the present time, by far the best and most universal test that 
we have of musical talent is achievement. Small children are thrown 
into the musical situation, and, if the character of achievement 


is watched intelligently, there is not much fault to find with that 
procedure; it is safe, although wasteful. 


Among the significant steps which have been taken in the solu- 
tion of this problem, we may note the following: 

1. The idea that it can be done. The development of the idea 
that we can measure musical traits and can base reliable educa- 
tional guidance thereon is a natural outgrowth of the testing move- 
ment of this age. On this point we are still at the very first stage of 
experimental procedure and readiness to accept in principle the 
idea that a musical education can be guided by the measurement of 

2. Instruments and methods. The gradual building up of meas- 
uring instruments and methods, the standardizing of both of these, 
and the establishment of norms is the first step in the constructive 
program. Here, again, we are just at a beginning, but the achieve- 
ments of the last twenty-five years are encouraging and rapid 
progress is being made. 

3. Validation. The next step has been to validate the stand- 
ardized measures to show that they actually measure what they 
purport to measure, that they differentiate talents which are 
functionally significant in music and which can be shown to predict 
characteristics of success or failure. We have come to use the term 
" measure " in this program as distinguished from "test" wherever 
the thing that we are measuring is a specific capacity, such as 
absolute pitch, rather than a general ability. 

4. Capacity versus ability. The demonstration of a tendency 
toward relative fixity and stability of inherited mental traits 
is furnishing the fundamental basis for a guidance program. 
Aside from this idea of the tendency toward relative fixity of mental 
or organic traits the natural and favorable outlets in certain 
directions and the inhibitive and blocking tendencies in other 
directions, from whatever cause the guidance program would 
have little significance. Our only problem would be how to educate 
those equally educable. For the purpose of distinguishing relatively 
fixed from relatively changing traits, we use the terms "capacity 5 * 
to denote the former and "ability" to denote the latter. There is no 
sharp line to be drawn between these two, but countless practical 
distinctions are possible, significant, and essential to a testing 


program. The attempt to differentiate for practical purposes 
between what constitutes relatively fixed individual traits and 
what traits are educable and remediable is important; because on 
this principle the work of guidance is differentiated, on the one 
hand, into the organization of training and, on the other, into 
remedial work for specific objectives. 

5. The magnitude of individual difference. It has long been 
recognized that some children are musical and others are not 
musical, but it remained for the testing program to demonstrate 
by quantitative measurements the enormous magnitude of these 
differences and, therefore, the corresponding significance for educa- 
bility. When we can say on quantitative measurement, as we can, 
that this girl has ten, fifty, or a hundred times the capacity for a 
certain type of achievement in music than her equally intelligent 
sister has, the situation takes on a grave phase; and, when this 
difference can be verified with a high order of precision as often as 
desirable, it demands that one stop and ponder. Such demonstra- 
tions are being made daily now where talent measures are in vogue 
and the findings tend to hasten the adoption of a guidance program. 

6. Aim. The educational objective which underlies all scientific 
guidance is that it is the function of the educator to keep each 
child busy at his highest natural level for successful achievement 
in the field for which he has reasonable aptitude and in which he 
will find a reasonable outlet for self-expression, in order that he 
may be happy, useful, and good. We have not yet reached more 
than a verbal acceptance of this undeniable principle in either music 
or general education; but it is our inevitable goal. The main thing 
that is blocking its acceptance is the lack of an acceptable and 
thoroughgoing guidance program as a part of the educational 

7. The vitalizing of common sense. Considerations like those 
just mentioned have injected a most astonishing vitality and 
responsibility into the demand for the exercise of common sense 
on such matters. Countless means already available to the intelli- 
gent observer are coming to be utilized in the absence of exact 
measurement and to interpret scientific facts where available. 
Common sense is, therefore, rapidly assuming a new role in musical 
and educational circles. 

This is by far the greatest good that has come out of the testing 
movement because we have known and we do know quite enough 


in a discriminating way without the use of accurate measurements; 
the principal consideration is the will to act upon what we do know 
and can observe. This will has been strengthened by the experi- 
mental revelation of the enormous extent of individual differences, 
the relative fixity of these differences and the radical far-reaching 
significance of these differences for happiness and success. The 
social and educational breakdown in the craze which we have 
lived through in the last half century, tending to demand that 
every girl should play the piano and all children in public schools 
should be taught the same music, lends great encouragement to the 
use of sense and reasoning in educational guidance. But this will 
not prevail unless an adequate testing program is maintained. 

8. The teacher's self-examination. Many years ago the music 
teachers' national organization carried on its letterhead the motto, 
"Musical education in the public schools for every child at public 
expense." When the association became conscious of the magnitude 
of individual differences in musical talent this motto was changed 
for a time to read, "Musical education in proportion to his talent 
for every child in the public schools at public expense." This 
marked a new insight and a vantage ground in the evaluation of 
music in the public schools. 

About that time I wrote in the last chapter of The Psychology 
of Musical Talent 137 the following challenge to teachers in the 
public schools, asking each teacher to take an inventory of his 
theory and practice bearing on this issue with the challenge that 
he clarify his own thinking and satisfy his own conscience in regard 
to whether or not he was doing the child justice by the manner in 
which he adapted the training to the nature of the child. I quote 
here merely the nine questions which were elaborated in that 

1. Do I fully realize the magnitude and significance of in- 
dividual differences in my pupils? 

2. Do I believe in giving each individual pupil in music an 
opportunity commensurate with his actual capacity and 
aptitude ? 

3. Do I actually, in practice, give my pupils an opportunity to 
grow, each according to his talent? 

4. Do I keep the pupil always at the highest level of successful 
achievement ? 

5. Do I justly praise or blame the pupil? 


6. Do I rightly identify the retarded child? (The gifted child 
who is retarded by the school lock step ?) 

7. Do I motivate my work for each individual ? 

8. Do I help my pupil to find himself? 

9. Do I take into account the individual as a whole bodily, 
social, intellectual, moral, esthetic, and religious? 


A few years ago, when we were organizing the new active move- 
ment for scientific study in child welfare, an interesting incident 
occurred in a hearing before a legislative committee. The argument 
had been made that we should show as much interest and exercise 
as much intelligence in the care of our children as we do for our 
cattle through the application of scientific findings. One stately 
senator stood up and, in a mood of self-adulation, said, "As for 
me and my family, we are willing to trust Mother Nature," to 
which the retort came from one of his colleagues, "You wouldn't 
trust Mother Nature for your cow, or your sow, or your mare!" 

Another incident is now apropos. When my first son was born, 
there was a sewing society that held a meeting across the street, 
and it is reported that the pastor's wife had exclaimed, "That poor 
Seashore baby!" In response to this, ears were pricked and queries 
came, to which she replied, "His father is a psychologist." 

I grow reminiscent. In the early days of the Yale laboratory I 
noticed that visitors coming in had an unconscious tendency to 
put their hands to their heads, which I interpreted as a protective 

At a meeting of the Music Teachers National Association, the 
music supervisor of one of the largest school systems in the country, 
who had made a low score on certain measures of musical talent, 
took the floor and with great gusto and assurance asserted that 
these measures are not significant because he had made a low score, 
to which it was my pleasure to solicit his response to these questions : 
"In what field are you proficient as a performer? What creative 
work have you done in music?" and similar questions, to which he 
replied that throughout his career his energies had been thrown 
into the direction of musical administration, from which the audi- 
ence drew the conclusion that he was a successful business manager 
in music, and musical talent or no talent was not much of a con- 


sideration in his success. He should have been tested for business 
ability rather than music. 

A professor of violin, who was visiting the laboratory, somewhat 
in an attitude of defiance dropped into a class and took the test for 
sense of pitch. He brought it to me with considerable pride as if to 
say "That is what your pitch test does." He had fallen down and 
made a wretched record on account of a negative attitude. Looking 
at the record, I took the bull by the horns and said, "Either you are 
a failure as a violinist or you can improve that record. Will you do 
me the honor to take the test once more?" He did, and came out at 
the top. 

One of my first experiences in talent testing was the analysis 
of the ability of a brother and two sisters. The occasion grew out of 
the fact that the older sister had been having about 10 years of 
musical training without making progress and the other two chil- 
dren, without much attention to education, were making splendid 
progress through spontaneous and voluntary efforts. I found that 
the older sister was radically lacking in fundamental capacities, 
whereas the other two children were highly gifted. The action upon 
my findings by the parents, a minister and his wife, was to send the 
older daughter to the New England Conservatory of Music in 
order that she might be able to keep ahead of her brother and sister. 

A young man of twenty-one, who had spent years of study for a 
professional career in music came to us for guidance, and the 
examiner was astounded to find that on the sense of consonance he 
made a negative record of 100 per cent; that is, all his answers were 
wrong. This finding was so interesting that I made a thorough 
study of the case, principally in the psychopathic hospital, and 
found that it was a case of dementia praecox showing itself in 
characteristic attitude of negativeness which accounted for his 
reactions to consonance and his failure up to date in his career. His 
perfect consistency gave him the highest rating in consonance in the 
light of his negativism. 


1. Measurement fundamental. Educational guidance in music 
should be based upon measurement the measurements of specific 
musical talents. A program of that sort must not ignore such 
considerations as intelligence, will to achieve, traditions and desires 


of the family and teachers, economic status and outlets, competi- 
tion and aspirations for a career in other directions, and health, 
each of which may play a very important role in determining suc- 
cess or failure in the educational process. On all of these issues, 
relevant data may be collectible. In other words, although measure- 
ment of talent is the prime consideration, this measurement must 
not stand by itself but must be supplemented by and made in the 
light of the total situation and all available sources of relevant 
information. The objection of current Gestalt or configurational 
schools, given to specific measurements, is a very superficial and 
passing fad, because the moment they reach the stage of needing 
verifiable facts they must become discriminating and specific. 

2. Guidance on measurement progressive. The guidance 
should, under the best circumstances, be a progressive one, begin- 
ning with the earliest observation of infant behavior exhibiting 
musical aptitude, and determining each successive stage in the 
organization of the musical education from time to time, as the 
actual situation for critical choice presents itself, beginning with 
the second year of infancy and continuing up through the final 
finishing touches upon training for a musical career of the most 

Mental development tends to move in cycles with successive 
and passing periods of dominant interests, urges, and exhibition 
of resources. We must, therefore, insist upon a progressive adjust- 
ment which shall take all these into account. Failure on this point 
has been one of the most grievous errors in vocational guidance up 
to date. It has been well illustrated in sectioning students on the 
basis of ability in classwork, which we may say has been more or 
less of a failure if based upon a flat assignment and a marked suc- 
cess when based upon progressive evidences of capacity for adjust- 
ment. Nevertheless, there are critical turning points at which we 
must make a decision, as, for example, in using examinations as a 
basis for admission. But the point is that the result of such decision 
and further analysis of capacities should follow at all turning points 
throughout the period of growth and training. 

Making the guidance progressive removes all danger of becom- 
ing fatalistic because, if the thing is done wisely from stage to 
stage, the wisdom of such scientific inventory of capacity in progress 
to achieve will become more apparent. This point is of fundamental 
significance, because there is a popular notion that the educa- 


tional guide in music says, "You be a musician," or "Be not a musi- 
cian," and thus with one stroke makes or unmakes the future of the 
aspirant. Educational guidance is just the opposite. It is primarily 
the determination to utilize every type of information of the most 
authentic sort that will apply to a clarification of the next turn in 
the course. 

3. The negative aspect of musical guidance. It is very impor- 
tant to distinguish between the negative and the positive aspects of 
musical guidance. The human being is equipped with marvelous 
resources, most of which remain unrecognized and undeveloped. 
The presence of unusual ability or talent, however, tends to express 
itself in urges or cravings for self-expression through a given chan- 
nel. The well-defined presence of such urge in spontaneous self- 
expression is the best lead that can be offered. On the other hand, 
tradition, social tendencies, and many other conditions create a 
demand for a certain type of esthetic development often revealed 
in the expressed wish of parents. Although this may be unwise, it 
should receive adequate consideration. In both cases, the function 
of the guide is to throw the floodlight of his investigation upon 
possible obstacles in view, in order that the subject may not be 
tripped without warning. His position is analogous to that of a 
physician who attempts to ward off deterioration and disease, 
or of an attorney who warns against the traps of the law, or of the 
musical artist who warns against the dangers and pitfalls in a 
musical career. In other words, the guide in music will recognize the 
countless types of outlet possible in music and the countless possi- 
bilities for finding the equivalents of music as an artistic outlet in 
other fields. 

When once the individual is to launch on a program, presumably 
in harmony with his nature and the facilities of his environment, 
it is the function of the guide to find out if there are any obstacles in 
his way, whether physiological or psychological, economic or social, 
hereditary or environmental. Thus the prevailing tendency of 
vocational guides to say, "Be this," or "Be that," should be dis- 
couraged in order that the choice of a field may rest upon natural 
and permanent dominating interests and impulses. Whether it be 
for vocation or avocation, the educational guide in music must, 
therefore, have at his command an adequate and analyzed con- 
ception of what capacities operate in a given type of musical 
situation in such a way that he can take his talent chart and weigh 


the evidence on the whole for or against a given musical venture 
and give specific and verifiable reasons for it. 

4. The positive aspect of musical guidance. As implied in the 
term "negative," the procedure just described is protective and 
often results in the discouragement of expressed desires. There is, 
however, a very important positive function of talent measure- 
ment, namely, the dragnet survey of talent which can be made 
for the purpose of locating in the schools, quickly and early, 
evidences of outstanding natural gifts in music. Surveys continually 
reveal extraordinary findings of musical gifts in children who are not 
in the least aware of having such a gift and who might pass through 
life without giving any evidence to society of having such resources. 
This is in the main the justification of talent surveys in public 
schools, but when once discovered, the principle of negative or 
protective guidance should apply to the further guidance of talents 
so discovered. 

Another positive aspect of musical guidance lies in the deliber- 
ate selection of a particular field in music on the basis of talent 
analysis. A pupil may have a great gift for music and yet lack some 
specific qualification in certain aspects of music. The gifts for voice 
or for instrument are largely different, and the gift for expression 
through different instruments may also be specific. Here, it is the 
function of the guide to give positive advice as to what avenue 
of musical expression the student should follow on the basis of 
talent analysis. This has its application in large scale in the assign- 
ment of instruments, especially where these are furnished at public 
expense. Thus, the talent-analysis program in the public schools is 
essentially a positive program: a program for discovery of the 
gifted and for placement within the musical fields. In this matter, it 
may well be looked upon as an element in a program of conservation 
of natural resources and economy in musical education. 

5. Aim qualitative rather than quantitative. Educational 
guidance in music is not merely for the purpose of determining 
whether the child or youth is musical or unmusical, but rather to 
determine into which of the various musical hierarchies the individ- 
ual will best fit so that after a general training in the fundamentals 
of music, his energies may be wisely directed into voice, instrument, 
or theory and within each of these fields into a particular avenue 
for self-expression for which he may get clearance papers on the 
basis of careful analysis of capacity and forethought. 


Educators often make the mistake of regarding music as one 
thing, blissfully ignorant of the enormous divergence in outlets 
and opportunities that pass under the name of music. On the basis 
of such ignorance, the common demand of educators today is, "Is 
the child musical or not musical?" A "Yes" or "No" answer to 
that question is of very little significance unless it should be em- 
phatically in the negative. Some of the most pitiful failures in 
musical careers are not due to lack of musical ability but to a 
misguided effort, as when the lyric singer attempts to become an 
opera star or vice versa, when a highly gifted pianist attempts to 
become a violinist for which he may not be fitted, or when one 
whose natural outlet is in musical performance enters the field of 
creative writing. Fortunately, nature often takes care of such 
adjustments through natural cravings; but a critical review of the 
personnel in the musical world on this issue reveals disheartening 
results of misplacement which could have been forestalled by 
modern guidance at early stages. 

6. The whole man. Like the craze of parents for developing 
precocity, the blind onrush among educational guides today is 
often too narrow in the follow-up of a specific talent. Measurement 
should always be evaluated in relation to the man as a whole; 
all guidance should be made, not only with the objective of de- 
veloping the whole man, but by giving special recognition to marked 
capacity for achievement in fields other than music, in order that 
there may be a wholesome development of the artistic nature of 
the individual as a whole, finding outlet in various arts, and that 
the artistic nature may not become top-heavy. The exclusive 
cultivation of a marked talent has often proved the ruin of the 
individual as a person, in relation both to himself and to society. 
Musicians and educational examiners interested primarily in 
music must, therefore, hold themselves responsible for this larger 
view which demands that, while high specialization may be en- 
couraged, it shoul be planned in relation to its effect upon the 
bodily, intellectual, moral, social, esthetic, and religious nature of 
the individual as a whole. 

7. Discovering by doing. Talent measurement will be of little 
value unless it is followed up in the plan of progressive guidance by 
a system of putting the talent into practice. Findings of talent 
measures are often negated by the results of formal instruction and 
drill of a purely mechanical order which becomes repressive of 


initiative. To aid us in "finding" him, the individual should im- 
mediately be encouraged to participate and do the things indicated 
by his talent chart, in large part on his own initiative and stimulated 
by the progressive revelations of his powers to achieve. 

In this respect dramatics in the public schools have developed 
talent perhaps more successfully than music because the individual 
is given an opportunity to show what he can do and, through such 
encouragement, gradually develops and exhibits new powers not 
previously observed. Thus we find in the utilization of voluntary 
and competitive extracurricular exercises which stimulate the 
individual into enthusiastic self-expression not only a necessary 
sequel, but often a good substitute for further measurement. 

8. Remedial work. Since a testing program reveals impediments 
to progress which may be of a remediable order, the measurement of 
talent loses its effectiveness if remedial work is not supplied to 
remove these impediments by treatment or reeducation. The value 
of that is illustrated in the field of speech, in which our freshmen 
are given a thorough analytical examination for speech defects and 
are then immediately thrown into sections for corrective work in 
which remediable speech defects are eradicated in very short order 
and thus give the individual a new sense of self-respect, power to 
command through speech, and stabilizing of personality. Without 
such follow-up work, the determination of speech defects would be 
of no significance. The situation is analogous in music. 


The way is paved, the movement is afoot, and high expectations 
are afloat. I trust that the present note will not be propaganda for 
unwarranted enthusiasm and wild onrush in this field of endeavor, 
because it is fraught with many dangers. Some of these errors 
should be pointed out specifically and boldly; and, in the light of 
these, reasonable tolerance, willingness to do the best we can from 
stage to stage, and perseverance should be cultivated. 

1. Faulty techniques of measurement. Those who have done 
their best work in the construction of tests and measures for ca- 
pacity and ability for achievement are the first to recognize that we 
are yet in the experimental stage, that our measures are not always 
adequate for the serious purposes to which they are applied, that 
while they are statistically reliable, they may not predict individual 
achievement, and that the effort to use them on the part of people 


who cannot afford the best often involves the use of dangerous 
substitutes. We cannot hold out hope that this source of error will 
not be entirely overcome because the more inadequacies of instru- 
ments and methods we eradicate, the more new ones we discover 
in the process of refinement of technique. Yet progress is very 
gratifying, and practical educators are right in saying that we 
should use the measures progressively available with due caution in 
tempered and frank admission of their frailties. 

2. Untrained guides. Speaking of the practical situation, 
particularly in the public schools today, we are suffering from neces- 
sary and unnecessary use of untrained guides. "God protect me 
against my friends, I can defend myself against my enemies," is the 
prayer of pioneers, themselves doing reliable work in the field of 

There is a tendency to overestimate quantitative data ob- 
tained under more or less artificial conditions. This often results in 
failure to apply what common sense dictates. Justice often mis- 
carries by the experimenter's failure "to use his head," and 
to this is added the very common absence of the use of hypotheses 
and penetrating interpretation of the fact measured in the light of 
intimate knowledge of the field of activity, which is the objective. 

We are passing through a craze for physical measurements, 
mental measurements, and statistics, and have not yet in large 
numbers reached the stage of comprehensive and mellow insight 
and reserve. Granting that serviceable facts may be determined, we 
still face large dangers for the application of these facts. Intelligence, 
for example, may be a good index to a stenographer, but in industrial 
offices and clerical units it is not a prime consideration, and selec- 
tion on that basis often leads to unreasonable turnover. A high order 
of intelligence is needed mainly in the secretarial position. 

This principle applies to music. For one, a high order of creative 
imagination may not be necessary; for another, we can dispense 
with a fine sense of pitch; and for another, with a high sense of 
rhythm. On the other hand, such factors as musical memory, 
musical ideation, and musical imagery may be cultivated to a 
relatively high degree, even with a low native capacity. 

Guidance on measurement requires knowledge and often some 
degree of proficiency within the field, as, in this case, music. But it 
also requires training in the art of measurement. The guidance 
program often fails because it is done either by a mere musician or a 


mere psychologist. We are marking time in the development of 
persons in responsible positions who combine these two qualifica- 
tions in the persons of psychologists in music, who not only know 
measurement in music, but have a sound and mature social, moral, 
and educational outlook. After all, there is an easier remedy, and 
that is the sympathetic cooperation of specialists in the two fields, 
psychology of measurement and music, and in this lies the real 
hope of the future. 

3. Improper attitude of the subject. We never secure reliable 
measures of capacity unless we have the full cooperation of the 
subject in an effort to achieve at his best. A common source of error 
in all mental tests is the negative or indifferent attitude of the 
subject. While the test in itself may be fair and significant for a life 
situation, the negative attitude of the subject, a general emotional 
blocking, or a lack of the will to achieve may lead to erroneous 
rating. Great ingenuity is needed in the development of testing 
effectively to take the individual in a cooperative mood and off 
guard as to his inhibitions. The competitive attitude is essential. 
This would be greatly facilitated if measurements were made only 
where there is a specific purpose to serve and intention to follow up, 
so that the pupil realizes the timeliness and the personal value of 
the test to himself. 

4. Inadequate verification of low ratings. In measurements of 
this kind by rather rigid psychophysical methods, cheating being 
eliminated, a high record may always be counted as reliable some- 
what in proportion to the excellence; but it is the low records which 
are subject to the largest number of sources of error. Therefore, 
when a record which counts against an individual is found, for 
example, in the lowest third of a normal group, it should always 
be verified with the best of ingenuity and care in order to make sure 
that the impediment indicated is really there. This requires 
patience and time, which are often wanting. It is a general rule of 
measurement and guidance that the lower the rating on a significant 
capacity, the more thoroughly the verification should be made; 
and taking the cue from this lead, the more intensive the investiga- 
tion for related factors should be. 

6. Inadequate sampling. Another large source of error is the 
failure to secure fair sampling. Often the experimental situation 
exhibits merely a measure of the tester's lack of insight into the 
situation. It is a pity that "we do not know what we do not know." 


In the conduct of a testing program, a vicious example of this is the 
use of one or two measures of musical capacity and pronouncing on 
that basis for or against a musical education. The adequacy of 
sampling, of course, becomes important to the extent that the test 
is to be of critical significance. 

The principle of fair sampling can be best safeguarded not by 
attempting to measure everything that may be involved, but by 
limiting the decision or the finding to the specific factor that has 
been measured. The significance of this the tyro does not under- 
stand and the enthusiasm of the educational guide often overrides. 

We must always guard against the pertinent taunt that the 
examiner may not be measuring the ability of the subject, but 
rather his own inability to give a fair test.* 

6. Failure to distinguish between capacity and ability. It i one 
thing to discover a low rating; quite another to determine its cause 
and, therefore, its bearing. The bare fact of low rating is of rela- 
tively little significance unless the real cause is revealed in the 
process of organizing the measurement. Herein lies one of the most 
difficult tasks in the mental testing program of today. Failure on 
this point is also one of the main reasons for generous testing and 
the very meager and inadequate follow-up work which is a common 
curse today. 

The crucial question that must be answered at each turn is this : 
"Is this low rating remediable or is it not?" While musicians have 
always recognized the significance of the "gift" of music, the prac- 
tical attitude in the teaching profession has been that music lessons 
are a remedy for all. In this attitude we recognize both humanitarian 
and economic motives, but back of both is the lack of a vital 
recognition of the limits of educability. 

7. Failure "to do something about it." This takes two forms: 
failure on the part of the student to follow advice, and failure on the 
part of the teacher to base training upon the nature and extent of 
talent. It all comes back to this principle of recognition of individ- 
ual differences: It is the function of the teacher to keep the pupil 
busy at his natural level of successful achievement. 

*When the Yale psychologists reported that they had been able to show that apes 
can use abstract concepts, such as the value of money, how to barter, how to hoard, 
and how to cooperate all so-called "higher'* mental processes a famous scientist re- 
marked, "There it is; never before has the ape had a fair chance. Instead of testing the 
animal, we have been testing the testers* ability to set a fair test." 


MY earlier work, The Psychology of Musical Talent, 137 dealt 
specifically with the analysis of the musical mind with refer- 
ence to a possible guidance program. While the present volume 
does not duplicate or replace the earlier manual, it does present a 
great deal of new material gathered in the last twenty years to 
supplement it on this issue. The reader will have gathered in pre- 
ceding chapters a mass of facts and principles which have a bearing 
on the present situation. This chapter will therefore be restricted to 
a mere appraisal of this procedure in the light of reports and 


In a suitably equipped laboratory, we can measure a hundred 
or more specific features, each of which will throw light on the na- 
ture and extent of a person's musical talent. These may bear on 
heredity, native capacity, acquired ability, ability to learn, as well 
as character, rate, and amount of achievement. They may deal not 
only with sensory and motor capacities, but also with the higher 
brackets of ability in the complex musical situation. 

The first problem, then, that confronts the musical guide is to 
determine what the immediate issue is in the analysis of a given 
individual, how far the analysis should be carried, and, in the light 
of varied outlets for musicians, what field of music is regarded as the 

In general, we may say that in all cases the first step should be 
the measurement of basic capacities, each of which measures 



receptivity for one of the four musical avenues, namely, the tonal, 
the dynamic, the temporal, and the qualitative. In addition to 
these, immediate memory, a sense of consonance, tonal imagery, 
and intelligence should be measured. The instrumental needs for 
this battery are met for the purpose of group testing by the Sea- 
shore Measures of Musical Talent. This battery should be accom- 
panied by case histories and auditions. Twenty years of experience 
with this battery have established and validated its significance for 
the purpose of a general dragnet survey. 

What further measurements should be made will depend upon 
the facilities available, the seriousness of the inquiry, and the 
nature of the goal. Among facilities, we should mention laboratory 
equipment and a technically trained examiner. Emphasis should, 
however, be laid on the latter; since, if a musician has once devel- 
oped a concrete analysis of the musical mind, he can achieve many 
of the objects of guidance without instruments, so long as he under- 
stands what specific factors to observe and their significance. 

A young person who contemplates a serious program in training 
for a musical career should, wherever possible, submit himself for 
analysis in a well-equipped laboratory by a trained psychologist in 


Many years ago, I adopted the term "measures" instead of 
the word "tests" in order to distinguish these experiments from 
the ordinary paper and pencil tests which deal with unanalyzed 
situations. The word "measure" implies standardized procedure 
in accordance with laboratory principles. 

These measures introduce two fundamental principles into the 
psychology of music which were discussed in Chap. 3. The first 
of these is the laboratory point of view that measurement deals 
with a specific factor which is isolable under control. This is the first 
principle of pure psychology. For example, instead of asking the 
question, "Can this child hear music?" we ask, "Can he hear 
pitch?" "Can he hear loudness?" "Can he hear time?" "Can he 
hear timbre ?" " Can he hear rhythm ?" " Can he hear tone quality ?" 
Each of these can be isolated for measurement; and, when we have 
the result, it is recordable, repeatable, verifiable, and predictive. 
What is true of hearing has its parallel on the side of performance as 


represented by skills. We do not ask, "Can he play?" But we ask, 
"Can he play a tune in time and in rhythm?" "Can he phrase?" 
"Can he produce good tone quality?" Such questions have 
their parallels at the higher levels of imagination, memory, thought, 
and feeling; although the higher and, therefore, the more com- 
plicated the process becomes, the more it tends to resist analysis. 
The second maintains that the practical conclusion drawn shall be 
restricted to the factor that has been measured. Thus, if we meas- 
ure the sense of pitch and we find that the record made is in the 
99 centile, the conclusion is not that the child is musical, but that he 
has an extraordinary sense of pitch, that he is superior in one of the 
scores of talents essential to musical success. He may be utterly 
incompetent in other talents. This is the first principle of applied 
psychology. Amateur guides in music are gross sinners through 
violation of this principle. Indeed, adherence to this principle at 
any cost is the supreme safeguard of scientific guidance. The bold 
and positive guidance in an unanalyzed situation is, of course, 
condemned on this principle, if such guidance makes any pretense 
to being scientific. In the light of our postwar experience, both of 
these principles are radical departures from current testing pro- 
grams but seem to gain practical recognition and will undoubtedly 
stand as foundation principles in applied psychology, whenever 
principles of scientific measurement are to be utilized. 

When a considerable number of specific measures is used as a 
battery we can begin to generalize with reference to the efficacy of 
the battery in proportion to the adequacy of the sampling, but al- 
ways with reservations in accordance with the principle of applied 
psychology just stated. If the ranks in a fair sampling of capacities 
which are essential to success are all low and have been verified, a 
general negative prediction may be safe; whereas, if some or all are 
high, reservation must be made for determination of other factors 
which may be equally crucial signs of success. For high rating in 
music, numerous other factors must be considered, such as re- 
sources, conflicting interests, the will to achieve, and especially the 
power of application and of hard and continuous work. 

This laboratory point of view, therefore, does not assume, as has 
often been charged, that the mere existence of a given number of 
good capacities will make a good musician or that a low rating in 
one or more capacities is necessarily discouraging. Nor can this 
point of view be charged with being atomistic without at the same 


time denying the possibility of psychological measurement. In- 
deed, this type of measurement has done more than anything else 
in the laboratory to enrich and deepen our insight into the inte- 
grated and functional character of the musical personality. 


The application of these principles meets criticism from sev- 
eral points of view. Some theoretical psychologists will say it is 
atomistic and point out that genuine talent is not the sum of 
specific talents. The psychologist in music accepts and is really 
the sponsor of the idea that the total talent is not the sum of 
specific talents. He maintains that talent is, indeed, an inte- 
grated whole, but that we get truer and deeper insight into this 
integrated whole by employing the scientific method of fraction- 
ating, that is, by observing one aspect at a time. 

Others point out that it is futile to make specific measure- 
ments, because, according to our theory, there are scores and 
scores of specific capacities that are integrated in the hierarchy of 
musical talent as a whole, and only a small number of these can 
be measured in a given case. The answer to that criticism is that 
it would be unscientific to maintain that anyone would ever 
have the time or the ability to measure everything, even in such 
basic principles as laws of gravitation, permeability, or heat. 
The value of selected measures hinges upon whether or not they 
are of a basic character; for example, there are countless aspects 
of rhythm in music, many of which could be isolated and meas- 
ured as such, but one basic capacity for all rhythmic performance 
may be a genuine sense of rhythm. Likewise, there are hundreds 
of varieties of hearing of pitch, but the measure of the sense of 
pitch is basic for all. 

Another criticism comes from the clinical psychologist who 
maintains that real insight and true interpretation are gained 
only by a study of the total personality in the total situation. 
There is truth in that contention, but the criticism is met by the 
fact that it is possible to measure a specific capacity during 
performance in unhampered musical mood, and in every respect 
in the actual musical situation. In measuring capacity for per- 
formance in singing at the present time, the singer performs in an 

* From Yearbook. 


acoustically treated music room in which there are no instru- 
ments present other than a microphone (of which he may be quite 
oblivious); but from that microphone there are made simul- 
taneously phonograph records and records from three or four 
cameras operating simultaneously in such a way that from these 
records every detail of the performance as a whole, or at any 
moment in the performance, may be reconstructed with high 
order of precision. There the singer performs in the musical 
mood and in the musical situation, but the instruments analyze 
and set forth the elements involved. 

Other critics say that if we limit ourselves in this way, we will 
know so infinitesimally little about the total musical mind that it 
may be of doubtful value. The answer to that is that such humil- 
iation is true but wholesome. Awareness of the fact that you 
have only a small sample of measures makes you correspondingly 
cautious and restricted in your application. The musical guide 
must be profoundly conscious of how little he knows of the possi- 
ble mass of talent. The practical teacher wants a wholesale 
judgment; the psychologist refuses to give that and simply says 
that such and such facts are known and may have such and such 
bearing on the problem. 

Another criticism is that measures of talent do not enable us 
to predict, because development of talent is merely a matter of 
training. This a psychologist would simply deny. 


In designing these measures, there were several purposes in 
view: (1) to measure native and basic capacities in musical talent 
before training has been begun, and, therefore, to make them 
independent of musical training; (2) to measure one specific 
capacity at a time; (3) to make the procedure available for group 
measurements; (4) to simplify the use of instruments; and (5) to 
save time. 

Each of these objectives set up certain restrictions on procedure. 
In the original manual, 125 it was stated thus: 

These measures of musical talent comply with the following 
conditions: they are based on a thorough analysis of musical 
talent; they are standardized for content that does not need to be 
changed; they give qualitative results which may be verified to a 


high degree of certainty; they are simple and as nearly self- 
operating as possible; they are adapted for group measurements; 
they take into account practice, training, age, and intelligence; 
they have a two-fold value in the concrete information furnished, 
and in the training and pleasure gained from the critical hearing 
of musical elements. 


With these advantages, which have been accurately established, 
certain disadvantages are evident. These are due mainly to two 
[actors, namely, adaptation for group measurement and timesav- 
ng. Both result in the lowering of reliability. In order to cover the 
entire range of talent in an unselected group, as in surveys, it is 
lecessary to have the range of the testing material wide enough to 
nclude all from the best to the poorest, for example, 0.01 to 0.5 of a 
tone. This virtually shortens the test because it is effective for 
those only who are near the threshold; for example, in extreme 
rnses, if a person can hear the finest of 10 steps, then his success on 
arger steps does not contribute to the measurement. Likewise, if he 
mn respond only to the largest difference, the smaller steps do not 
contribute to the measurement. In the first case, the test would 
probably be reliable and significant. The second would call for 
'urther analysis. In the first case, the test should be repeated with 
aboratory instruments in which at least 100 trials are made on the 
smallest step or smaller steps if so indicated. This would lead to a 
very high order of reliability. Further testing in the case of the 
>ther extreme should take the form of search for possible sources 
>f difficulty, such as subjective or objective disturbances, ignorance 
>f the factor involved, and many other elements of procedure, the 
>bject here being to discover why this absence of the sense of pitch 
exists rather than its exact extent. 

The known reliabilities must always be kept in mind in making 
nterpretations, and it should always be understood that, if time 
ind facilities are available and the case is important, the measure- 
ment should be done with high precision laboratory instruments. 
This might greatly increase the reliability. In the group test, the 
eliability for the sense of pitch in the eighth grade is about 88, but, 
tvhen this same test is made with tuning forks on the actual thresh- 
old, the reliabilities will run in the high nineties. The same applies 


in principle to all the other measures. Full statistical determina- 
tions of the reliability of these measures is reported by Larson. 1 * 
The merits of our principle that specific capacities can and 
should be measured with a high degree of reliability should there- 
fore be judged in the light of exact measurement rather than in the 
makeshift of a short group test. This is true for all of these six 
measures. The less than maximum obtainable reliability published 
is, therefore, not due primarily to the phonograph records, but to the 
fact that the procedure is a short group test. 


There is another fundamental difference between group testing 
and testing the individual by laboratory instruments. In the former 
the results are expressed in terms of centile rank on the basis of norms 
established for adequate sampling of unselected groups. This has the 
advantage of showing how a given individual varies from other 
individuals in an unselected group on a scale from 1 to 100. It also 
has the great advantage of making it possible to express all the 
different measurements in the same terms. 

In the laboratory procedure, however, the measurement is 
made in terms of the threshold of discrimination, that is, the just 
noticeable difference. This has many advantages from the point 
of view of experimental procedure and these records can, of course, 
be transformed into centile rank order if a sufficient number of 
cases are available for statistical treatment. Thus, a person who can 
hear a difference of one vibration at the standard of international 
pitch will probably receive a centile rank of 97 or 98. 


It is interesting to note that the basic measures of musical 
talent have been used and are further suitable for a number of 
purposes outside of music or musical guidance purpose. 

Racial characteristics. Anthropologists have adopted these 
measures as standard procedure in a battery to determine racial 
characteristics in anthropological investigations wherever the 
musical characteristics of a race or a primitive group are being 
studied. Four rather extensive investigations of differences be- 
tween Negroes and whites have been published, each covering a 
different type of situation. Of these, the most interesting is that by 
Davenport and Steggerda, 15 in which a comparison of three groups 


was made, namely, pure black, brown, and white, all found in the 
same locality. Johnson* measured 3,300 American Negroes. 
Murdock WOa measured 500 Hawaiians, divided into eight racial 
groups. Garth^ a made an extensive comparison of Indians and 
whites in Western schools. Mjoen 99 ' 100 made interesting comparisons 
between Lapps and Nordics in the Scandinavian countries and 
other races in central Europe. Peterson and Lanicr m have con- 
ducted extensive measurements on white and Negro college stu- 
dents and children in the public schools, with careful attention 
given to conditions of environment. In all these cases, the measure- 
ments were made in terms of the Seashore Measures of Musical 
Talent. Fragments of other investigations from remote parts of the 
earth have been reported. 

In general, it may be said that this type of measurement is 
suitable for anthropological studies and is likely to be enlarged and 
refined on a considerable scale. However, the present indications are 
that normal individuals in different racial groups or on different 
cultural levels probably do not differ markedly in the basic capaci- 
ties represented by these measures. This supports the theory that 
we are here measuring fundamental capacities of modern man, the 
type of capacities which are but little modified by his environment 
or cultural development at the present stage of evolution. However, 
it has been shown that, in analogy with the age and intelligence 
differences, measurements in a given environment do bring up 
significant differences; but, before we attribute these to basic 
capacities, we must eliminate all social and environmental factors 
which may act as deterrents to an approach toward a physiological 

Heredity. Such studies as those by Stanton, iu Mjoen 9 m and 
others offer new approaches to this branch of science. General 
suggestions referring to the utilization of this technique are found 
in another chapter. 

Where systematic surveys are made in the public school system 
extremely valuable material on heredity will accumulate bearing 
upon the distribution of talents in family relationships. 

Surveys. Numerous surveys have been made by these measures 
for various purposes; such as, comparisons of the best residence 
district with the poorest, children of foreign birth with those of 
American birth, children in the city with those in the country, and 
culture levels in two radically distinct country communities. These 


have been used in evaluation of a standard musical course in 
terms of the distribution of talent, showing that the prevailing 
course requirements are utterly unreasonable for children below 
average capacities and superficial for students of high capacities. 
They have been used for comparison of band, orchestral, and 
chorus members with unselected groups, the distribution of talent 
in relation to training, the distribution of talent in relation to 
theory courses, the distribution of talent in relation to intelligence, 
training, and age, and the comparison of normal and feeble-minded. 

Speech talent. It has been shown that the talents herein men- 
tioned function in speech very much as in music. This comes out 
most strikingly in clinical psychology of speech, in which it is 
frequently shown that defective speech is due to an absence of 
ear-mindedness, and often a specific defect may be traced to lack of 
a basic capacity in hearing. 

Skillful occupations. It has developed that many skillful occupa- 
tions depend upon the presence or absence of one or more of these 
basic capacities. The most striking illustration of this was the 
capacity required for the listeners who were employed during the 
war to locate submarines, airplanes, and ground tunneling. During 
the war, submarines were located by a device which depended 
upon the keenness of the ear and certain aspects of hearing. We had 
the pleasure of demonstrating that in squads of 30, which had been 
selected by physicians as qualified listeners, it was possible to show 
by uSe of these measures that 1 person out of 30 may locate the 
direction of the deadly craft within an accuracy of 1 degree, while 
another listener might not do better than 10 degrees, and that dif- 
ferent men in the squad would vary within these extremes. The 
significance of this in terms of human life and property can hardly 
be overestimated. This method of selection had just been adopted 
when two things happened: (1) the armistice and (2) invention 
of an instrument which made an adequate record photographically 
and, thus, replaced the listener. 

Some general comments. It has been suggested frequently that 
the measures should be cast in terms of distinctly musical material. 
I do not regard the efforts which have been made in this direction 
as successful. In a test program of this kind, we should stay as 
far as possible away from anything that involves musical training 
and experience, if we wish to predict success on the basis of talent. 


The measures have been rightly criticized as not being ab- 
solutely elemental. It should be our goal to make our tests as ele- 
mental as possible. A certain amount of allowance will, however, 
always have to be made for development of general capacity for 

The principles involved in these tests are such as to cultivate 
a discriminating and rigidly critical attitude toward a test situa- 
tion. While the records are relatively "foolproof," the valid use of 
them demands a certain type of knowledge about the nature of the 
mind and of talent in particular, some experimental technique, 
and at least a critical judgment in regard to the practical applica- 
tion to the musical situation. Cold water is a good thing, but it is 
often dangerous. 



SOME years ago, I consulted Mr. Abraham Flexner with reference 
to the possibility of securing the support of a Foundation for a 
sustained experiment to introduce and validate my Measures of 
Musical Talent in a city school system, having in mind a city like 
Baltimore, Chicago, or Los Angeles. 

His response was, "Why not take a music school instead of a 
public school system? A new music school has been started in 
Rochester and, if you don't mind, I will call up the president by 
long distance and ask if this new music school would be interested 
in the experiment." The reply came immediately inviting me to 
a conference, which was held the next day, with the result that I 
was invited to take personal charge of the experiment. 

Since I could not consider this personal offer, an agreement was 
made inviting my first assistant, Dr. Hazel Stanton, to take the 
position as psychologist in the music school, with the assignment 
of introducing and administering these measures and other means 
that might become available for the purpose of discovering and 
analyzing talent in the music school. It was distinctly understood 
that this was to be an experiment and that the school would pro- 
vide its best facilities for the attainment of our goal. 

* Reports on the Eastman experiment have been published from time to time by Dr. 
Stanton and her associates. These are all summarized in her volume The Measurements of 
Muswal Talent* from which the bulk of this chapter is freely drawn by kind permission 
of the author. The section on the origin of the experiment is from my editorial foreword to 
that volume. 



This invitation from the Eastman School and the selection of 
Dr. Stanton proved to be strategical, timely, and appropriate. The 
selection of the school was most fortunate because it is one of the 
few music schools which are not entirely dependent upon tuitions 
and which, therefore, can afford to exercise a rigorous selection of 
pupils. It also was fortunate that Mr. George Eastman sponsored 
the project, authorized it, and took a deep personal interest in its 
furtherance up to the very last days of his life. 

For the successful culmination of the experiment, however, we 
owe most to the sympathetic and wise administration of the present 
Eastman director, Dr. Howard Hanson. He had cordial support of 
his policies from President Rhees, who formally authorized the 

The selection of Dr. Stanton proved fortunate also on account 
of her indefatigible devotion to a rigorous technique, her acquaint- 
ance with music and musicians, and her very extraordinary per- 
sistence and meticulous care in the conduct of the work. 

To the casual observer, the procedure, though novel, was 
regarded as a part of personnel routine. It was more than this in the 
eyes of Mr. Eastman, President Rhees, Dr. Hanson, and the 
writer it was an experiment of which we now have an adequate 
record covering a period of more than 10 years. The outcome of the 
experiment is an evaluation and validation of these measures, 
together with a critique and refinement of experimental procedure 
which deserve careful study on the part of all who are interested in 
the measurement of musical talent whether in a music school or 

In this general report on the Eastman experiment, Dr. Stanton 
has restricted herself to the specific purpose of evaluating the 
Measures of Musical Talent as a battery in itself in the actual 
musical situation, quite apart from any other aspects which are 
involved. The monograph contains a statement of her personal 
point of view, her techniques, her rigorous control of the procedure 
in measuring and evaluation of the measures as tools in themselves. 

The problem with which she deals has been treated in many 
other ways by other persons. Other methods of validating have 
been utilized; the problem of inheritance has been dealt with from 
several angles; numerous methods of utilizing the measures in 
practical procedures have been reported; various critiques of the 
method of administering the tests have developed. The most valu- 


able use of the measures has been in connection with auditions on 
the part of competent musicians. An attempt has been made to 
weight the measures in connection with the particular types of 
music and instruments. 

These Measures are not in themselves an adequate measure 
of musical talent as a whole. They are merely a selected battery of 
measures of specific talents in which a certain degree of capacity 
is essential to success in music and in which a certain degree of 
incapacity is often the basis for failure in music. For the purpose 
of validation, which is the aim of this monograph, the author had 
to determine the significance of guidance on these Measures alone. 
She has validated them in their own name, as it were, as one of 
the useful tools which may be employed in scientific musical guid- 
ance. But that does not imply that they should be employed in 
a mechanical way without other aids. They are but one of the 
tools in a system of adequate guidance. However, on account of 
their basic nature, measures of this type should constitute the first 
concrete information with which all serious guidance in music 
should begin. 


Prom our point of view, the purpose of this experiment was to 
validate the Measures of Musical Talent under as nearly ideal con- 
ditions as could be obtained in a music school. We found that it was 
possible to provide for this by giving the testing program such a 
place in the program of administration and guidance that neither 
faculty nor students would look upon it as an experiment, but 
would regard it as an essential part of a modern administrative 
program. It was recognized that ultimately the tests were to be a 
regular part of the admission machinery and constitute a basis for 
the individual guidance of the students after admission. 

The testing program consisted of the administration of five of 
the Measures recorded on phonograph records, namely, pitch, 
intensity, time, consonance, and tonal memory. These were sup- 
plemented by a subjective test of tonal imagery, an intelligence 
test, and a case history.* The tests were given as the first step in 

* The comprehension test was not introduced into the series until 1928, the sixth year. 
The rhythm test was introduced in the third year, and the test on imagination was dropped 
in the sixth year. 


the admissions program of all students, including both children and 
adults. In order to validate the records before using them as a 
basis for admission, they were given under standard conditions and 
studied for the first two years, without actually using them as a 
basis for admission, the main purpose being to determine success or 
failure of those for whom an unfavorable prognosis had been made. 
A classification was gradually built up, and in terms of this predic- 
tion of success or failure, the tests were made before the student 
had had an audition or had been admitted. These records were 
placed in the hands of the director, but they were carefully guarded 
throughout the 10-year experiment so that the teachers should not 
be influenced or biased by these predictions. The experiments 
were conducted with most meticulous care by Dr. Stanton herself, 
and, after they had been made a basis for admission, she was 
included in official conferences with the admission officers in regard 
to the interpretation of these records and later with the director in 
regard to the organization of study programs, selection of instru- 
ments, etc. 


For a given test, a centile scale was adopted as follows: the 
highest 10 per cent, A, or superior; the next highest 20 per cent, B, 
or very good; the next 20 per cent, C+, or high average; the next 
20 per cent, C , or low average; the next 20 per cent, D, or poor; 
the lowest 10 per cent, E, or very poor. For each individual, a chart 
of his profile was made in terms of centile rank (see Fig. 1). How- 
ever, since a single classification had to be made for the purpose of 
prediction, a cumulative key was adopted, grouping various types 
of profiles under five heads: Discouraged, Doubtful, Possible, 
Probable, Safe, as shown in Table I. For a full classification of types 
see Stanton. 176 


AT = 978 

Probable Safe 

AC- A A 


B B A C-f 

B C+ B A 

C-f C+ 

The first letter is the classification of the talent profile; the second letter, the classification of the comprehen- 
sion test. 




C-f- E 

B E 

A E 

C- C-h 

C-f C- 

B C- 

^"^ \_/ 

C+ D 

B D 

C~ D 

C- A 

C-f A 

C- E 

C- B 

C-f B 




These are actual cases from applicants for admission to the 
school. They set forth graphically an inventory of some of the 












> 50 10 








) 50 10 








SO lOi 

FIG. 1. Samples of types of profiles: A, safe; B, probable; C, possible, D t doubtful; 
E y discouraged. Ratings in intelligence are not given in these charts; but ratings in musical 
imagery are. The labels at the left are the first letter for each of the respective tests. 
(Stanton. 178 ) 

assets and liabilities of the prospective pupils. It does not require 
much imagination to see their far-reaching significance. Talent has 


its "ups and downs." A chart that may be satisfactory for one pur- 
pose may not be so for another. For example, a low sense of pitch 
disqualifies the player for stringed instruments; or, a low sense of 






6063 666972 75 78 81 84879093 9699 





60 63 66 69 72 15 78 81 8481 90 93 % 99 6063 66 69 72 75 78 81 8487 90 93 % 99 

FIG. 2. Distribution of Test 1 (solid line) and Test 2 (dotted line) raw scores in five 
measures with a 3-year interim between measurements. TV 157. The ordinates represent 
the percentages of cases; the abscissas, the midpoint of each three-unit step in raw scores. 

intensity disqualifies for the piano. That is, we cannot go only by 
centile rank; we must take into account the internal structure of 
the profile, the case history, and the audition. 







/ ^ 





vs, . 




AT \ 

/-* ^** 

** * i i i t i i !,..., i_i ,1... i i 










FIG. 3. Distribution of Test 1 (dotted line) and Test 2 (solid line) raw scores for three 
groups in five measures, with a 3-year interim of musical training between measurements. 
The ordinates represent percentages of cases; the abscissas, raw scores. (Stanton. 11 *) 




To determine whether or not the classification thus made in the 
way of prediction before admission had be correct, Stanton period- 
ically retested the pupils who were admitted. Figure 2 shows the 
result of the retest of 157 adults after three years of progress in 
musical education. For the group as a whole, the degree of talent 
seems to be about the same, with minor exceptions. Figure 3 shows 
that, with minor but more significant exceptions, especially in 
intensity, the same evidence of stability in the charts holds for 
children as for adults. There is not so much change in children as 
we might have expected with maturation. 


These facts substantiate the assumption that when the meas- 
ures are given under controlled conditions by an experienced ex- 
aminer, the physiological thresh- 

old can be reached in the first 


test to such a degree that there 
will be little appreciable variation 
in a second test. These facts con- ^ 40 

tribute to the idea that the 30 

measures tend to be elemental. 





IN THE COLLEGE Discouraged Doubtful Possible Probable Safe 

MUSIC COURSE l7 23 p er 3 cent ** 6 

-r,. . ,. ,. FIG. 4. The percentage of students 

Figure 4 gives a realistic pic- graduating within 4 years in each of the five 

ture of the significance of these groups. This covers 565 entrants in four 

tests at a glance. It shows to successive classes in the university music 

what extent the tests alone predict sc *^ ianton ' 
success in completing a four-year college course in music in the 
standard time. When one considers how many other factors must 
be taken into account for success, the showing for this measuring 
tool in itself is remarkably good. Sixty per cent of the "safes" 
graduated. How many of the remaining 40 per cent lost, because of 
economic or social reasons, a good job, early marriage, a hit on 
radio or in the movies, laziness, sickness, postponement of a date 


any one of a score of other impediments ? So far as talent alone is 
concerned, the "safe" may well be regarded as 100 per cent safe. 

The same principle applies, but in decreasing order, with lower 
ranks. Since the objective test record is the only factor taken into 
account, it is evident that relative lack of capacity, as here meas- 
ured, is a rigid deterrent which must be taken into account in 
planning musical education. 

If, instead of measuring in terms of success in graduation from 
college, we should be able to measure the progress of music in the 
life of these people, either in a professional career or in avocational 
or social value, we should get a much stronger picture. It would 
favor those whose "windows of the soul" were open to music. For 
an adequate account of the experiment the reader must turn to the 
comprehensive report. 176 




FOR many years the public schools in Lincoln, Nebraska, have 
had a reputation for high standards of achievement in music. 
William Larson, 76 at the time in charge of the instrumental 
instruction, performed the following experiment to determine the 
significance of talent in the choice of instruction for instrumental 
music and in the advancement in the opportunities offered in the 
school orchestras. 

He took during the same year four groups: A, B, C, and D: 
A, the group of first-year students in instrumental music, 125 
members; B, the junior high school preparatory orchestra, 30 mem- 
bers; C, the junior high school advanced orchestra, 31 members; 
and D, the high school advanced orchestra, 50 members. At the 
beginning of the year, he gave each of these students the six 
Seashore Measures of Musical Talent and made a study of the 
principles of selection which operated to determine progress in 
instrumental music. 

The general conclusion reached can be stated in general terms as 

Group A, admission to courses of instruction in instruments is 
unselected. The average percentile rank of all these measures for 
this group was 52, when 50 represents a theoretical average for all 
students. This is a fairly well-known phenomenon and is inter- 
preted partly in the diversity of motives which operate in making 
music a desirable subject, such as the popularity of the instructor, 



the school reputation in contests, the desire of parents, and, of 
course, most of all the ignorance of the significance of talent. 
As a consequence of this heterogeneity of the group, the instruc- 
tion in the first year is seldom of such a nature as to operate strongly 
in favor of selection. 

Group B. For the junior high school preparatory orchestra, there 
is no significant selection in terms of talent measures. The average 
rank on these measures was 49. This is, of course, the result of the 
absence of any standard requirement for admission to this orchestra 
and the adaptation of the first year's instruction to all levels of 
capacity insofar as possible. There was also an element of negative 
selection in favor of Group C. 

Group C. This group shows a marked selection in terms of the 
talents measured. This is undoubtedly due to the actual survival in 
the previous year's work and higher demands recognized for admis- 
sion to this orchestra, although the admission was not based in any 
respect on other evidence of talent and achievement in previous 
years. The average rank for all the measures in Group C 
was 66. 

Group D. The advanced high school orchestra again showed 
very marked evidence of selection above the preceding year, the 
average rank for all the measures being 73. 

Thus, there is evidence that various factors operate in the selec- 
tion of talent in a four-year opportunity for training, so that for 
each year more and more talented pupils are admitted to the 
privileges of instruction on the basis of previous achievements and 
interests. Larson considered carefully to what extent this rise in 
talent could be attributed to training and arrived at the con- 
clusion that it was principally due to natural selection rather than 

These figures for Group D are significant in another respect. 
They show that the highest orchestra is not made up entirely of 
highly talented students. If it were, the average for the group could 
be in the 90's instead of 73. One naturally asks how many of the 
students in this school will die with all their music in them undis- 
covered and not functioning. It is also interesting to ask how many 
of the gifted students in music were also highly gifted in other arts 
or disciplines and were, therefore, diverted from training in music. 
At any rate, we have here a fairly clear picture of what actually 


happens in a public school.* The next question is, can we improve 
upon this situation ? 


After reviewing the experiment in the Eastman School of Music, 
Mr. George Eastman said, "You have rendered our school a great 
and permanent service. You have saved large sums of money and 
have rendered a humanitarian service to these pupils. But that is 
largely negative; is it not possible to do something more positive?" 

"Yes," I replied. "That is the great future of talent selection. 
When a music psychologist is placed in the public school system 
with the sole charge of attempting to discover, analyze, and certify 
talent which may be discovered by dragnet tests, analyzed by case 
histories, and verified by auditions, we shall be doing the positive 
thing in the public schools. We can then not only inform the tal- 
ented of their valuable possession, but we can give them privileges 
in the public school musical activities in proportion to their capac- 
ities for achievement, and, as a result of their achievement and in 
the light of talent analyses, these pupils may be recommended to 
the best music schools." 

The most effective operation of this principle is, perhaps, to be 
found in Rochester, N. Y. Such a system is now in operation and 
may be briefly summarized. When the pioneer work in this field 
was undertaken, Dr. Ruth Larson, in charge of this work, was 
highly qualified, and has perhaps had the best opportunities and 
the best encouragement of anyone in this country, for this specific 
work. In a personal communication, she kindly outlined the char- 
acter of her work, after the first two years of experience in the 
position as follows: 


1. The placement of instruments. The instrumental depart- 
ment has a large number of musical instruments as a result of 
very generous gifts by philanthropists of the city. Also, prac- 
tically all the schools of the city own instruments. These instru- 
ments are placed with the more musical children through the aid 
of the psychological tests. 

* Virtually the same experiment was repeated by Larson in the school system of Iowa 
City, Iowa. The outcome was a verification of the Lincoln findings in principle. 


2. Recommendations concerning the purchase of instruments by 
parents. More and more, parents are requesting psychological 
tests before purchasing instruments for their children. Upon 
request, after the test appointments, conferences are held with 
the parents, and in the light of information that has been ac- 
quired concerning the child and his talent, suggestions are made 
as to the kind of instrument for which the child seems best 

3. Segregation of instrumental classes. Contrary to ideas that 
many have had on the subject, it has been demonstrated that 
there is more incentive for the majority of stvidents to work at 
their highest level when they are in a homogeneous group. It is a 
mistake to place the less talented student in classes with the more 
musical students. Instead of the highly gifted students acting 
as an inspiration to the less talented ones, it tends to discourage 
them. Nor is it beneficial for the talented children; the competi- 
tion is not so keen, and they are not taxed to their best efforts. 
Therefore, children of like musical capacities are placed in the 
same classes whenever the schedules will permit. 

4. Cooperation with the music teachers in the study of unusual 
cases. Close attention is given to students who are reported as 
having early indications of unusual musical aptitude. These 
children are studied and then given the benefit of special op- 
portunities for musical development whenever possible. 

5. Check on accomplishment. A report of grades for all stu- 
dents receiving instrumental instruction is filed at the psychology 
of music office. These reports are studied, and in case the report 
varies decidedly from what might be expected from the student's 
talent chart, an investigation is made in an attempt to discover 
reasons for this discrepancy. If the trouble is due to a lack of 
application, irregular attendance, or some other personal 
indolence, the student is informed that in order to take advan- 
tage of free musical instruction provided by the board of educa- 
tion, he is expected to progress at a rate in conf ormance with his 
capabilities. This pertains equally to those who own their instru- 
ments and to those who are using school instruments. This 
general check on the relation of talent to progress cultivates a 
higher level of efficiency in the classes. 

When there are interferences that hinder the student in mak- 
ing good progress, and it is necessary to recall the instrument, it 


is placed in the hands of one of the numerous applicants of high 
talent on the waiting list, preference being given to those with 
the highest talent ratings. In this group of high talents may be 
found many who do not have the means to purchase an instru- 
ment but must wait an opportunity for the use of a school instru- 
ment or help from some other source. 

6. Cooperation with various organizations interested in child 
guidance. Students are often referred to the music psychologist 
by such organizations as the Children's Service Bureau, Visiting 
Teachers Department, Special Education Department, and 
various members of the Child Study Department for a considera- 
tion of their musical aptitudes, with a view to the significance the 
development of musical talent might have in the readjustment of 
these special cases. 

7. Limitation of instrumental classes through talent testing. It 
is recognized that the teaching of music is expensive. A psy- 
chology of music program attempts to help conserve resources for 
their most profitable use. Although it is the general policy to 
adopt a positive attitude with an endeavor to help and guide the 
child in music, it is necessary to protect the school and the teacher 
by refusing to recommend the lowest type of talent for instru- 
mental instruction. 

Although the present program concentrates on work with 
the instrumental department, numerous opportunities come for 
service in other branches of school music. . . . Thus, an in- 
fluence has incidentally carried over into another department of 
school music. The vocal teachers also send students to the central 
test room, sometimes for the consideration of recommending 
further study beyond high school as a vocation, or for an under- 
standing of why a student with a voice of excellent quality is not 
capable of singing in time or tune in the vocal ensemble classes. 
These are but examples of services in other branches of school 
music.The growth in the demands for the psychology of music 
service is taxing the present facilities, and the enlargement of 
the program to include other branches of school music, where it 
can be just as serviceable, is in process. 

Since greater emphasis is being placed on the importance of 
musical development at an early age in school, greater opportun- 
ity is offered for guidance through psychology of music at this 
critical time. . . . The testing of musical talent at this level has 


the advantage of obviating an expensive and inefficient trial-and- 
error sifting for those inherently equipped for achievements in 


In another publication 120 I have made the following recom- 
mendations on (1) the training of teachers and supervisors and (2) 
on the organization of a guidance program in the public school : 

The training of teachers in the art of the analysis and adjust- 
ment for talent is the first great need in the realization of the goal 
for musical guidance on a large scale. That the burden falls first 
upon the teacher in the classroom becomes evident when we 
realize that the commonest evidence of talent is, and always will 
be, the character of performance in the early stages. To ap- 
preciate this, requires a rather highly organized technical train- 
ing in the job analysis of the musical situation, the talent analysis 
of the child, and the actual organization of progress in training 
on the basis of these two sets of information. 

We are, however, not sanguine enough to regard it as reason- 
able to expect that of all music teachers. The demand, therefore, 
presses chiefly upon supervisors who themselves understand the 
situation and have the power to command the few who can 
cooperate in this service. The immediate responsibility for 
awakening interest in the possibilities of the art of music falls 
upon the training institutions for music supervisors. It is incum- 
bent on them to share some of the time for methods of teaching 
with expert training in music guidance. Before this is done, no 
claim can be made for the application of science to the art of 
teaching music. 


A guidance program calls for systematic observation in 
auditions, measures of achievement, and measures of talent. In 
the ordinary musical situation natural selection operates at an 
enormous sacrifice, more or less through chance survival. 

* In the April, 1938, number of the Educational Music Magazine, Mr. Charles 
H. Miller, the supervisor of music at Rochester, gives a report on the operation of this 
program during the first ten years. In this he confirms the principles just stated and gives 
additional interesting suggestions. 


Auditions. To obviate this waste and to discover and direct 
talent, the scientifically trained teacher or supervisor will 
organize a systematic procedure that may informally be called 
auditions. It will be in the hands of a competent person who can 
move unobtrusively in the actual musical situation and observe 
and record specific evidences of the presence or absence of talent, 
in a cumulative record that will facilitate guidance. This auditor 
will, of course, get most leads from the teacher and thus furnish 
every teacher an outlet for influence in this service. 

We teach too much; we drill too insistently; we inspire too 
little. A distinctive place in the training program should be 
assigned to auditions. When this is done by a qualified person, 
much of the routine teaching and drill work can give place to 
spontaneous self-expression and self-direction, and the problem of 
motivation will be solved. If asked how to reduce the budget in 
the music department, that is the method I would pursue. 
Early discovery, systematic record, and the assurance that merit 
will be rewarded will furnish the greatest drive that can possibly 
enter into the musical life of the school. A social and competitive 
program in which the student is encouraged to live in an atmos- 
phere of self-expression and service in music is extremely valuable 
in the revelation of talent. 

This audition service should, of course, be responsible for the 
organization and conduct of all measures of achievement, and it 
is now a well-established fact that the timely and adequate meas- 
urement of achievement is an effective tool in the organization of 
instruction. Achievement tests may often take the form of 
actual competitive performance. More emphasis should be 
placed on evidence of self-direction, self-motivation, and self- 
criticism than upon mere passing grades on routine instruction. 
The early documenting of specific abilities exhibited in perform- 
ance is very valuable. 

Surveys. As measures of musical talent progressively stand- 
ardized, validated, and made available in inexpensive, safe, and 
reliable form, surveys may be conducted in various ways. These 
surveys should serve two primary purposes: (1) the discovery of 
outstanding and perhaps unrecognized talent of various kinds; 
and (2) the identification of persons seriously lacking in talent. 
They should never be undertaken except where there is a de- 
liberate and effective intention to follow up. Tests of this kind 


should be of such character that their use will be fully justified 
by the teaching-value alone in making the music population 
conscious of the existence and significance of specific aspects of 

The most profitable all-city survey would be in the fifth 
grade, and the second survey if undertaken should perhaps be in 
the eighth, for obvious reasons. A more specific and immediately 
profitable use of surveys is in the progressive organization of 
music units, such as orchestras, bands, choruses, highly special- 
ized organizations, and individual instruction. Here the analysis 
of measures of musical talent should be a fixture in the procedure, 
and every student should know exactly how he rates in this and 

Remedial work. Remedial work should play an important 
part in the organization program in the ordinary course of in- 
struction and musical activity. The pupil faces an unanalyzed 
situation and may show marked defects of which he is not aware. 
Our demand for analysis and measurement of specific elements in 
performance favors the development of a system of remedial 
work that may be undertaken to great advantage. Many a 
singer who flats has simply fallen into a bad habit and can be 
whipped out in a few minutes of intensive attack, if there is an 
adequate sense of pitch. The same is true in each of the basic 
capacities, such as volume control, time, rhythm, and tone 
quality. There are now instruments available by which a person 
can test, check, and correct his faulty performance in a very 
short time, and to a very high degree. Such procedures make the 
pupil conscious of the defects he has. Most of the faults and de- 
fects may be attributed to sluggishness on the part of both pupil 
and teacher in the discovery of error. The scientific method will 
act as a whip. The need of this is, of course, most notoriously 
exhibited in the matter of the control of tone quality. Instead of 
thinking loosely in general terms of good and bad, the pupil 
should be made conscious of his specific weakness and the ways 
of remedying it. 

In a sense, the guidance program should always be of a nega- 
tive and protective character. At every turn, the pupil should be 
encouraged to follow his natural urge. The musical guide will then 
analyze the situation to determine whether the choice is wise and 
in accordance with natural talent. This advice favoring a protec- 


tive attitude rather than a positive and directive attitude is 
essential to the scientific approach. The ordinary guide is far too 
ready to direct the future of the pupil on the basis of superficial 

Appreciation of music is not primarily a problem of guidance. 
It is rather a problem of providing facilities, motivation, and, best 
of all, forms of participation that make the pupil feel that music 
is in him and of him, because appreciation is ultimately a form of 



FAMILY pride, musical and social history, investments in musical 
education, the making or breaking of a career, hinge upon an 
adequate evaluation of talent; and talent, by definition, is an 
inherited trait. The world talks glibly of it in high praise and in 
deep disparagement, often without a glimmering of scientific in- 
sight or discriminating attitude. The concept of inheritance must 
have a place in a psychology of music. 

Musical talent probably lends itself better than any other 
talent to the investigation of the laws of mental inheritance 
because it does not represent merely a general heightening of the 
mental powers, but is specifically recognized as a gift which can be 
analyzed into its constituent elements, many of which may be 
isolated and measured with reasonable precision. The inheritance 
of musical talent may, therefore, be studied, not only for itself, but 
also for the bearing that it has on the inheritance of mental traits in 

Yet, in approaching this problem, we are forced to face certain 
complexities which tend to make the work difficult and may at first 
seem insurmountable. Frank recognition of these is, however, the 
first step in scientific procedure. The more of such facts we dis- 
cover early and take into account, the more permanent will be the 

* A considerable part of this chapter is drawn from the author's article on this subject 
ill the Mutual Quarterly. lu 



value of our labors. In this chapter, I shall try to point out some of 
these elements in the situation and make a general forecast as to 

As we have seen, musical talent is not one but a group of 
hierarchies of talent. The musical person may be distinguished in 
voice, in instrumental performance, in musical appreciation, or in 
composition; each of these is an independent field in which one 
may gain eminence without giving evidence of marked ability in 
the others. Then, within each of these large avenues of musical 
life, we find numerous independent variables. Voice, for example, 
is a physical capacity which may be distinguished in volume, 
register, range, and timbre, all quite independent variables and not 
necessarily associated with the musical mind. 

Scope of inheritance. We have inherited every element of what 
we are or can become as human organisms. We develop from this 
inheritance stock through the operation of environment. Environ- 
ment is selective in that (1) it permits the outcropping of certain 
latent capacities, for example, walking, talking, or laughing, and 
suppresses masses of other latent capacities by failure of oppor- 
tunity for functioning; (2) it furnishes training and opportunity 
for exercise in acts of skill, both mental and physical; (3) it favors 
specialization, for example, in music, art, and leadership; (4) it 
holds out rewards and goals which heighten achievement at the 
sacrifice of other talents, and Hirsch^ 1 says: 

Much of heredity's contribution to the individual is either not 
in evidence at all or only partially active at birth. For this reason 
it is often wrongly assigned to training, to learning, or to con- 
ditioning. We refer to such vital characteristics as intelligence, 
verbalization, walking and motor and mechanical abilities. These 
are innate capacities and could never be "acquired" or "learned" 
if they were not potentially present at birth. Their functioning, 
it is true, is contingent upon neural and muscular structures, but 
these latter are merely an aspect of the infant's entire psy- 
chophysiological maturation, which is genetically pre-determined. 

Too much emphasis cannot be given to the truth that an 
infant's functional characteristics, and traits, and patterns of 
behavior during the first few weeks of life are but a fraction of its 
psychobiological and psychological nature. The rate at which its 
fertile latencies develon so that thev function and heroine 


"behavior," is also largely a matter of inheritance. For a "malu- 
rational sequence" is more significant than training. . . . Not 
only are many hereditary contributions inactive at birth, or yet 
during infancy, but much if not most of our hereditary natures 
never function, never become actualized either in overt behavior 
or in our consciousness. 

Four branches. On the sensory side we have recognized four 
branches of talent content as heard, namely, pitch, time, intensity, 
and timbre, each forming a main division of approaches to musician- 
ship. Each one of these capacities runs as an independent branch, 
not only in sensation, but through memory, imagination, thought, 
feeling, and action. Each branch of this family tree throws out 
similar clusters of capacities. For example, the power of imagery, 
creative imagination, emotional warmth, and logical grasp, tend to 
appear in all four of these channels. In the investigation of in- 
heritance, we must, therefore, abandon the plan of merely counting 
persons musical or unmusical and patiently settle down to the 
isolation and observation of isolable traits. 

Capacity versus achievement. The investigator of inheritance is 
not interested primarily in the degree of achievement attained, 
which is usually a circumstance of fortune or misfortune in environ- 
ment; he has to do exclusively with the valuation of inborn 
capacities. Skill or achievement is significant for inheritance only 
insofar as it gives evidence of native capacities. It is manifestly 
unjust to attempt to trace musical inheritance only in distinguished 
achievement in music. Wherever we find achievement, we count it 
as evidence of capacity; but we must employ ways and means of 
rating undeveloped capacities fairly in comparison with capacities 
which have been given natural outlets for development into 

This point of view is fundamental and must be taken seriously. 
So long as we rate the presence of musical talent in terms of 
musical achievement, we shall be dealing mainly with the superficial, 
sociological, and pedagogical phenomena of opportunities and scope 
of musical training or with the effect of inhibiting circumstance on 
the spontaneous self-expression in music. 

Investigation of inheritance has been made possible for the first 
time by the introduction of methods of psychological examination 
in which we can discover, measure, and rate the existence, kind, and 


extent of natural musical capacities, quite independent of age 
(beyond infancy), training, or musical performance. Most of us die 
"with all the music in us," but modern methods enable us now to 
observe and record the extent to which capacities are present quite 
apart from their evidence in a musical life. 

The normal mind versus the genius and the defective. The 
normal mind is musical, and the normal body is the instrument 
for adequate expression of music. As we have seen, whether or not 
the person with a normal mind and body shall distinguish himself 
in music is largely a matter of circumstances in the way of oppor- 
tunities for development and absence of suppressing forces. 

Investigation of heredity naturally centers first on what is 
thought to be most tangible types of cases, that is, on the one hand 
the genius and on the other the defective. But this distinction is not 
so simple as it might seem at first to be, for musical genius may be of 
very many kinds, many of which are due to unrelated causes. Thus, 
we may have the genius in composing, in performing, or in inter- 
preting music; one quite independent of the other, and in each 
genus of these a variety of species. Likewise, musical deprivation 
may be due to faulty hearing, inadequate association, inferior 
intelligence, and, within each genus of these and similar categories, 
there may be various species, many of them entirely unrelated. We 
shall, therefore, not find much comfort in thinking of the genius or 
the defective as representing peculiarly tangible cases, for we shall 
be compelled to deal with specific factors in analyzed concepts. 

The normal mind is the average mind. But such average does 
not represent a single dead level for all the various human capaci- 
ties. Thus, the two cases, A and B, here represented in talent 
charts on the basis of the measurement of talents listed, may be 
regarded as typical of "average" musical minds, yet they are 
radically different. It is not illuminating to call them "normal." 

What is here illustrated in musical capacity is equally true for 
other capacities in human endowments. This is only saying in other 
words, "We normal people are so different." If, for example, we 
rank capacities on the scale from 1 to 100 per cent, we may find the 
so-called "normal" endowed with a superbly high faculty in one 
capacity and in another, equally important, markedly defective; 
in one he may rank 99 per cent, and in the other 2 per cent. There 
is nothing gained by speaking of this as representing the average; 
each one must be considered by itself. 


We shall, therefore, be compelled to narrow our concept of 
normal and defective to the designation of these in terms of specific 
and isolable talents upon which musical achievement must 
depend. When this is done the popular distinction of genius, 
normal, and defective loses its significance, just as the term 
"insanity" has come to be merely a legal term, while the physician 
deals with specific causes and symptoms of mental diseases and 
finds all sorts of interweavirigs between sanity and insanity. 

Genius and impulse. We should distinguish between the 
talented person and the genius. The most distinctive trait of the 
musical genius is the fact that he finds in music a dominant inter- 
est, is driven to it by an impulse, burns to express himself in music. 
He is driven by an instinctive impulse or craving for music which 
results in supreme devotion to its realization. The talented person, 
on the other hand, gives evidence of unusual powers which may or 
may not be motivated by an instinctive impulse. The talented per- 
son tends to manifest specific skills while genius actually generalizes, 
creates, thinks in a large whole. To view genius merely as a talent 
is to view the waterfall in terms of measures of water or height, 
instead of regarding it as water in action, falling, working, entranc- 
ing. The imposing manifestation of eternal grandeur in the graceful 
folds of the giant veil of water is a reality. But there would be no 
fall were there no gorge, quantity of water, or height of shelf. The 
functioning power is implied in the structural composition. So, in 
music, the impulse to live the life of music owes its existence to the 
high possession of other musical talents. In laying the foundations 
for a scientific study of heredity, we may, therefore, content our- 
selves with describing the waterfall in terms of the shape of the 
gorge, the quantity of water, and the height of fall; that is, in 
terms of capacity for sensing, executing, imagining, remembering, 
thinking, feeling music, including with these the instinctive urge 
for self-expression in music. 

Urge without talent. In literature and art, it is a well-known 
fact that we often find people desperately devoted to their art, that 
is, drawn by a dominant impulse to a given art objective, who never 
achieve and who are finally spotted as hopeless. Although a vital 
index, the impulse itself does not make the genius and may be a 
misleading guide. 

Versatility and plasticity of the human organism. In stressing 
the classification in terms of inborn capacities as distinguished from 


developed skill or achievement, we must not neglect the equally 
important fact that the limits of achievement depend on the re- 
lationship of one capacity to another; and that inferior and medium 
capacities in some factor may constitute adequate support for 
excellence in some dominant capacity; and some capacity may be 
utterly lost without interfering prohibitively with the function of 
another. For example, one may be stone deaf, and yet be a superior 
composer if he has had normal hearing at some period of his life; but 
though he be a genius of musical intelligence and lack creative 
imagination, he cannot create music. 

The resourcefulness of the human organism is marvelous. 
Recently a one-armed man won the national honors in marksman- 
ship in various forms of shooting with gun and rifle. A one-legged 
man became a rope dancer. The war cripples are astonishing 
us in many directions by their performances after loss of parts of the 
body. The same is also true mentally, since the mind is more 
complicated and plastic than the body. Therefore, it requires great 
insight to distinguish real achievement reached after the over- 
coming of handicaps from the possession of talent. Such achieve- 
ment, under handicap, is favored in music by the fact that the 
material of music is manifold and the avenues of expression are 
abundant. A person without a voice may play; a person lacking 
sense of tone may excel in the rhythmic aspects of music; a person 
lacking the sense of time may dwell in the tonal aspects; a person 
lacking emotion may excel in the more abstract processes of com- 
position and musical criticism. 

Now, in all such cases, it will be necessary to deal with specific 
gifts, either unusual excellences or marked absence of excellences, 
and in all cases to rate natural capacities as distinguished from the 
acquired skill or ability. 

This point of view throws a flood of light on the analysis of 
likes and dislikes, character of performance, and character of 
creation in music. Thus a distinguished singer was found to be 
inferior in the sense of pitch, and in this was found the explanation 
of the fact that she had failed in several roles of music before she 
hit by chance upon the role of folk songs, in which she appeared in 
solo and in which she, without apparent extravagance, makes use 
of the artistic liberties which the folk singers take with their 
melodies. She has a beautiful voice, wide compass, and very effec- 
tive support, from a dramatic point of view, in a graceful body and a 


beautiful face, so that appeal to the eye dominates the esthetic 
appeal of the tonal message. 

Persons who lack a sense of time or a sense of intensity are com- 
mon in musical circles. The relative absence of feeling, imagination, 
or intellect in persons who have attained distinction in music is a 
notorious phenomenon. Many persons prominent in musical circles 
perform in a certain mechanical way and are always pronounced 
unmusical by the connoisseur; the voice lacks life, the rhythm is 
mechanical, the tone is cold. In any investigation of heredity, we 
may have to call such highly trained persons unmusical on the 
basis of rating in natural capacities. 

Attitude of the artist. We can apply mental tests to rate the 
capacities of soldiers under military command, and the youth must 
accept the consequence of the rating, whether it be favorable or 
unfavorable to his military career. In the schools, there has now 
been established a variety of systems of tests by which the "gifts 
of nature'* in the pupil are thrown into relief for the guidance of the 
educator, and children are coming to look upon the intelligence 
quotient, mathematical rating, and the learning curve as matters of 
routine, which they regard with the same complacence as they view 
their measures of height, weight, and lung capacity. The prospec- 
tive musician in the music school is eager to secure her talent 
chart as a basis for the organization of her course, the identification 
and analysis of encountered difficulties, and the forecast of prospects 
in a musical career. 

But when we attempt to follow up the individuals in a family of 
musicians, with all its collateral branches, we encounter prejudices, 
fears, scruples, and other negativisms. There is in the very warp 
and woof of the musical temperament an attitude of mind which, 
by its very esthetic glow, is opposed to cold scientific procedure 
with particulars. This aloofness of the artist is also partly justified 
by the fact that the necessary procedure for the investigation of 
musical inheritance is yet crude and has not become a part of the 
common stock of well-recognized custom. 

Absence of established biological theory. This reserve is further 
supported by the barren situation in regard to established biological 
concepts of the physical mechanism in the inheritance of mental 
traits by transmission through the germ plasm. There must, for 
some time to come, be a patient procedure by "trial and error" in 
an attempt to try out the best working hypotheses now available. 


We have but little precedent for the application of Mendelian 
principles to mental traits. But, from the point of view of modern 
psychology, the prospect of drawing analogies from related experi- 
ments in plants and animals is very hopeful. Indeed, that is the 
only logical and economic way to proceed. We may accept as a 
general working basis the Mendelian hypothesis and proceed to 
ascertain what determiners in the germ plasm function for musical 
talent; which are dominant and which recessive; which musical 
dispositions are carried on the same determiner, and which are 
carried on determiners charged with nonmusical factors, etc. In 
psychology, this will be virgin soil. 

Practical significance. If it should prove possible to identify 
heritable musical traits, as we believe it is, and if the laws of the 
operation of this inheritance should become common knowledge, it 
is conceivable that the gain for the development of artistic re- 
sources would be as far-reaching in consequence for musical art as 
knowledge of such laws is proving to be in conservation of favorable 
traits and the elimination of unfavorable traits in animals and 
plants. And this may all come about without any eugenic infringe- 
ment of the rights and finer sensibilities of esthetic man in human 
evolution. Yet the greatest gain through studies in musical heredity 
will survive mainly in an increase in our knowledge and apprecia- 
tion of the nature, the resources, the limits, the significance, and 
the value of this precious gift of music as we appraise it daily in 
home, school, and society. 

The discarding of the literature on musical inheritance. The 
above facts, and many others like them, prove conclusively, 
to those acquainted with the literature of the subject, that we can 
get little or no help from the nonscientific works now extant on the 
inheritance of musical talent. The mass of musical biography and 
autobiography has sprung up in terms of loose and utterly unscien- 
tific concepts. True, when we adopt a scientific terminology, it 
may be possible to go back and identify specific factors in composi- 
tions, published musical criticism, and a variety of other objective 
evidence of the presence of similar traits in successive generations 
of certain musical families. This was illustrated in our study of 
musical imagery in the biography of great musicians in Chap. 14. 
But it will be difficult to determine how much to attribute to nature 
and nurture respectively. Even then, it will be like counting only 
the ships that come in, for we can get but scant information about 


the musical nature on the maternal side. The male musical genius 
has often come from a mother whose extraordinary talent has 
passed undiscovered until it appeared in the career of a son. 
To trace inheritance we must count all the members of a family of 
blood relations, including certain collaterals, and attach as much 
significance to the rating of talent which has found no outlet for 
expression as to that which has found expression. This has not been 
done in musical biography because biography deals primarily 
with achievement. 

Even in the few biometric studies of traits in which musical 
inheritance has been taken into account, the data obtained and the 
technique developed are of little value because none of them deals 
with specific capacities. To those who are not trained in the 
technique of individual psychology or biometric experiments, this 
discarding of the contributions of the past may seem sweeping and 
even arrogant; yet such is the process of clearing away the rubbish 
before breaking ground for a scientific venture in this field. 

The experimental method essential. "Where there is no experi- 
ment there can be no science." Scientific investigation of musical 
talent had to wait for the appearance of the scientific psychology of 
music. Only in comparatively recent years have we seen the begin- 
ning of such a science. This science is still restricted to laboratories 
and other technical activities and has not yet invaded musical 
thought to any considerable extent. It is still in the inceptive 
stage, and the investigator of heredity must, therefore, content 
himself with a few aspects of musical talent which have been re- 
duced to experimental control. In view of the considerations men- 
tioned above, we must now deal tentatively with such aspects as 
can be isolated, measured, and described with precision. To the 
investigator it is no sacrifice to abandon the hope of tracing the 
inheritance of musical talent as a whole. He prizes the opportunity 
of dealing with one specific capacity at a time. 


Among the measures on specific factors of musical talent now 
available for use in quantitative procedure, I would mention the 
following : 

The basic sensory capacities. Beyond question, the first thing 
to do is to measure quantitatively the four basic capacities, namely, 


the sense of pitch, the sense of intensity, the sense of time, and the 
sense of timbre. For these we have standards of procedure, instru- 
ments, and norms available. Each of these represents a primary 
branch in the fourfold fork of the trees of musical talent; each 
should be followed further into its branching. The measurement of 
these four factors will reveal the actual psychophysical capacities 
for the hearing of music because all musical sounds are perceived in 
these four forms. Since measures of the sense of rhythm and the 
sense of consonance are not adequately indicated by any one, or any 
combination, of these four, they should be added to the battery. 

The basic motor capacities. Singing and playing as such are not 
suitable measures of inherited traits, except insofar as great dis- 
tinction has been attained, because these abilities are so largely the 
result of training and opportunity. Certain physical measurements 
on structure of organs of voice and hand may be significant. As 
corresponding to those of the basic sensory capacities, four basic 
motor capacities may be used, namely, the control of pitch, the con- 
trol of intensity, the control of timbre, and the control of rhythm. 
For each of these we have techniques and instruments. 

Musical imagery. While we relive and create music through 
images in all the senses, two of these are characteristic of musical 
life and essential, namely, auditory imagery and motor imagery. We 
must determine auditory imagery because it is in terms of this that 
we relive music in the nature of sounds which we have once heard 
and express new music in creative imagination. Motor imagery, 
that is, the subjective sensory experience of action in association, 
is also a basic factor because it is the taproot of emotional expres- 
sion and is really an index of musical emotion. For each of these, we 
have only introspective measures. Crude as these introspective 
measures are, they are, nevertheless, vital indices to ear-mindedness. 

Memory. There are many vastly divergent aspects of musical 
memory in musical talent which may be measured, but, if we shall 
select only one for the present purpose, that one will undoubtedly 
be auditory memory span, that is, the capacity for grasping and 
retaining for a moment a group of musical sounds apart from 
melodic situations. This measurement is ordinarily made in terms 
of memory for pitch or rhythmic pattern. 

Musical intelligence. Since the character of the musician is 
determined largely by the character of his general intelligence, quite 
apart from music, the first measure should be a reliable I.Q. 


The rating of factors not measured. The development of 
experimental technique has led to clearness of analysis and critical 
procedure in the observation and recording of factors which cannot 
be put under experimental control. Such observation and rating of 
factors, with reasonable precision, must furnish very valuable 
supplementary information for aid in the interpretation of the 
quantitative measures. Quantitative measurements furnish abun- 
dant opportunity for the systematic recording of relevant facts 
when once knowledge of classification, relationships, and char- 
acteristic evidences enter into the critical judgment of the 

Among the items to be observed in examining the person, 
record should be kept of voice quality, register, volume, evidences 
of training; general motor control as in the shape of the hands, 
grace and precision of movement; and general alertness. Evidences 
of rhythmic tendencies, vividness and fertility of imagination, 
characteristics of memory, musical centers of interests, stock of 
musical ideas, the expression of musical feeling, temperament, and 
artistic attitudes when off guard, physique, health, and physical 
development are all significant. 

Significant biographical data in the form of case history should 
be gathered, bearing upons triking ancestral traits, hereditary 
disease, social and vocational status, educational opportunities, 
impediments which have stood in the way of successful education 
and achievement, and other significant facts of life history bearing 
upon the factors at issue. No set form should be followed, but 
alertness and skill in observing the essentials are desirable. 

In these matters of ratings and case history the experimenter 
should not fill out forms or pad records but should take the same 
attitude that the physician takes. The physician has in mind the 
generally recognized varieties of diseases and their symptoms, and 
in the best practice he makes a record of anything which, in his 
judgment, may appear to be relevant. 

One factor which cannot be measured, but may possibly be 
observed systematically for the purpose of tracing transmission 
through heredity, is that of the musical impulse as shown in a 
natural craving for music, sustained interest in its pursuit, and a 
deep feeling of satisfaction in things musical. This impulse, when 
genuine, rests upon natural bent of mind due mainly to the posses- 
sion of capacities, but also to a general artistic disposition in the 


form of artistic temperament. The best that we can do, at the pres- 
ent time, is to record all observable evidences of such a driving 
impulse apart from artificial stimulation and simulation. We shall 
undoubtedly find interesting relationships between these impulses 
and the power to achieve, as to both amount and kind. It is very 
desirable to learn to what extent such an instinctive impulse may be 
lost by very slight untoward circumstances in early life. It will also 
be interesting to see to what extent a dominating impulse of this 
sort is related to lack of capacities or absence of interest in other 


The laws of the inheritance of musical traits must ultimately be 
determined by actual experiment on carefully selected matings in 
which the measurements may be repeated for successive genera- 
tions. Such an undertaking can be fostered only by an agency 
heavily endowed, of a nation-wide or international scope, adopting 
a thoroughly standardized procedure which can be sustained for 
many years. * 

In general, it would seem feasible to follow, in an investigation 
of this sort, the same methods that have been followed so suc- 
cessfully with plants and animals; that is, to isolate and observe 
under experimental control, one factor at a time, in all the progeny 
from a given pair for a certain number of generations. There need 
be only one restriction in view of the fact that we are dealing with 
human beings; namely, that we cannot breed successive generations 
for this specific purpose. This, however, is not serious, because we 
can adopt the device of selecting from volunteers, in which the 
factor under control is mated in a known way, and examine them 
and their children and their children's mates in successive genera- 
tions. Ratings through systematic observations and case histories 
may be kept quite complete. This is undoubtedly the method of the 
future. It involves not the slightest infringement upon reasonable 
sensibilities or proprieties; on the contrary, it should constitute a 
most fascinating cooperative search for truth. 

A more direct procedure would be to aim at the same result by 
examining large numbers of musical parents with their children and 
taking into account the transmission of this factor, or factors, in 
one generation. Here we would have the alternative of spending 
time and effort in selecting conspicuous matings for a given 


capacity; or taking musical families at random and depending upon 
large numbers of measurements to yield reliable data. The former 
of these alternatives would undoubtedly be more desirable. 

The most promising immediate approach is, however, to utilize 
material now available in the test programs of public schools by 
selecting marked cases of talent or absence of specific talent among 
children and working back from them to their parents, brothers and 
sisters, and other near blood relatives. 


The point of view here presented is that of the naturalist. 
Musical life is made up of phenomena in nature all operating 
according to determinable laws of nature analyzable, describable, 
explainable, knowable, and worth knowing. 

This point of view does not conflict with the artistic and 
philosophical points of view, both of which regard these same 
phenomena from entirely different angles. The artist may, in suc- 
cessive attitudes, regard his life from each of these three points of 
view. As an artist, he finds himself in esthetic rapport with nature 
without and nature within human emotion. As a philosopher, he 
reasons about the relations of this life of music to the life of nature 
as a part of beauty and truth and weaves it into his world view. As 
a scientist, he turns upon the same phenomena in a cold microscopic 
attitude; he is interested in particulars, causes, conditions, and 
mental laws. 

This entire chapter might well have been devoted to an account 
of procedure and findings in a study of certain elements of in- 
heritance in six of the foremost families of musicians in this country 
conducted by S/anton, 174 because that study marks the beginning of 
a new epoch in the measurement of inheritance of musical talent. 
Space, however, will permit only a brief mention. This investigation 
was a joint undertaking between the Department of Genetics in the 
Carnegie Institution of Washington and the Department of 
Psychology in the University of Iowa. 

Six of America's foremost musicians were selected on the basis 
of their standing and rank among musicians. Each one was inter- 
viewed, musical case histories were written, and four quantitative 
measurements were made. The same procedure was then followed 
for each of the available blood relatives in each family group. 








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Figure 1 shows the result of the measures in the form of a talent- 
pedigree chart for one of the foremost musical families in America. 
The small profile for each individual shows the rank of that in- 
dividual on each of four measurements : pitch, intensity, time, and 
memory, in the order mentioned from top downward. The left of 
the square represents rank of 1, or the lowest; the right of the 
square, a rank of 100, or the highest; the middle vertical line repre- 
sents average. The square over a profile indicates male; a circle, 
female. The connecting lines indicate the family relationship. 

Referring to the profiles in the middle row, we find that the 
musician about whom the family study developed, No. 4, has high 
musical capacities expressed by a superior talent profile. He mar- 
ried No. 3, who comes from an unmusical family as known from 
their family history and from their low musical capacities as seen 
in the profiles of the three sisters, Nos. 1, 2, and 3, and of the 
mother, No. 1 in the top row. Of their three children, Nos. 1 and 3 
in the bottom row have high musical capacities. Their talent profiles 
resemble the profile of the father. The talent profile of the middle 
sister resembles that of her mother. 

The musician's brother, No. 7 in the middle row, is very tal- 
ented. He married into a musical family, two of whom were tested, 
Nos. 5 and 6. His children, Nos. 5, 6, 7, and 8, in the bottom row, 
are all musical and show high capacities. The two complete talent 
profiles of Nos. 6 and 7 resemble the talent profile of their father. 
The incomplete talent profiles are due to illness. The musician's 
sister, last in the middle row, was a teacher of voice and of piano 
and a choral director. Of her children, Nos. 9 and 10, the daughter 
has superior talent, but the son is more like his mother. 

In addition to the data expressed in the talent-pedigree chart, 
information was obtained regarding the musical history of each 
member of the family as to early environment, education, musical 
expression, creative ability, emotional reactions, likes and dislikes. 
The family has musical potentialities according to measurement 
and has demonstrated its musical abilities according to supple- 
mentary data and information. 

Tentative conclusions from these studies are that musical 
parents from musical stock on one or both sides tend to have 
musical children; nonmusical parents from nonmusical stock tend 
to have nonmusical children; parents, one of whom is musical from 
musical stock, the other of whom is nonmusical from nonmusical 


stock, tend to have both musical and nonmusical children. The 
method of inheritance of each capacity is too complex to be known 
from the data at hand, but there is indication that the inheritance 
of musical capacities seems to follow Mendelian principles.* 

Mjoen 100 and his associates in the Winderen laboratory at Oslo 
have made rather notable contributions to studies in race heredity in 
various European countries, employing in large part these measures 
in musical talent. On the point of heredity, he has drawn the follow- 
ing conclusions : 

Untalented parents never have very talented children, 
while very talented parents never have untalented children. 
The higher the average of talent in the parents, the higher 
is also the average of talent in the children. When there is only a 
slight divergence or none at all in the parents, the average talent 
in the children is a little higher than that of the parents. When 
the divergence increases the average talent in the children 
declines; so that in cases of great divergence in the parents the 
average for the children is lower than that of the parents. Ac- 
cordingly, it seems that a great difference of talent in the parents 
exercises an unfavorable influence on the degree of talent in the 

Another investigation of a quantitative character made with 
our measures of musical talent is that of Davenport and Steggerda, 15 
in which a study is made of anthropological differences between 
blacks, whites, and browns, who have lived on the same island 
under similar conditions for a long period of time. While this in- 
vestigation was not organized primarily for the tracing of inherit- 
ance, the findings throw much light upon that problem. 

* The original report 174 is worth careful study. All the original records are on file in the 
offices of the Carnegie Institution at Cold Springs Harbor. 




THE coming in of methods of recording and reproducing sounds 
from a film is one of the marvels of the present century. It 
enables us to live in a new world situation. When we can sit down in 
a theater or private studio and see the primitive savage in his native 
haunts at work and play, in ceremonial dance and song, the world is 
made smaller. Concrete situations, as seen and heard, are brought 
to us from all parts of the globe, regardless of distance, and may be 
preserved for all time. 

We have marveled at the exhibition feature, at the entertain- 
ment which we enjoy in the theater, and at the possibility of col- 
lecting data for all kinds of historical purposes by this extraordinary 
means; but very few have realized anything of the unlimited possi- 
bilities of a scientific character that this movement introduces for 

The tone film not only reproduces the sounds to our ears, but it 
presents the message also in visual form. As a record of sound waves, 
it furnishes the necessary raw material for physical and mathe- 
matical treatment in the interests of the science of music. The music 
thus reported becomes laboratory material, available as a key to the 
anthropological and musical approaches to all the problems in- 
volved in the origin and development of racial music. The sound 
film which we hear in the theater has been edited by a process 
analogous to the retouching of photographs. This makes it more 
acceptable to the ear but, to that extent, distorts the actual raw 
material. The original film is, however, preserved and it is from this 


PRIMITIVE Music 347 

tmretouched film that the scientific studies may be made. The sound 
film, like the phonograph record, may be taken into the laboratory 
for rephotographing for the purposes of analysis as described in 
Chap. 2. 

The moving picture industry is now ready to cooperate with 
scientists in the interest of making their films more "educational'* 
and scientifically more faithful records of primitive music and 
speech. The first step that is necessary to take in this cooperation 
is to employ a musical anthropologist to go into the field as a scout 
and apply existing knowledge of the situation in a survey of avail- 
able material. This will take two forms. First will be the determina- 
tion of what is anthropologically the most significant aspect of 
musical culture in a selected group. The anthropologist will prob- 
ably find that it represents a definite culture stage in the develop- 
ment of melody, accompaniment, musical instruments, ceremonial 
value, echo of environment, and a number of other issues funda- 
mental to the history of music. He may then select from these the 
features which should be illustrated in order to show the most 
characteristic and significant elements in the situation. These 
elements may be of as good entertainment value as the hodge- 
podge ordinarily assembled by the professional photographer in the 
interests of stage playing. 

In the second place, it will be the function of the anthropologist 
to discover and organize performing units. One of his most impor- 
tant functions will be to overcome the fears, prejudices, and taboos 
of the people in order that he may get a full and natural response 
from them. While the stage manager must have relatively free 
hands in the interest of entertainment, the intelligent good will 
thus established may redound to the interest of both science and 

These two things have never been done, but producers are ready 
to make the venture and the way is entirely clear. If we consider the 
problems involved in collecting primitive music at home, such as 
the truly Negro music and Indian music, which is not spoiled by 
contact with our own, we can realize something of the importance 
of these two steps. What the ordinary "movies" collect is not truly 
Indian or truly Negro music. 

Cooperation with commercial producers has another advantage. 
The cost of making films of this kind in remote places is very great. 
There is perhaps no musical scientific agency that is ready to 


promote expeditions by itself. On the other hand, by dovetailing 
with the commercial producer, the scientific interests can be served 
at but little additional expense and with enhancement of value to 
the producer. The scientist will gain his end in two ways: he will 
have an opportunity to get into the entertainment film materials 
which are truly representative of the situation portrayed; and much 
of this can be reworked for purely scientific purposes. 

On the other hand, when the camera force is in the field and 
rapport has been established with the performers, it involves a 
matter of very small expense to have films taken which are of 
purely scientific character under satisfactory conditions of control. 
There is also a definite advantage in cooperation with the producers, 
an advantage which will increase in significance as producers see 
their way clear to do for music what they have attempted to do in 
historical dramas; namely, to make them scientifically accurate as 
materials for entertainment. The scientist will, therefore, not 
only have contributed to the learned tomes that issue from the 
laboratories and studios, but will have acted as a censor and an 
impresario in placing a faithful representation before the public 
throughout the world for amusement and enlightenment. 

In recent years, we have had remarkable demonstrations of the 
value of pure science to industry as illustrated in the development of 
large research divisions of industrial organizations. Here we may 
look for a parallel example in the advancement of the art of educa- 
tional entertainment through a science faithfully performed by 
research men at the critical points. 


Before the tone film had reached its present popularity and 
perfection, a project for the collecting of Negro songs by means of 
the camera was carried out as a joint enterprise of the University of 
Iowa and the University of North Carolina under a grant from the 
Laura Spellman Rockefeller Foundation. In North Carolina, 
Professor H. W. Odum and his associates had made a study of 
Negro singers and their songs in adjacent territory; and, in the 
University of Iowa, we had developed a field camera for the photo- 
graphing of the sound waves in the actual singing situation. Pro- 
fessor Milton Metfessel, then a National Research Council fellow, 
had charge of the investigation and published the results in a 
volume entitled Phonophotography in Folk Music, containing 32 

PRIMITIVE Music 349 

songs, presented in the pattern score. The object of this investiga- 
tion was to make it a sort of feeler into the possibilities of this type 
of recording, the ways of establishing rapport with the desired 
singers, and the means of presenting the song in such a way as to be 
musically significant and yet couched in rigidly scientific forms and 

Manifestly a chapter of this kind at this time does not permit 
any adequate presentation of the characteristics of primitive 
music or of Negro music in particular, or even the findings in this 
particular project. I shall simply call attention to some of the 
features presented by Metfessel in his volume. 85 Those who are 
interested in the subject must go to the original for full treatment. 

Ear-eye interpretation. Figure 1 is a transcript of a section from 
a phonograph record, Victor 20013-B, entitled On ma journey. 
This is introduced for the purpose of demonstrating the significance 
of eye-ear coordination in the description and interpretation of this 
type of music, f 

The student should have this record available for use in inter- 
preting the score and coordinating eye and ear impressions. Such 
use of the pattern score with a phonograph record is a most valuable 

* Up to the time these records were made, two means, both relatively inadequate, had 
been utilized in collecting primitive music. The first was the direct listening of the collector, 
taking notes and giving an account in musical notation and verbal description of what he 
heard The limitations of that procedure are obvious. A better procedure has been that of 
using the phonograph record. Primitive music collected throughout the world has been 
preserved in this form, which is now found very unsatisfactory, valuable collections are 
being scrapped. The gravest source of eiror has, however, lam in the transcription of these 
records by ear, which introduces countless subjective factors and limitations in the report. 
Some of these records may be salvaged by photographing; but, in doing so, we find serious 
faults in the softness of the record and the original timing of it. 

| The notation is essentially the same as that with which we are familiar from the pre- 
ceding chapters The letter in the box indicates the approximate keynote. The horizontal 
lines of the staff divide into semitones as indicated by the notation at the left; the vertical 
divisions indicate time in terms of seconds; and the dashes, time in terms of tenths of 
seconds The measures are indicated by the heavy bars across the section at the bottom. 
Below the words as pronounced by the Negro, a phonetic transcription is given in order to 
show the phonetic elements of the dialect. Below this, the duration of each phonated unit is 
given in hundredths of a second. The musical notes are interpolated to represent, from a 
musician's point of view, what the singer probably intended, and what a listener would 
probably hear. This is included with apologies, as it simply represents a musician's guess 
upon inspection of the score, and might be varied as to both pitch and time. It is not a 
part of the standard record. This score shows two of the four factors of performance, 
namely, pitch and time, which includes the temporal aspects of rhythm. The intensity 
and timbre were not recorded. 



4 Qfi fiA JOUE KLY now 

nounr 21- on MA joue- 

nourtr znn WLLL i WOULD 'MTTAKE. A tiu- THirt'-A noum ZIOH roz HA 

a. on Tz. c 

G r n 3 

32 "34 47 29 23 24 26 14 36 16 29 62 2o 72 45 27 32 \Q 

J0UK - fltY 



21 - on 


j. jhi 

n . 1 . p 3 




. P <x 


IN 1. 0- 

1 < U 


- 36 19 

43 -28- 51 





75 96 

- 36-^73 

PRIMITIVE Music 351 

study and teaching device in that the visual picture aids the ear in 
bringing out numerous features of detail which would otherwise 
not be heard or rightly evaluated. Let us trace the tonal movement 
in this pattern score. 

The first note on the word On, for example, may be played over and over 
until the student can actually hear, with some precision, the attack, the vibrato, 
and the release, terminating in an inceptive downward dip, which is a Negro 
characteristic, better illustrated in the third note. The pattern of this note, the 
inverted cup, will be recognized as a type for this singing. The second note is 
barely touched, as the downward dip which leads to the attack of the third 
note was not voiced. The third note is most characteristic of Negro performance 
in its slow, sweeping attack, shortened note, and a sweeping dip before the next 
note, which is on the same pitch. It would be a very profitable exercise to hear 
this over and over again. Is the fourth note heard as suggested by the inter- 
polated score? Or, is it heard flat, as represented by the mean of the vibrato? 
The tie on the fourth word again gives us the characteristic Negro pattern, a 
slow portamento, a shortened note on the actual pitch, and a slow, sweeping re- 
lease, with vibrato present in both attack and release. This tone, being slow, may 
be compared with the first and the third, which are of the same general type but 

The word Mount is sung on a tie which has two distinct pitch levels with good 
vibrato, the two tones being tied by a slow glide, and the second note ending in 
the dip. It is worth while to note to what extent one can hear the pitch and dura- 
tion of these two notes correctly and differentiate them from the glide, which itself 
occupies as much time as the two notes. As has been shown by Miller, in our 
volume on the vibrato, the bulge in the glide is a vibrato wave, physiologically of 
approximately the same significance as the waves on the notes, the difference in 
appearance being due to the fact that it is plotted on the downward sweep. 

The word Zion is sung apparently on two notes of the same pitch, but the 
true pitch of the first note is not reached on account of the slow portamento. Is 
that pattern heard? The word ma is merely flirted with, combining two prin- 
ciples: first, the dip from the preceding note; and, second, the tendency to hear a 
note which is merely pointed at, if it represents a word. The same principle is 
represented for the word journey as for Zion. The true pitch of the first note is 
not reached for the first half of the note, the two tones together forming the 
characteristic inverted cup-shaped pattern. The Negro license is well illustrated 
on the word now, where relatively small time is given to the indicated pitch, and 
the bulk of the time is given to a slow portamento with two grace notes. 

In the second line the intonation on the word Mount, which is not really on 
any note but suggests the interpolated notes, is characteristic. The merest touch 
is given to the word Zion, making one syllable of it, to give time for the breath 
pause, which is used with great freedom by the Negro. The next seven notes illus^ 
trate admirably a characteristic of the Negro singing; namely, that the note which 
represents the destination is merely touched, and a large part of the time is spent 
in gliding up and down with ease. The syllables nu and thin reveal the shortening 
of the first to give room for the dip (downward sweep not voiced) before the quar- 


ter note, which gives us again the inverted cup with the pointing to the next 
note. The diphthong in Mount is sustained beautifully after he reaches it. The 
word now, reveals the characteristic approach to the first note, with what may 
be regarded as a grace note on the portamento and overreaching the destination 
for the last note. The word Mount is embellished with a grace note between the 
first and the last part, sung with a good vibrato, slightly flat. The word Zion 
(t being sung as a) gives us again the cup-shaped pattern on the diphthong and 
the lazy rise to the last note. 

Thus, the score is found to be a mine of exact information in 
regard to audible, and yet seldom heard, pitch. These phrases may 
now be repeated to "hear out'* the scale, the interval values, the 
feeling mode, the legato grace, the mood, and any other intona- 
tional aspect which may interest the musician or be a specific 
object of inquiry. 

In the same manner, all the elements of time and rhythm 
may be checked up in hearing against the objective facts of the 
score. In the future, the pattern score will include the other two 
factors, intensity and timbre, so that sample exercises for the re- 
finement of the hearing of dynamic and quantitative features of 
tones may be heard, the ear being sharpened by the aid of 
the eye.* 

In presenting the following snatches of song, we must allow 
each illustration to speak for itself. Figure 2, represents the last 
section of the song All my days, as sung by the famous bass of 
the Hampton quartet. While this singer has appeared before 
learned audiences and thrilled musicians, he is still ignorant and 
sings by his primitive impulses with a most charming abandon. He 
was so lazy that it was difficult to keep him awake for the recording. 
The words of the song seem appropriate to the character. 

His singing is characterized by a very deep voice, lazy legato 
movement, conspicuous vibrato, and the characteristic Negro 
ornaments, all of which operate to convey deep feeling. He could 
not sing the song twice alike, but his performance conveyed the 
feeling to the listener that it was one of those beautiful outpour- 
ings of soul which could not be set or formalized. His rendition keeps 
ringing in my ears, even to this day, as one of the most beautiful 
tone pictures I have ever heard. 

* Incidentally, it may be suggested that this type of eye-ear exercise, with phonograph 
record checked against pattern score in artistic singing, present* a vast help in the shorten- 
ing of ear training and the sharpening of musical criticism. 











1 1 







23 33 




















C - 






|tt- DLt 







15 34 


D 113 










2,56. C,- 




FIG. 2. (Continued.} 









DOWfl h 







i. HON-OfiEt 

Id au nL/lh 



aU e It u|d u L 

^IhAL -"V 

' a 1 o m 

f a 

v 1/1 hA n|idid 

55 21 1 

7 64 


9 29 24 30 

26 16 53 



22 26 21 


FIG. 3. You ketch dis train. (Metfessel.**) 



Figure 3 is a section from a work song, You ketch dis train, as 
sung in the cornfield by a man at work with hoe in hand. One must 
see the dreamy attitude of the singer in order to realize that his 
spirit is more in the singing than in the eradication of weeds. He did 
not know that his singing was recorded. He was aware that a 
moving picture was being taken but apparently was not much dis- 
tracted by it. In his song, the rhythm is, of course, the conspicuous 

FIG. 4. 

element, with a marked breaking up of short phrases, each ending 
with a grunt, "Huh!" 

Figure 4 is a Negro laugh, introduced here because such laughter 
plays a very important role in the jovial Negro song, and here we 
have, perhaps for the first time, the preservation of a hearty laugh 
in Negro style. 

The feelingful abandon. When our first photograph records of 
Indian and Negro songs were made, we were surprised at the ap- 

PRIMITIVE Music 357 

parent "wildness" of the singing, and we naturally had to ask 
ourselves, "How wild is this singing ?" That led to the recording of 
some of our best artists for purposes of comparison. To our aston- 
ishment, these records also revealed numerous evidences of un- 
suspected relative license, the appearance of which made us more 
charitable toward the untutored savage. The reader will do well to 
make a similar comparison. Our volume The Vibrato is most reveal- 
ing on this point: all good music involves great flexibility and 
freedom. The Negro indulges most lavishly in various forms of 
license, and that is one of the secrets of his resourcefulness. We 
make the mistake of approaching his song in terms of conventional 
concepts of pitch and time. That is not his approach in his 
natural habitat. If he knew the diatonic scale, he would probably 
shun it. At his best, he soars through tonal regions with rhythmic 
movements, sharp syncopation, and liberal frills of adornment. 

Intervals. From this point of view, the moot question of 
intervals favored intervals, scales, and deviations from scales, all 
in relation to our conventional music gains a new significance. 
From our inspection of the records, it becomes clear that it is 
difficult to determine exactly at what pitch a note is heard or 
intended to be heard. A large part of the intonation is carried on 
transition tones. We must also realize that all American Negro 
singing is influenced by current music. 

Certain authors have maintained that this deviation from ac- 
cepted intervals is due to the inability of the Negro to sing them 
with tonal precision. Measures of Negro hearing, however, have 
shown that his ear is probably as keen in natural capacity as that 
of the cultured singer. He sings in his own way and likes it. The 
present vogue of Negro singing and the imitation of it in the music 
of the whites might suggest that there are other people who like 
the same kind of freedom and that fixed intervals are not the goal of 
all music. 

Ornaments. Metfessel says: 

The personal decorations of primitive folk are no more 
tangible than the ornaments of voice, when the latter are brought 
out by phonophotography. The ornaments appealing to the 
hearing of their fellows may now be displayed in our museums 
alongside the appeals to sight. Any vocal ornaments may be 
classified and placed on exhibit as particular patterns on the new 


notation. With a phonograph record or film reproducing the 
music, it will be possible to hear the vocal ornaments which are 

A finished tone quality is rarely found in Negro folk singing. 
The Negro may enjoy good tones, but he makes little effort to 
produce them. He is interested in the more obvious embellish- 
ments and rhythmical devices rather than in the subtle effects 
of beauty resulting from the relatively regular vibrato of artistic 

He then gives a list (Table I) of features in pitch characteristics 
which may be observed in these songs. A similar table might be 
made for the temporal aspects. 


1. Notes 

a. Irregular and widely variable vibrato 

b. Erratic quaver 

2. Intonations (as a separate tone or in attack or release) 

a. Rising 

b. Falling 

c. Circumflex 

d. Inverted circumflex 
8. Succession of notes 

a. Interpolated notes 

b. Grace notes 

c. Slow quaver 

4. Succession of intonations 
a Rising with circumflex 

b. Circumflex with falling 

c. Rising tone with rising tone 

d. Rising tone with falling tone, and vice versa 

e. The dip 

6. Succession of notes and intonations 

a. Interpolated intonations 

b. Falsetto twist 

c. All intonation types in attack or release of notes 

* Metfessel uses the word "note" to designate the body of a tone which resta on a recognizable 
and relatively constant pitch. The transition tones, including the portamento in attack and release, as well 
as the ornaments, he calls "intonations." The intonation and the note as a unit he calls a "tone." 

The records show that in the best of these songs the vibrato is 
as good as in recognized artistic singers. It is, however, probably 
subject to larger variability and more transition forms into other 
pulsations, of which the erratic quaver is characteristic. 

The intonations, as we have seen, come from the characteristic 
legato in rising, falling, circumflex, and inverted circumflex forms 
and include many of the embellishments of the song. 

PRIMITIVE Music 359 

The presence of interpolated notes and grace notes, and the slow 
quaver, which is a pulsation midway between a vibrato and a slow, 
wide trill, are conspicuous. 

In the succession of intonations, the most characteristic Negro 
ornament is the dip, which tends to come at the end of each note, 
and, even when not gross or conspicuous, is present in inceptive 
tendencies in that direction. It perhaps contributes more to the 
droll character of the singing than anything else. 

The falsetto twist, which is a reverse of the dip and usually of 
a much larger extent, is an upward sweep, in which the voice breaks 
quickly into a falsetto. This ornament is very easily heard and is 
laboriously aped in imitations of Negro singing. 

The Negro dialect. Instead of singing, "I heard the voice of 
Jesus say," the Negro sings, "Ah ray ah voice of Jesus zey." This is 
not mere ignorant dialect or affectation but represents a natural 
gravitation toward the musical vowels, especially the broad vowels 
in "Lawd," "doan'," "ma(my)," "ah (the)." This principle of 
intonation upon musical vowels is further aided by the shortening 
of words, syllables, and consonants, which do not lend themselves 
readily to this purpose. 

This presentation has, perhaps, contributed but little toward 
the listing of facts about Negro music; but I trust it will serve the 
purpose of setting up a point of view guarding against sources of 
error, creating a sympathetic attitude toward what the Negro 
singer is trying to do, noting that he may be hampered by the 
cultured music of his day, and that such things as the spirit of Negro 
song or any other song are not something mysterious but are 
couched in concrete, observable, and recordable facts. 


TIT THEN listeners from every part of our nation can hear the same 
W musician at the same time in actual performance, and when 
the musician may stand up before us to be seen and heard in the 
same song for generations to come, a new type of responsibility is 
thrown upon the performer and his instrument. As soon as we get 
our breath after finding ourselves in this marvelous situation 
through the achievement of science in the transmission and re- 
production of sound, interest is going to center upon improvement 
of the singer and player, of the musical instrument, of the art of 
teaching music and standards of artistic achievement through the 
application of scientific methods. Our musical instruments are far 
from perfect. Current scientific knowledge applied to the improve- 
ment of musical instruments is destined to cause a revolution in 
the means of instrumental tone production. At every turn, there 
will be demand for application of scientific technique for the im- 
provement and mastery of the art of music. 

The present chapter is based on the fundamental assumption 
that training in singing or playing involves a number of specific 
capacities and skills which may be identified and made direct 
objects of training with instrumental control in order to shorten 
the time of training and increase the degree of precision that may 
result from training. 

This theory assumes that ability at any stage of training may 
be measured and that specific training exercises may be instituted 
to make the student profoundly conscious of the specific skill which 
he is to acquire in order that he may attain the highest degree of 



precision in the act in a minimum time, and that sufficient training 
by this method will make the act automatic, so that it shall func- 
tion in actual performance without consciousness of it as a specific 
act of skill. That is, it gives credence to the school of music teachers 
which maintains that the singer should be conscious of the specific 
act and the means of its control at the time that the skill is ac- 
quired as an isolated act; it also gives credence to the opposite 
school which maintains that in the artistic attitude of singing or 
playing the performer should not center attention upon any of the 
countless specific skills involved but should enjoy the freedom of the 
artistic mood, all the specific skills having been automatized. In 
other words, one school is right at the training stage and the other 
is right at the stage of artistic performance. If this is admitted, 
th^e should be no conflict between the two. 

v This distinction between attitude in the learning stage and the 
attitude in artistic performance is a most fundamental and radical 
contribution of experimental psychology. It rests upon the applica- 
tion of the laws of learning in the acquisition of skills in order to 
furnish the tools of musical performance which, when integrated 
and thoroughly automatized, are thereby removed from the field 
of conscious effort. It thus provides an essential condition which 
will make it possible for the inspired composer or artist in musical 
performance to live his music unhampered by technique and acting 
spontaneously on his inspiration. 

The instruments used in training are on the market and, there- 
fore, need not be explained in detail here. Only enough will be 
indicated to show the general character, purpose, and principle on 
which they work. 

In the development of musical skills by instrumental aids, our 
problem is again vastly simplified by recognition of the fact that 
we do not need many instruments. What we do need is convenient, 
observable methods of showing pitch, intensity, time, and timbre. 
From these basic measures countless complex forms of skill may be 
exhibited and measured. To illustrate, if we have a simple and 
direct way of observing pitch performance in voice or instrument, 
then that instrument can be used for the study of all the pitch skills. 
The same is true about the other three basic instruments. It, there- 
fore, becomes a relatively simple problem to equip a music studio 
for the training of musical skills by instrumental aids. In this chap- 
ter only a few suggestions can be made in regard to the significance 


and nature of the procedure. A fundamental requirement in the 
selection of instruments is that the tone shall be observable im- 
mediately and in detail at the moment of actual musical 


The tonoseope. 146 The tonoscope serves this purpose within a 
wide range of pitch intonation. It works on the principle of moving 
pictures, and the pitch performance may be seen immediately. If 
desired, it may be recorded either by the performer or by an 
experimenter; that is, the singer sees himself sing, the violinist 
sees his pitch performance. By this visual aid, he may correct his 
intonation and thereby refine his hearing of pitch and acquire 
precision in the intonation. 

The tone is produced on the principle of moving pictures, and 
the frequency is read on the principle that when a tone corresponds 
to a certain frequency of dots, that line of dots will stand still, 
whereas, all other lines will appear as moving. The screen covers 
one octave and reads directly in tenths of a tone; but if a tone is 
steady, such as that of a tuning fork, it can be read with accuracy to 
a hundredth of a tone. The octave above and the octave below the 
one represented on the screen may be read as well as the one on 
the screen. The notes for the octave are indicated in the chromatic 
scale. For the purpose of standards to be sung or played, a phono- 
graph record may be placed at the top of the instrument and the 
pitch to be reproduced is carried over a head receiver to the per- 
former. Since this record is fixed to the tonoscope, it synchronizes 
the standard tone with the tone that is to be produced perfectly.* 

Significant measures. In studying the sounding of a keynote, a 
musical scale, or an actual melody, the performer simply looks at 
the instrument and immediately sees the character of his perform- 
ance and then has the opportunity of trying to correct or improve 
upon this at will. But, if he wishes to record his performance, he 
can obtain three standard measures which can be treated statis- 
tically in permanent form. The first of these is the average error. 

* This instrument is marketed by the C. H Stoelting Company, 424 N. Homan Ave., 
Chicago, 111 Since the instrument is accompanied by a complete manual of instructions and 
suggestions for exercises, it is not necessary to go into such details here. 


Suppose that he tries to sing the interval of a major third. He makes 
a number of trials and records the actual error in terms of hun- 
dredths of a tone. The average of a series of 10 or more trials will be 
a significant figure. This is usually designated as A.E. (average 
error). The tendency to sharp or flat is given in terms of C.E. 
(constant error) and the measure of reliability of the average error 
as well as the constant error is given in terms of S.D. (standard 

Representative measures. Countless varieties of measures 
of precision in pitch intonation in singing and playing may be 
made with the tonoscope, both for the purpose of diagnosis and as 
material for practice and measurement of gain by training series. 
As a rule the experimenter should set up a measure to fit the pur- 
pose that he has in hand. However, as a unit battery of measures 
for general survey of ability, and as material for general practice, 
the following three are proposed as basic and representative of 
pitch control: 

1. Reproduction of a tone. Reproduce the standard tone as heard 
in the receiver. When all three measures are used, only a few trials 
need be taken on this because the same situation is repeated in 
other exercises, and, if there is need for other data, this item may be 
taken from each of the following tests in which the standard tone is 
reproduced and run into a single composite score. 

In all these exercises, women sing the standard tone as it is 
heard; namely, middle C; and men sing, as is conventional in 
music, an octave lower. 

2. Singing intervals. 

a. The major scale. Sing or play the major scale in C upward, 
beginning with the standard tone. 

b. Intervals in major scale. Sing or play the intervals in the 
natural scale, key of C, separately, thus, do-re, do-mi, do-fa, etc. 

c. Melody. Sing or play the first three measures of America.* 

3. Fine shading of pitch. Sing or play the small intervals as 
played on a phonographic record, f For beginners and average 
performers use the record A, which contains large intervals, 8 to 

* For example, in America these might be the notes for the following syllables My, 
'its, land, -ty, o/, and sing. This is for the purpose of facilitating reading. The singer should 
not know this fact. For good singers it may be desirable to take a more difficult melody such 
as Annie Laurie or Drink to me only with thine eyes. 

f Measures of Musical Talent, "Sense of Pitch," No. 1A, Record 53004-D. 



30 ~; for fine performers use the record B, which contains steps 
from 12 to 5 ~. For principles of fine shading in pitch see Miles. gz 

This procedure is a great improvement over the older method of 
having a performer simply sharp or flat a note by minimum amount. 
It gives an index to ability to shade the pitch by a small interval 
and to know the size of that interval. 

The transfer of training from the tonoscope to the later musical 
situation. It has been shown in the University of Iowa Laboratory 
that training the ear by aid of the eye results in rapid improvement 
in correct pitch intonation and that the training with the instru- 
ment transfers to actual performance without the aid of the eye. 
For example, if a student takes remedial exercises with the tono- 

Key Third Fifth Octave 

FIG. 1. Transfer of training in pitch intonation. Showing how training for pitch 
intonation by the aid of the eye improves this skill and that the skill so acquired transfers 
to singing and playing without the instrument. (Knock. 61 ) 

scope, correcting his intonation at each trial, this permanently 
improves the control by hearing so that a large part of the gain 
thus made will be retained when he sings without the tonoscope aid. 
Sample results for a training series are shown in Fig. 1, indicating 
the amount of gain in special training and the transfer of this gain to 
actual singing. 

These relationships would vary with a large number of factors, 
such as the original degree of accuracy of the singer, his personal 
equation as a learner, the interval practiced, the relation of this to 
previous training, and numerous other factors. But the figure may 
be taken as a fair sample of what training the ear with the aid of the 
eye can accomplish and the significance of this for musical per- 
formance is, of course, strikingly clear as applied to accuracy of 
intonation in singing and, by inference, to accuracy in playing 
instruments in which the performer controls the pitch. 


In order to show the development and findings in a specific 
case, Table I is presented. It is a record of the violin student who 
had a good ear but was reported as unsatisfactory in pitch control. 


(pitch discrimination, percentile rank 70) 

Preliminary Final test 

Average errors (A. E.) A E. % rank S.D. A.E. %rank S.D. 

Standard keynote . . . 22 7 21 01 99 01 

Scale 10 47 21 02 100 02 

Major interval 17 9 12 03 90 02 

Melodies . 11 25 03 03 93 01 

Average 14 23 11 0.02 95 02 

Preliminary Final test 

Averages for the intervals of all exercises: A.E. C.E. S.D. A.E. C.E. S.D. 

Keynote 11 11 06 00 00 00 

Second 13 -0 06 04 02 -0 01 01 

Third 20 -0 03 05 01 00 00 

Fourth 17 -0 17 08 12 -0 12 03 

Fifth 12 -0 12 03 02 02 01 

Sixth 10 -0 10 10 02 -0 01 01 

Seventh 32 -0 32 09 01 01 01 

Octave 05 -0 05 02 01 -0 01 01 

A.E fine shading test 19 09 15 07 01 02 

A E Average error; C E. Constant error; S.D. Standard deviation. Minus sign 
denotes flat. 

Table I shows his average error and constant error in the 
preliminary record to be poor. He was then given 10 half-hour 
periods of training with the tonoscope, and this was followed by 
a final test of performance without this visual aid. He made 
marked improvement, and this improvement is carried over, since 
the final test consisted in performance on new material and without 
the visual aid. 

One of the most significant features in training series of this 
kind is the fact that the correction is made very early, almost 
immediately, in the training series; so that the main advantage of 
continuing the training for 10 days in persons whose pitch dis- 
crimination is satisfactory is the fixing of the correction by habitua- 
tion. In other words, inaccuracy in control of intonation is usually 
due to either ignorance of interval or slovenliness of the ear. Both 
can be corrected almost instantly under the proper spur, namely, 
that of seeing his actual error. 

General training may be given upon the three measures de- 
scribed above, namely, the reproducing of a standard tone, the 
singing of musical intervals, and fine shading in pitch. Choice of 


material in these three fields may be made to suit one's taste; but 
in general, drill on these three fundamentals should serve the 
purpose of ear training and motor control. Indeed, whatever 
specific training is to be undertaken, it would be well to precede 
it with training in each of these three factors as they are indicated. 

The chief purpose of these directions is to explain the method 
by which remedial training may be instituted: (1) for specific 
training in pitch control at an early stage as a part of the ear-train- 
ing course; (2) for the correction of any recognized fault in singing 
or playing true pitch; and (3) as a means of mastering artistic 
deviations from true pitch. 

Remedial training for specific defects. The principal faults of 
intonation occur in the following factors : 

1. General failure to secure true pitch. Remedy: Drill on 
varied exercises in pitch intonation. 

2. Sharp or flat of the principal tone in general or in some 
specific region. Remedy: Practice exercises with the tonoscope 
where the fault exists until the ear control has been corrected and 
the fault eliminated, 

3. Faulty attack, mainly slovenliness in dragging gradually 
into the tone from above or below. Remedy: Practice by the aid 
of the eye until the tone can be reached in a clear-cut attack. This is 
a preliminary requirement to artistic deviation in attack. 

4. Faulty release. The same situation applies as in attack. 

5. Progressive change. Gradual sharping or flatting habitually 
in a sustained tone. Remedy: Practice on actual musical tones or 
phrases in which the difficulty occurs. 

6. Specific tendencies to sharp or flat; as with a loud tone or a 
soft tone or with certain vowels. Remedy: Specific corrective work 
in actual situations. 

Artistic control. When we record artistic performance of singers 
or players with great precision photographically, a mass of devia- 
tions in pitch intonation shows up. Many of them are, of course, 
merely faulty intonation due to error or incapacity in performance; 
but many have artistic value. One group of these represents 
artistic intention. Another, a much larger class, represents 
psychophysic tendencies for intonation of interval that are 
produced unconsciously by the performer but yet serve artistic 
purpose in the melodic situation or in the modification of tone 
quality. The collection and classification of samples of this latter 


class is a sort of natural-history procedure in the psychology of 
music studio and presents a very fertile field for investigation.* 

Reliability and validity. The accuracy of reading will improve 
with practice very quickly if engaged in with well-directed and 
intensive effort. Taking the act as a whole, including both errors 
of performer and errors of readers, it has been found that a trained 
experimenter with good singers gets a correlation of .94, .01 by 
the method of chance halves in the reproduction of a tone. 

It is natural to ask what is the validity of these results in terms 
of relationship to accuracy in singing and playing. The answer is 
that each act is taken out of the actual singing or playing situation 
and is specific. The only question then is whether or not the per- 
formances here selected are such as actually function in music. 
The answer is self-evident. The ability to reproduce a standard 
tone, the ability to sing intervals, and ability to make fine shadings 
in pitch are fundamental units of action in music. But are these 
the most representative samples? Insofar as we know, they are. 
There is no end to the number of variants that could be introduced. 
The conventional statistical method of checking of specific measure- 
ments against somebody's judgment is not in place here. 

The above presentation of the theory and the means of pro- 
cedure in training for pitch intonation is offered as a model on which 
corresponding training exercises are built for the other three ele- 
ments in tone production. A brief reference to each one may be in 
place. * 


But little has been done in the study of intensity control in 
spite of the fact that this is one of the four fundamental elements 

* One important element of discipline in the type of training herein described, lies in the 
fact that after preliminary instructions, the student may be assigned the task of training 
by himself, singing or playing into the instrument and seeing immediately the error which 
he has to correct and thus engage in an intensive drill in self -correction by aid of the instru- 
ment. This serves two purposes. It saves the time of the instructor and creates a situation 
for much finer objective recognition of errors than the teacher can set without the instru- 
ment. The teacher sets a training task, and, when the student is satisfied that he has 
mastered that, he may present himself for checking out. 

In this free use of the instrument by the student lies one of its greatest values for 
training. Like the piano, this instrument may be available for anyone who needs to practice 
and, as in the case of the piano, the student practices on exercises at his stage of learning. 
Wherever he is conscious of need for the measurement of attainment or guidance in achieve- 
ment in the control of pitch, he resorts to this visual aid and the adequate use of this oppor- 
tunity becomes a routine part of musical instruction. 


in the world of musical performance, especially in the phrasing, or 
what is generally called "playing with feeling." One reason for this 
lies in the fact that for pitch and time we have absolute standards 
and deviations from these are readily checked and noted by teachers 
and performers. The need of training in this field is, however, just 
as great as in pitch or time. This is especially true as regards the 
necessity of isolating this factor and making it a special object 
of attack in the acquisition of musical skill. Improvement will lie 
largely in the consciousness of differences in intensity. The execu- 
tion of the differences is different for voice and each of the 

Reading of such an excellent recent book as Klein's Great 
Women Singers I Have Known is irritating to the psychologist on 
account of the loose, airy, and emotional terminology that the 
writer uses. In all that has been written on phrasing in music, 
there seems to be very little embodying any scientific conception 
of the dynamics involved. We have the terms "loud" and "soft," 
and all their cognates, equivalents, and shades; but nothing is 
said in regard to what constitutes loudness and only a little about 
its mastery. The time has come for analysis of the problem into 
its constituent factors, the measurement of capacity and the basing 
of training for the acquisition of the dynamic skills in music upon 
these ascertained factors. 

Indeed, the whole problem of dynamic aspect of the esthetics 
of music must be reviewed to show (1) what are the media for the 
expression of beauty through intensity, (2) what are the prevailing 
types of error, and (3) what new principles of art in this field can 
be discovered by the objective method. Basic to all these is the 
technical mastery of dynamic control. 

The intensity meter. There are various forms of so-called output 
meters available for this purpose. The types of meters used in 
radio studios are serviceable for training exercises. The intensity 
of any sound in a particular position before the microphone is 
registered in terms of decibels. 

Three types of exercises are regarded as basic: (1) The reproduc- 
tion of a given intensity either for a single tone or for a given 
period of musical performance. (2) A capacity for fine shading in 
intensity. For this purpose the phonograph record for intensity in 
the Measures of Musical Talent may be played in front of the 
microphone, setting up a definite series of degrees of difference in 


loudness. The ability to sing or play these differences in intensity 
in all the pairs of tones is employed as a measure of achievement 
and as a means of training for skill in the control of intensity. 
(3) Upper and lower limits in intensity in good tone production 
under specific conditions. Thus, one may take these exercises to 
produce a good tone very softly or with maximum loudness. 


There are various ways of testing one's ability to keep metro- 
nomic time. The simplest way is to use a pencil as a baton and tap 
the time with a metronome. One can then easily hear to what 
extent the two clicks coincide; but, since the ability to vary from 
metronomic time, especially as in rhythmic phrasing, a measure of 
rhythmic action in phrasing is more to the point. 


R. H. Seashore's rhythm meter 158 is essentially a phonograph, 
a disk with attachments on a turntable in which contacts can be 
made at any points on the circumference. By this means, any 
particular rhythm within the period of revolution of the disk can 
be set up. The performer is asked to reproduce or follow this 
rhythm for a minute or two, tapping on a telegraph key, so as 
to make the telegraph click coincide with the stimulus. For rough 
exercises in training, mere hearing of the degree of deviation is 
sufficient; but, for fine work, records of the standard and the 
reproduction are made with a stylus on paper placed on the 

The greatest value in this exercise lies in the training of the 
ear for precision in the hearing of a rhythmic pattern and the 
coordination of that with the actual performance. There is an 
immediate check for the ear and the eye at the time of the per- 
formance, and a particular rhythmic control can be established in 
a very short series of organized exercises. 


In a series of experiments on remedial training in musical skills, 
Henderson**" performed the following experiment in the develop- 
ment of precision in rhythmic action. He set up a specific rhythmic 
pattern on the Seashore rhythm meter 158 and gave intensive train- 



ing of half-hour periods for five days and recorded the measure of 
the performance for each day. 

Figure 2 tells the story. The group consisted of nine unselected 
students of piano in the school of music. The numbers at the 
bottom indicate the days; the preliminary test is given as the 
starting point. Achievement is measured in terms of average 
deviation in the scale at the left, in which zero would mean perfect 
performance to within 0.01 of a second in metronomic time. The 
mean, showing improvement for the entire group, is indicated by 
a heavy line. 




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i * 












-X 1 






r J 




r o 
























































/> 2.30 






















x " 
















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Fia. 2. The effect of training for precision in rhythmic action. (Henderson** ) 

The graph shows that: (1) They started at different levels of 
achievement. In this rating there is but little agreement with their 
classification as piano students. (2) Each had his days of ups and 
downs due to a variety of conditions which modified achievement. 
The subject represented by the lowest curve had a general reputa- 
tion for being an erratic student; but in three extra days of training, 
she made definite progress over the fifth day's performance. (3) 
On the whole, the group made distinctive progress during the five 
days as is illustrated by the heavy line giving the mean performance 
of the group for each day. The curves rises from 2.50 in the pre- 
liminary rating to 1.75 in the fifth day. 


One may wonder if any ordinary musical exercises on rhythmic 
precision in piano playing ever achieved such marked progress in so 
short a time. What happened in this training we may designate as a 
development of ear-hand coordination; but other experiments show 
that the most significant thing that happened was the whipping up 
of the ear for precision in hearing. This ability is one which, of 
course, transfers bodily to the playing of an instrument. That such 
transfer to actual piano playing took place, in both metronomic 
playing and phrasing, was verified in a tentative way. The student 
had become precision-conscious for rhythm. 


This is a most important field for training, especially in voice, 
where so much depends on voice quality and knowing when to 
attain it. There are various forms of instruments for the projecting 
of the sound wave. A satisfactory instrument for this purpose is 
rather expensive and difficult to manage, but well worth while if 
training the control of tone quality is taken seriously. There are 
two types of instruments: one is represented by the cathode ray 
oscillograph, which projects the exact form of the wave on a large 
scale; the other is a mechanical harmonic analyzer, which shows, 
in a steady tone, the number of overtones present and their dis- 
tribution and relative intensities. With either of these instruments, 
it is possible to have standard tones of recognized good quality set 
up as standards which the student is required to reproduce. 

With the oscillograph countless exercises may be set up, 
for example, for the control of vowel quality, training in a particu- 
lar register, or exercises in the development of a desirable per- 
formance region. 



Throughout this volume emphasis has been laid upon the possi- 
bility and necessity of analyzing and isolating specific factors 
which may be studied under control. The organization of researches 
and the cumulative organization of discovered facts has been 
immensely facilitated by the recognition of the taproots and the 
family tree for each of the four elements of musical traits. Enough 
has been done to show that faulty performance is due in very 
large part to sluggish or inadequately critical control by the ear 


and that this may be improved or sharpened for any specific factor 
in very brief training for a specific skill. The cumulative integration 
of such skills in the automatisms built up in the pupil furnish a 
necessary control of the organism for artistic performance. Famili- 
arity with the analysis of the constituents of the musical medium, 
with the pupil's fortes and faults, capacities and abilities, and with 
the scientific language of music places the pupil in a position of 
both intelligent and artistic command of the situation; and, for 
the teacher, all these stages will contribute toward the goal of 
making music teachable. 



ALL fine arts are creative. In this sense, they are also practical; 
\. something is done to serve a purpose. This is eminently true 
of music. The composer creates, the performer re-creates and 
interprets, and the musical listener responds musically within the 
limits of his creative power. Esthetics deals with the theory of the 
nature of art, in this case, the theory of music. The great musicians 
pursue both theory and practice; but the practice far outruns the 
theory, because the work of genuine creation always comes from 
self-expression rather than through the deliberate application of 
rules. In the musical mood, theory must always be relegated to the 
subconscious through which it operates automatically, if once 
mastered. Furthermore, the musician's energies, both in training 
and in the professional life, are so deeply engrossed in the practical 
aspects of his work of creation, re-creation, and interpretation that 
he must delegate the scientific problems proper to other specialists. 

Musical esthetics falls into a number of stages; primarily, 
physics, physiology, psychology, anthropology, philosophy, and 
metaphysics. Let us consider these in turn. 

Music, as rendered by voice or instrument, consists of sound 
waves. Physics deals with the nature and the laws of these sound 
waves, the characteristics of their structure, and the laws of their 
propagation. To the musician, these facts and laws of physics are 
matters of common knowledge and are taken for granted. However 
well informed the musician may be in the science of structure and 
propagation of sound waves, he rightly accepts these facts on the 
authority of the physicist. 



Physiology deals with those aspects of the human organism 
which are involved in the sensory and central aspects of hearing, 
the central and motor mechanisms for tone production, and the 
organic basis of musical emotion involving both the central and 
the autonomic nervous systems and both the smooth and the 
striated muscular systems. However well informed the musician 
may be, for example, about the function of the inner ear or the 
function of the adrenal glands in strong emotion, he accepts these 
facts on the authority of the physiologist. Indeed, current esthetics 
is largely physiological in theory. 

Psychology aims to describe and explain musical experience 
and musical behavior; it investigates the nature of musical talent; 
it analyzes the sensory responses to music; it traces the human 
drives, which we used to call instincts and impulses, that crave 
music and find their outlet in music; it examines feeling, emotion, 
and musical thought processes, both functionally and structurally; 
it traces the development of the musical mind from infancy 
through maturation and training. One is at once impressed with the 
appalling task which this inceptive science has assumed for itself 
and how undeveloped the work is within this field. Yet, however 
familiar the musician may be with the experimental findings about 
the functioning of the musical mind, he looks to the psychologist 
for the further exploration and organization of knowledge in this 

Musical anthropology, that is, the ethnic history of music, 
deals with the origin and evolution of music in the race. It treats 
of the development of instruments, of musical forms, and the 
vastly varied roles of music as progressively unfolded in rising 
racial cultures. This aspect of history involves a high order of 
scientific technique, often closely associated with archaeology. 
However versed the musician may be in the theories and the 
established facts of musical anthropology, he trusts the anthro- 
pologist, trained in music, to conduct further research. 

These four aspects physics, physiology, psychology, and 
anthropology furnish scientific approaches to the theory of beauty 
in music and, conversely, also the theory of ugliness. It is in the 
light of these sciences that we may look for the progressive develop- 
ment of our concept of the nature and power of beauty in music. 
These sciences are so interrelated and interdependent that in 
dealing with the subject of esthetics it is profitable to treat them as 


a single unit. Hence, we have a tendency to speak of psychophysics, 
psychophysiology, psychobiology, and psychogenetics as in many 
respects replacing the term "psychology." 

However, it falls largely to the lot of the psychologist to inte- 
grate, coordinate, and apply findings from these four specific fields. 
The psychologist does not restrict himself to the study of the mind 
but takes as his field the behavior of the human organism as a 
whole in the musical situation. The psychology of music, in this 
broad sense of musical esthetics, might more appropriately be called 
the "science of music." The advantage of calling it "psychology of 
music" is that, at the present time, it places responsibility and 
initiative for the work of integration which would otherwise fall 
for want of a sponsor. In the near future, the science of music, as 
such, is likely to take possession of the field in its own rights. 

In like manner, we may speak of the psychology of musical 
esthetics, the science of musical esthetics, or possibly, merely 
musical esthetics. 

Beyond these scientific approaches, and, indeed, long anticipat- 
ing them, we have two other approaches, namely, the philosophical 
and the metaphysical. Man approached the problem of philosophy 
and metaphysics long before he acquired the tools of science. Music 
has its roots in the most primitive savage life and has evolved 
through countless culture strata. Throughout the ages the un- 
tutored primitive mind has asked : What is music ? What can it do ? 
Where does it come from? Where does it go? As philosophy has 
developed in modern times, its principal interest has come to center 
around the theory of values as a specific esthetic problem. In this, 
the philosophical technique has been brought to bear upon the 
progressively evolving concepts. These concepts are derived from 
three sources: (1) primitive impulses and intuitions; (2) gradually 
emerging scientific findings in concrete situations; and (3) working 
theories which are the direct outgrowth of the practice of the art. 

To primitive man, music came from the gods. It was the 
spirits that performed. Musical inspiration was revelation. Music 
was an offering acceptable to the gods. Philosophers, throughout 
the ages, have progressively rationalized, attenuated, and modern- 
ized such impulses and hunches, which well up in all cultural levels. 
The spiritistic conception of music still plays a dominant role in 
mystical philosophy and theories of music. With the dawn of 
the scientific age, the philosopher turned his attention upon the 


concepts that crop out from the specific sciences. The critique of 
such concepts is a large part of the business of philosophy today. 
Then the philosopher must take cognizance of the more immediate 
experience of the musician in which he joins the musician in the 
immediate evaluation of experience. Philosophical criticism has 
tended to center on the effort to find a single unitary principle, 
which would account for the nature and function of beauty, and 
thus explain the nature and purpose of music. This, I think, has 
resulted in a succession of failures, and the philosopher of the future 
will not attempt that again. 

Metaphysics deals with such things as the theory of ultimate 
reality, the nature of knowledge, and theories of origins. It asks, 
for example, What is mind of which the power of music is a mani- 
festation? What is the nature of that knowledge of which musical 
inspiration is an aspect? How has the musical mind come into 
existence ? 

These are eternal questions, tantalizingly interesting, but their 
solution is deferred from age to age. Yet, theories on each of these 
issues underlie scientific approaches, although usually in purely 
naive form, often an antiquated, purely materialistic, or a purely 
idealistic, approach to the subject. 

Practically, metaphysics and philosophy proper are not sepa- 
rated, and they are not marked off in sharp distinction from science, 
on the one hand, and common sense, on the other. In fact, the 
historical development of any question, such as the nature of 
musical value, arises as the main question and soon takes on both 
metaphysical and supernatural interpretations. These are criticized 
in philosophy and gradually analyzed and clarified by scientific 
methods; this done, the information tends to be regarded as a 
matter of common knowledge or common sense. 

If philosophy be defined as the best thoughts of the greatest 
men on the most important questions of life, then philosophy has 
made the largest contribution to musical esthetics and this con- 
tribution has come, in large part, from men who were at the same 
time musicians and philosophers. Yet, with the coming in of the 
scientific approach, with the techniques available for scientific 
investigation, and with the philosophized attitude of the scientist, 
the problem of esthetics has become almost entirely a problem of 
science. It is not likely that philosophy will make any great 
contribution to esthetics, for it deals with facts at second hand. 


Only as philosophy and metaphysics wield the weapon of superior- 
techniques in constructive and creative criticism will they make 
any vital contribution to musical esthetics. The rehashing of semi- 
scientific knowledge, under the name of philosophy in esthetics, 
has had its day. The esthetics of the past is giving way to the 
science of the art, both in investigation and in teaching on the 

Let us, therefore, make bold to attempt a rough outline of the 
general scheme of musical esthetics from the scientific point of 


For the purpose of classification and description, the coming 
musical esthetics, which is based upon experimental science, may 
be divided into four aspects, namely, the musical medium, the 
musical form, the musical message, and the musical response. Any 
classification of this kind is, however, a compromise and does not 
represent sharp separation of parts. Indeed, there is an intricate 
dovetailing and overlapping among these four members. This 
classification, however, has an advantage over all the classifications 
extant in the literature of philosophers and artists in that it is 
based upon objectively verifiable grounds and follows the method 
of natural history of collecting observable and verifiable facts and 
arranging them in natural order. 

The musical medium. The musical medium is the music proper 
as executed in the form of physical sounds which have their 
physiological and mental correlates. Esthetics accepts the scientific 
approach to the medium as physical, psychophysical, physiological, 
and psychological. Instead of assuming that millions of phenomena 
of musical sounds are ethereal and unclassifiable, not reducible 
to law and order, it begins at once to put order into chaos by setting 
questions to nature under control. It proceeds on the assumption 
that these phenomena are knowable if we have the patience and 
skill to search for them; it discredits the armchair procedure of 
merely thinking and talking about them; it distrusts traditions, 
vogues, hobbies, and mystical and theological hunches. Instead 
of beginning with the pinnacle, it starts from the ground, building 
its structure patiently, block by block, even realizing that the 
structure will never be completed. It will never give us the 
dreamed-of theory of beauty but will progressively enrich our 


insight into the nature and structure of beauty with the growing 
appreciation of the infinite richness of possibilities. 

It begins with the classification of the physical characteristics 
of the sound wave and carries this classification through the 
physical sounds, as mediated through the physiological organism, 
as responded to by the psychological organism in sensory experi- 
ence, and as reproduced and elaborated in memory, imagination, 
thought, and emotional drives in their marvelous possibilities of 
intricate relationships. 

But let us not delude ourselves into thinking that the situation 
is simple or solved. If there were a one-to-one relationship between 
the physical sound and the mental experience or response which 
it elicits, our problem would be simplified. However, such relation- 
ships scarcely if ever exist. The mental process never corresponds 
exactly to the physical event, and it is in this situation that the 
real problem of the psychologist begins in the task of discovering 
law and order in the deviations of the mental event from the physi- 
cal event. This leads us first to the staggering realization that in 
musical art, "All is illusion." Without the blessing of normal 
illusions, musical art would be hopelessly stunted. Our profoundest 
appreciations of nature and of art are detachments from the 
physically exact and constitute a synthesis through the medium 
of normal illusions. But the composer, the performer, and the 
listener all deal with the physical medium and all the theories of 
form and interpretation of message and response must in the long 
run be grounded upon a true cognizance of the nature of this 
medium and its possible roles. 

The musical form. The musician is primarily concerned with the 
nature of musical form, the organization of its art principles, its 
development, and the theory of art objectives. Thus, musical form 
deals with the different genres of musical composition, the rules for 
composition and interpretation, and the theory as to the nature 
of the esthetic appeal; in all cases, how to do this and that, and the 
reason for it. It deals, for example, with sonata forms, with the rules 
of harmony in the execution of such forms, and the theories under- 
lying and justifying these forms and rules. 

The problem is primarily that of the composer; but the com- 
poser, like the architect, is at the mercy of available materials, 
competent workmanship, and adequate resources of all kinds. 
He is usually limited by the conventions, vogues, and culture levels 


of the day, by his mastery of techniques, and most of all, by the 
nature and limitations of his creative genius. 

The esthetics of musical form may be reduced largely to the 
cumulative body of practical principles of artistic structure, 
the interpretation of these in terms of musical objectives, and the 
theory of the nature of the beauty involved. Historically, the 
esthetics of form is the main and almost the entire body of historical 
treatises on musical esthetics, and the development and validation 
of principles for composition represent the best contribution that 
the musician can make toward the scientific foundation of the art. 
The laws of harmony, for example, are somewhat analogous to the 
laws of philology, and philology is recognized in the sisterhood of 
sciences. To the musician, musical form is the primary issue 
to which the medium, the message, and the response play but a 
secondary role. It is in this field that musical theory has made 
the most notable advances; it is in this field also that the musician 
has held and must continue to assume larger and larger responsi- 
bility for initiative in the building of musical esthetics; it is the 
creative work. 

The scientist, however, makes his entry into this field by critique 
of concepts and by reducing aspects of musical form to concrete 
issues which may be treated exhaustively in the laboratory for 
verification, criticism, and adaptation, and even for the develop- 
ment of new forms. Such problems as the analysis of scales, of 
consonance and dissonance, and of rhythm, are problems of form 
which may properly come up for review in the laboratory at this 


The musical message is that esthetic experience be it feeling, 
ideation, impulse, craving, wish, or inspiration which the com- 
poser in the first instance and the interpreter at the next level desire 
to convey to the audience through the form given by the musical 
medium. In the same manner, the message may be regarded as that 
experience or interpretation which the listener arrives at from hear- 
ing the rendition, from scanning the score, or from reminiscent 
memory in vivid and constructive imagination. The esthetics 
of the message, therefore, becomes the psychological analysis, 
interpretation, and explanation of the musical experience of the 
sender and the receiver of music, in terms of content. 


Musical literature is replete with speculations in regard to the 
nature and origin of the musical message and the possibility and 
means of its transmission. Here lies the battleground for those who 
contend for pure music and those who argue for descriptive music. 
The moot question between these two camps can be settled only 
by a psychological analysis of the character of the musical message 
in the mind of the originator and the limitations upon its transmis- 
sion. The award will not be in favor of one party but will give new 
and richer meaning to both sides. 

The composer or performer who desires to transmit an experi- 
ence of pure feeling places himself in a receptive mood in which the 
musical material takes the form that satisfies his mood spon- 
taneously. He takes the artistic attitude, which is radically opposed 
to the psychological attitude; the former is the attitude of abandon 
in which he feels his inspiration and allows it to develop in his own 
organism under favorable conditions without regard for rule, 
meaning, or the technique of analysis. The message is to him an 
inspiration, a sort of surrender to pure feeling without intentional 
meaning. His feelings are molded in pure tone or tone experience, 
and the musical material and form take the shape of a stimulus for 
feeling of the beauty of tone in itself, aside from formal art or 

On the other hand, in program music, the originator attempts to 
use musical figures which convey concrete ideas that serve as a 
sort of idol, stilt, or skeleton to which the musical feeling is at- 
tached. Such themes aim to portray moonlight, the lover, contest, 
the forces of nature. In addition to the feeling of pure beauty, which 
is of but doubtful existence, the message is supposed to convey a 
certain degree of objectivity intended to favor the immediacy of 
the experience in the listener. Thus, in the musical description of 
moonlight, the attempt is to demonstrate that music can be 
a language which conveys ideas and pictures of objects that arouse 
the feeling revealed in the tone conveyed in music. The short- 
comings of this type of language are notorious. It is often used as a 
substitute for words and the real psychological justification for it is 
that, if the listener is eye-minded and sees the topic announced in 
the name of the selection or from the beginning begins to read into 
it any concrete situation that comes from his own mind, the feeling 
is enhanced by the ease with which we experience pleasure or 


displeasure in the actual presence of an object as distinguished from 
an abstract situation. 

The problem of understanding and explaining the nature of the 
process of musical invention lies within this field of the message. 
How does the composer get his ideas ? The answer to that question 
presents the most fascinating aspect of biography and autobiog- 
raphy of the great musicians and is one of the most fascinating in 
musical esthetics. The account of the birth throes of musical ideas, 
the ecstasy, the emotional upset, the inhibitions, the influence of 
world view, the effect upon personality, the outcropping of genius ; 
such are psychological aspects in the study of the genesis of the 
musical message. This is strikingly exemplified in the later period of 
Beethoven's composition. 

More commonplace aspects of the same problem are those which 
describe how the composer proceeds in composing. For example, 
does he get a spontaneous flash image, which gives him the theme 
or a key to the further development, and then work this out 
according to rule in calmer moments? Does he compose by the 
instrument, or does he compose every detail of the piano or 
orchestral score without any aid of instruments ? In answer to such 
questions, we find an interesting key to the character of the 
musical genius and personality traits. 

Another fascinating problem in this field is the question as to 
whether or not it is necessary for the singer actually to feel the 
emotions which he portrays. The old demand for a "Yes" or a 
"No" answer has lost its meaning, and in its place we now inquire 
as to what are the comparative bodily and mental reverberations of 
emotion in the musical experience and, in the portrayal of the 
experience, under what conditions these may vary. 

The musical response. The same line of thought that has been 
outlined for the message applies, in a general way, to the interpreta- 
tion of the response. When the heat from coal is converted into 
electrical energy, a large amount of energy is lost; so, when a mes- 
sage is transmitted from the sender to the listener, a great deal of 
the message is lost on the ground of inadequacy in sending, 
inadequacy of medium, or shortcomings in the receiver. Hearing of 
music is subject to vast limitations; among these are the limitations 
of musical talent or aptitude, musical information, musical skills, 
general intelligence, temperament, and countless other factors. 


On the other hand, the listener may put a great deal more into the 
music than was originally intended or is actually present in the 
musical form, as, for example, the vivacious responses to primitive 
tom-toms or to present-day ragtime. Fundamental to this issue is 
the fact that there is not a one-to-one relationship between music as 
performed and music as experienced. The hearing of music is a 
response to a stimulus. It has been said that what a man shall see in 
a landscape depends on what he is; so in music. The ideas and feel- 
ings which constitute the response are the creation of the listener 
in his own image. "To bring back the wealth of the Indies, you 
must take out the wealth of the Indies." 

Such, in brief, is the outline map of the territory covered by 
musical esthetics from the modern scientific point of view. The 
interaction of the artist and the scientist creates new situations, 
asks new questions, and promises new solutions. While it is hoped 
that the scientific approach to music may be productive of a great 
enrichment of our understanding and control of the power of music, 
it is equally true that the creative work of the musician and the 
enlightening interpretation and critical observation of the practice 
of the art will contribute greatly to the resources of science and 
will reverberate deeply in our philosophy and attitude toward 


(In the October, 1937, issue of the Music Educators Journal, Professor Mursell 
has set forth his point of view in regard to methods of evaluating musical talent. 
As his views are radically different from those presented in this volume, I take 
the liberty of quoting my reply in the December issue of the same journal in the 
hope that it may aid in clarifying the important issues involved.) 


One attitude toward this problem was expressed in the aggressive and lucid 
formulation by Professor Mursell in the last issue of this Journal. Accepting the 
courteous invitation of the editors, I take pleasure in giving my reaction, as one 
of the spokesmen for the opposite attitude and theory. 

His article should be before the reader in considering the validity of the 
arguments from the two sides on the basis of specific facts. He gives the key to his 
theory in one sentence. 

"There is only one satisfactory method of finding out whether the Seashore 
tests really measure musical ability; and that is to ascertain whether persons rating 
high or low or medium on these tests also rate high and low and medium in what 
one may call Musical behavior,' i.e., sight singing, playing the piano, getting 
through courses in theory and applied music, and the like." 

The idea seems to be this: any test or battery of tests must be validated 
against behavior and success in all musical situations "musical behavior," of 
the types that he mentions, "and the like/' If this is true, his entire argument can 
be maintained; if not, the whole argument based thereon falls. 

Let me designate his theory as the "omnibus theory" and mine as the "theory 
of specifics," somewhat on the analogy of the distinction between cure-alls and 
specifics in drugs. Since his view was stated specifically in part against my six 
Measures of Musical Talent, now available on phonograph records, I may simplify 
my argument in the limited space by speaking only of the issue involved in these 
six measures. 

1. They represent the theory of specific measurements insofar as they con- 
form to the two universal scientific sanctions, on the basis of which they were 
designed; namely, that (1) the factor under consideration must be isolated in 
order that we may know exactly what it is that we are measuring, and that () 
the conclusion must be limited to the factors under control. 

Each of these six tests purports to measure one of six capacities or abilities for 
the hearing of musical tones. There is little overlapping in these functions, and 
their isolation for the purpose of measurement has been criticized only in the case 
of one. In testing, we ask, specifically, "How good a sense of pitch, of intensity, of 
time, of rhythm, of consonance, of immediate tonal memory has this child?" 
The measurements are stated in terms of centile rank and may well be the first 
and most basic items in a musical profile which may have scores of other factors, 
quite independent and equally measurable. I deliberately coined the term "meas- 



lire" for this type of procedure in order to indicate its scientific character and 
distinguish it from the ordinary omnibus theory procedure in tests. 

2. They have been validated for what they purport to measure. This is an 
internal validation in terms of success in the isolation of the factor measured and 
the degree of control of all other factors in the measurement. When we have 
measured the sense of pitch, that is, pitch discrimination, in the laboratory \\ itli 
high reliability and we know that pitch was isolated from all other factors, no 
scientist will question but that we have measured pitch. There would be no object 
in validating against the judgment of even the most competent musician. We 
would not validate the reading on a thermometer against the judgment of a per- 
son sensitive to temperature. 

3. They are subject to criticism on the ground of relatively low reliability. 
But it must be remembered that the phonograph records are a makeshift for the 
purpose of securing a dragnet group test of an unselected population in a limited 
period of time and without training for observation. When such requirements are 
made, we cannot expect high reliability. We should also note that these recordings 
were designed when we had no precedents to go by for this type of instrument 
construction and when recording was relatively inferior to what it is today. Care- 
ful revision and re-recording is forthcoming. 

In actual testing it has been shown that all ratings in the upper half of the 
group may be counted as reliable for individual diagnosis. Those showing low 
ratings must always be reinvestigated before any conclusions can be based upon 
them. The ideal condition is, of course, to use the original measuring instruments 
of precision. For a responsible experimenter working with laboratory instruments 
testing a single subject under controlled conditions, the reliability of each of 
these six measures runs in the high 90's. I would, therefore, admit that the six 
measures at present are makeshifts but maintain that the principle of measure- 
ment for guidance involved is right and highly reliable. 

4. They should not be validated in terms of their showing on an omnibus 
theory or blanket rating against all musical behavior, including such diverse and 
largely unrelated situations as composition, directing, voice, piano, violin, 
saxophone, theory, administration, or drums; because there are hundreds of other 
factors which help to determine job analysis in each of such fields. 

In view of this, the ratings found in the formidable table compiled by Professor 
Mursell are unwarranted. I have been bombarded all these years by the omni- 
busists for this type of validation, but I have persistently refused action on the 
ground that it had little or no significance. The two experiments by Brennan in 
that table which emanated from my laboratory were performed during my year's 
leave of absence under the direction of an outsider inexperienced in testing and 
against my protests. 

For the same reason, I have always protested against the use of an average of 
these six measures, or any other number of the same kind and have insisted upon 
the principle of a profile in which each specific measure stands on its own. Again, 
for the same reason, I have insisted that even the most superficial rating for selec- 
tion or placement in musical training or adjustment should be based upon a care- 
ful case history and a reliable audition with the profile of measurements in hand. 
That has always been the procedure in the Eastman School. The experimenter 


works in the attitude of a physician who takes note of blood pressure, heart action, 
and metabolism. 

It is easy to show that we cannot find a good violinist who does not have a 
good sense of pitch; or a good pianist who does not have a good sense of intensity, 
which is the sine qua non of touch. But it does not follow that goodness in these 
capacities alone will make a good artist. 

Validation of pitch against the violinist's artistic performance in the actual 
musical situation would require that we correlate the sense of pitch with objective 
records of musical performance in pitch intonation or ability to hear artistic pitch 
deviation in the musical situation not with the countless other merits or demerits 
that the violinist may exhibit. The same principle applies to any other scientific 
measure ; such as the sense of intensity with artistic touch by the pianist. 

5. They play a primarily negative role in musical adjustment. If a child has 
the urge, the facilities, and the support for a particular type of achievement in 
music, the purpose of these measures is to see whether or not a given measure 
indicates any probable impediment. Great musicians may rate low in one or more 
of these six, and many other equally important capacities. The musical guide must 
use his head and consider whether high or low record in a specific capacity has 
any significance in the specific situation before him. 

There is, however, a positive use, as in dragnet surveys in a school system, a 
social center, a musical organization, or any other group in that a relatively good 
profile may lead to case history, further measurement, and auditions for the 
purpose of discovering and encouraging talent. My main point is that a good 
profile is not in itself a guaranty of musical success, but it may furnish a good 
lead and may become a basis for encouragement. 

6. Their application is relatively limited in terms of the self-imposed restric- 
tion that the conclusion shall be limited to the legitimate implications of the 
factors measured. Such sacrifice by limitation is one of the fundamental char- 
acteristics of scientific procedure. It does not permit of wholesale solutions and, 
therefore, cannot meet the demands of the popular clamor for a single index or 
universal practical guide. 

If, for example, a child makes a record of 99 on the centile scale for pitch, 
the conclusion is not that he is musical but that he has a very high capacity in one 
of the very numerous capacities which function in music. The problem of applica- 
tion is then to find out in what types of musical situation a keen sense of pitch 
discrimination actually functions; as in the hearing of pitch, in the control of 
pitch, and in the feeling for pitch. It may also be worth while to inquire to what 
extent a keen sense of pitch functions in the hearing of melody, of intervals, of 
harmony, and of tone quality. The guide has in hand a verifiable fact and must use 
judgment in determining what application is to be made of it in the analysis of a 
given situation. 

7. They have suffered much from popular and superficial advertising and 
propaganda. I have often paraphrased the aphorism: The Lord protect me from 
my friends, I can protect myself against my enemies. Among the friends are many 
who assume a blanket validity of these tests on the omnibus theory and have, 
therefore, sold the notion on a large scale. This has also been the basis of many 
journalistic stunts, and there are many wrong applications made. Occasionally 


my own unguarded statements should have been qualified. This difficulty lies in 
the fact that nonlaboratory people have been fed up on the omnibus theory. 

I have here tried to state the basic issues involved in the theory of specific 
measures so that comparison may be made with the omnibus theory. Musical 
guidance is a new and very complicated procedure. I agree with Professor Mursell 
that we should beware of easy solutions. I am glad that he has made the cleavage 
in the issue so clear and that he has sounded a warning to his followers against the 
use of my specific measures of musical talent on his omnibus theory. It is my 
humble opinion that no creditable test of musical talent can be built on that 


In addition to the replacing of footnote references this bibliog- 
raphy should be regarded as a grateful acknowledgment of indebted- 
ness to authors and sources for material in this book. Where 
substantial parts of these contributions have been utilized, this is 
indicated by superscript numbers in the appropriate places of the 
text. This list should, therefore, not be regarded as a general 
bibliography on the psychology of music, or the complete writings 
of any one author on this subject, as only those sources which are 
most significant for the present purpose are mentioned. 

Since three series of technical studies are referred to so fre- 
quently, the following abbreviations have been adopted: 
For the University of Iowa Studies in Psychology* The University 

Press, Iowa City, Iowa, abbreviation: la. St. Psy. 
(This series of studies is published in the Psychological Review 

Monographs, and the articles are often listed by the serial 

number in that publication.) 
For the University of Iowa Studies in the Psychology of Music, The 

University Press, Iowa City, Iowa, abbreviation: la. St. Mus. 
For the Journal of the Acoustic Society of America, abbreviation: 

J. A. 8. A. 

1. ABBOTT, R. B. Response measurement and harmonic analysis of violin tones, 

J. A. *S. A. VII, 1936, 111-116. 

la. Acoust. Soc. Amer. Report of committee on acoustical standardization, 
J. A. S. A. 9 II, 1931, 311-324. 

2. AGNEW, MARIE. The auditory imagery of great composers, la. St. Psy., 

VIII, 1922, 279-287. 

3. AGNEW, MARIE. A comparison of auditory images of musicians, psychologists 

and children, la. St. Psy., VIII, 1922, 268-278. 

4. BAIER, EVERETT 1). The loudness of complex sounds, J. Exper. Psychol., 

XIX, No. 3, 1926. 

5. BANNISTER, II. Audition, Hand. Gen. Exper. Psychol., Clark Univ. Press, 

1934, 880-923. 

6. BARTHOLOMEW, W. T. Physical definition of good voice quality in the male 

voice, J. A. S. A., VI, 1934, 25-33. 

7. BEDELL, E. H. Auditorium acoustics and control facilities for reproductions 
in the auditory perspective, Bell Lab. Record, XII, 1934, 199-202. 

8. BLACK, JOHN W. The quality of the spoken vowel, Arch. Sp., II, 1937, 7-27. 

9. BOUCHERS, O. The timbre vibrato, The Psychological Record (in press). 

10. BRENNAN, FLORENCE. The relation between musical capacity and per- 
formance, la. St. Pay., IX, 1926, 200-248. 



11. BRENNAN, FLORENCE. A report of throe singing tests given by the tono- 

scope, la. St. Psy., IX, 1920, 249-262. 

12. CHESLOCK, L. An introductory study of the violin vibrato, Reft. St. in Mus., 

No. 1, Baltimore, Peabody Conservatory, 1931. 

13. COWAN, MILTON. Pitch and intensity characteristics of American dramatic 

speech, Thesis, Univ. of Iowa Library, Iowa City, 1935. 

14. COWAN, MILTON. Pitch and intensity characteristics of stage speech, Arch. 

Sp., I, Suppl. 

15. DAVENPORT and STECJGERDA. Race crossings in Jamaica, Carnegie Inst , 

Pub. 395, Washington, D.C., 1929. 

16. DAVIS, ALFRED HORACE. Modern Acoustics, Macmillan, New Yoik, 1934. 

17. DAVIS, H., and STEVENS, S. S. Psychophysical acoustics: pitch and londness, 

J. A. S. A., VIII, 1936, 1-13. 

18. DENSMORE, FRANCES. The American Indians and Their Music, The Women's 

Press, New York, 1926. 

19. EASLEY, ELEANOR. A comparison of the vibrato in concert and opera singing, 

la. St. Mus., I, 1932, 269-275. 

20. ERICKSON, CARL I. The basic factors in the human voice, la. St. Psy., X, 

1926, 82-112. 

21. FARNSWORTH, PAUL R. Are musical capacity tests more important than 

intelligence tests in the prediction of the several types of music grades? 
J. Appl. Psychol, XIX, 1935, 347-350. 

22. FARNSWORTH, PAUL R. Comments on Duo-art as a laboratory instrument, 

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23. FIRESTONE, F. A. The phase differences and amplitude ratio at the cars due 

to a source of piano tone, J. A. S. A., II, 1930, 260-270. 

24. FLETCHER, HARVEY. Londness, pitch, and the timbre of musical tones and 

their relation to the intensity, the frequency, and the overtone structure, 
J. A. S. A., VI, 1934, 59-69. 

25. FLETCHER, HARVEY. Newer concepts of pitch, loud ness, and timbre of 

musical tones, J. Franklin hist., 220, 1935, 205-429. 

26. FLETCHER, HARVEY. Some physical characteristics of speech and music, 

Rev. Modern Physics, April, 1931. 

27. FLETCHER, HARVEY. Speech and Hearing, Van Nostrand, New York, 1929. 

28. FLETCHER, HARVEY. The physical criterion for determining the pitch of a 

musical tone, Phys. Rev., XXIII, 1924. 

29. FLETCHER, HARVEY, and MUNSON, W. Loudness, its definition, measurement 

and calculation, J. A. S. A., V, 1933, 102. 

30. FLETCHER, HARVEY, and STEINBERG, J. C. Loudness of a complex sound, 

Phys. Rev., XXIV, 1924, 306-317. 
30a. GARTH, T. R. Race Psychology, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1931. 

31. GAW, ESTHER ALLEN. A revision of the consonance test, la. St. Psy., VII, 

1918, 134-147. 

32. GAW, ESTHER ALLEN. A survey of musical talent in the music school, la. St. 

Psy., VIII, 1922, 128-156. 

33. GEMELLI, AGOSTINO. Nuovo contribute alia conoscenza della struttura delle 

vocali, Commentationes, I, 1937. 


34. GEMELLI, AGOSTINO, and PASTORI, GIUSEPPINA. L'analisi Elettroacustica del 

Linguaggio, 2 vols., Milan, 1934. 

35. GEMELLI, AGOSTINO. Nuovi risultati nelPapplicazione dei metodi dell'- 

elettroacustica allo studio della psicologia del linguaggio, Estud. Rend. d. 
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36. GHOSH, R. N. Elastic impact of a pianoforte hammer, J. A. S. A., VII, 1936, 


37. GHOSH, R. N. On the tone quality of pianoforte, J. A. S. A., VII, 1936, 

88. GREENE, PAUL C. Violin intonation, J. A. S. A., IX, 1937, 43-44. 

39. GREENE, PAUL C. Violin performance with reference to tempered, natural 

and Pythagorean intonation, la. St. Mus., IV, 1937, 232-251. 

40. HALL, HARRY H. Recording analyzer for the audible frequency range, J. A. 

S. A., VII, 1935, 102-110. 

41. HATTWICK, MELVIN. The vibrato in wind instruments, la. St. Mus., I, 1932, 


42. HANSON, C. F. Serial action as a measure of basic motor capacity, la. St. 

Psy., VIII, 1922, 320-383. 

43. HART, C. H., et al. A precision study of piano touch and tone, J. A. S. A.. VI, 

1934, 80-94. 

44. HEINLEIN, C. P. An experimental study of the Seashore consonance test, J. 

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45. HEINLEIN, C. P. A new method of studying rhythmic responses of children 

together with an evaluation of the method of simple observation, J. Genet. 
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46. HENDERSON, MACK T. Rhythmic organization in artistic piano performance, 

la. St. Mus., IV, 1937, 281-305. 

46a. HENDERSON, MACK T. Remedial measures in motor rhythm as applied to 
piano performance, Thesis, Univ. of Iowa Library, Iowa City, 1931. 


piano camera and its use, la. St. Mus., IV, 1937, 252-262. 

48. HEVNER, K. Studies in appreciation of art, Univ. of Ore. Publication IV. 

No. 6, 1934. 

49. HICKMAN, C. N. Acoustic spectrometer, J. A. S. A., VI, 1934, 108-111. 

50. HIRSCH, NATHANIEL D. Dynamic Causes of Juvenile Crime, Art Publisher. 

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51. HIROSE, K. An experimental study of the principal pitch in the vibrato, 

Japan. J. Psychol., IX, 1934, 793-845. 

52. HOLLINSHEAD, MERRILL T. A study of the vibrato in artistic violin playing, 

la. St. Mus., I, 1932, 281-288. 

53. HORNE, R. Structure and function of the violin mute, dissertation, Univ. 

of Iowa, 1938. 

54. JACOBSEN, EDMUND. Electrophysiology of mental activities, Am. J. 

Psychol. XLIV, 1932, 677-694. 

55. JASTROW, JOSEPH. The Qualities of Men, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1910. 
55 a, JOHNSON, G. B. The negro and musical talent, Southern Workman, LI, 

1927, 339-344. 


56. JOHNSTONE, J. A. Phrasing in Piano Playing, Witmark, New York, 1913. 

57. JOHNSTONE, J. A. Touch Phrasing and Interpretation, Reeves, London, 19 . 

58. KELLEY, NOBLE. A comparative study of the response of normal and patho- 

logical ears to speech sounds, J, Exper. Psychol,, XXI (September), 1937, 

59. KELLEY, NOBLE. Presbycousis, J. A. S. A. (in press). 

CO. KELLEY, NOBLE, and REGER, SCOTT N. The effect of binaural occlusion of the 
external auditory meati on the sensitivity of the ear for bone conducted 
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61. KNOCK, CARL J. Visual training of the pitch of the voice, la. St. Psy., VIII, 

1922, 102-127. 

62. KNUDSEN, V. O. The sensibility of the ear to small differences of intensity 

and frequency, Phys. Rev., XXI, 1923, 84-102. 

63. KOCH, HANS, and MJOEN, FBIDTJOF. Die Erblichkeit der Musikalitat, 

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64. KOCK, WiNbTON E. Certain subjective phenomena accompanying a fre- 

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65. KoEKTir, WILHELMINA. A pursuit meter: eye-hand coordination, la. St. Psy., 

VIII, 1922, 288-292. 

66. KLEIN, HERMAN. Great Women Singers of My Time, E. P. Dutton, New York, 


67. KULLAK, A. Esthetics of Pianoforte Playing, Sohirmer, New York, 1893. 

68. KURTZ, E. B., and LARSEN, M. J. An electrostatic audio generator, Elec. 

Eng., September, 1935. 

69. KWALWASSER, J. Tests and Measurements in Music, Birchard, New York, 


70. KWALWASSER, J. The vibrato, la. St. Psy., IX, 1926, 84-108. 

71. LAASE, LEROY T. The effect of pitch and intensity on the quality of vowels in 

speech, Arch. Sp., II, 1937, 41-61. 

72. LARSEN, M. J. An electrostatic tone generator, J. A. S. A. (in press). 

73. LARSON, DELIA. An experimental critique of the Seashore consonance test, 

la. St. Psy., XI, 1928, 49-81. 

74. LARSON, RUTH C. Studies on Seashore's "Measures of Musical Talent," 

Univ. of la. series, Aims and Progr. of Res., II, 1930. 

75. LARSON, WILLIAM S. Measurement of talent for the prediction of success in 

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76. LENOIR, ZAID D. Racial differences in musical capacities, thesis, Univ. 

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77. LEWIS, DON. Pitch: its definition and physical determinants, la. St. Mus., 

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78. LEWIS, DON. Vocal resonance, J. A. S. A., VIII, 1936, 91-99. 

79. LEWIS, DON, and COWAN, MILTON. The influence of intensity upon pitch of 

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80. LEWIS, DON, COWAN, MILTON, and FAIRBANKS, GRANT. Pitch variations 

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81. LEWIS, DON, and LARSEN, M. J. The cancellation, reinforcement and measure- 

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83. LINDER, FORREST E. Measurement of the pitch extent of the vibrato on 

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85. METFESSEL, MILTON. Phonophotography in Folk Music, Univ. of North 

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86. METFESSEL, MILTON. Sonance as a form of tonal fusion, Psychol. Rev. 

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87. METFESSEL, MILTON. Techniques for objective studies of the vocal art, la. 

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88. METFESSEL, MILTON. The strobophotograph; a device for measuring pitch, 

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89. METFESSEL, MILTON. The vibrato in artistic voices, la. St. Mus., I, 1932, 


90. METFESSEL, MILTON. What is the voice vibrato? la. St. Psy , XII, 1928, 


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93. MILLER, D. C. Anecdotal History of the Science of Sound, Macmillan, New 

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94. MILLER, D. C. Science of Musical Sounds, Macmillan, New York, 1926. 

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96. MILLER, RAY E. The pitch of the attack in singing, la. St Mus., IV, 1937, 


97. MILLER, RAY E. The pitch vibrato in artistic gliding intonations, la. St. 

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98. MILLS, JOHN. A Fugue in Cycles and Bells, Van Nostrand, New York, 1935. 

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126. SEASHORE, CARL E. Measurement of the expression of emotion in music, 

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130. SEASHORE, CARL E. The musical mind, Atlantic Monthly, March, 1928, 


131. SEASHORE, CARL E. Natural history of the frequency of the vibrato, Proc. 

Nat. Acad. Sci. 9 XVII, 1931, 623-626. 

132. SEASHORE, CARL E. New vantage grounds in the psychology of music, 

Science, LXXXIV, 1936, 517-522. 

133. SEASHORE, CARL E. Phonophotography as a new approach to the psychology 

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134. SEASHORE, CARL E. Phonophotography in the measurement of the expression 

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134a. SEASHORE, CARL E. Piano touch, Sci. Monthly, XLV, 1937, 360-365. 

135. SEASHORE, CARL E. The present status of research in the psychology of 

music at the University of Iowa, Univ. of la. series, Aims and Progr. of 
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136. SEASHORE, CARL E. Psychology in Daily Life, Appleton, New York, 1913. 

137. SEASHORE, CARL E. The Psychology of Musical Tale?it 9 XVI, Silver, Burdett, 

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138. SEASHORE, CARL E. Psychology in music : the role of experimental psychology 

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139. SEASHORE, CARL E. The psychology of the vibrato in music and speech, 

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140. SEASHORE, CARL E. Psychology of the vibrato in voice and instrument, /a. 

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141. SEASHORE, CARL E. The role of mental measurement in the discovery and 

motivation of the gifted student, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., II, 1925, 542-545. 

142. SEASHORE, CARL E. Seeing yourself singing, Science, XLIII, 1916, 592-596. 

143. SEASHORE, CARL E. The sense of rhythm as a musical talent, Musical 

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144. SEASHORE, CARL E. Some new instruments in the Iowa laboratory for the 

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145. SEASHORE, CARL E. A survey of musical talent in the public schools, Univ. 

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145a. SEASHORE, CARL E. Three new approaches to the study of negro music, 
Ann. Amer. Acad. Pol. Soc. Sci., CIL, 1928, 191-192. 

146. SEASHORE, CARL E. The tonoscope and its use in the training of the voice, 

The Musician, XI, 1906, 331-332. 

147. SEASHORE, CARL E. Vocational guidance in music, Univ. of la. series, Aims 

and Progr. of Res., II, 1916, 1-11. 


148. SEASHORE, CARLE. A voice tonoscope, la. St. Psy., Ill, 1902, 1-17. 

149. SEASHORE, CARL E., and JENNER, E. A. Training the voice by aid of the eye, 

J. Educ. PsychoL, I, 1910, 311-320. 

150. SEASHORE, CARL E., and METFESSEL, MILTON. Deviation from the regular 

as an art principle, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., II, 1925, 538-542. 

151. SEASHORE, C\RL E., and SEASHORE, HAROLD G. The place of phonopho- 

tography in the study of primitive music, Science, LXXIX, 1934, 385-487. 

152. SEASHORE, CARL E,, and SEASHORE, ROBERT H. Elementary Experiments in 

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153. SEASHORE, HAROLD G. Forms of artistic pitch deviations in singing, Psyclwl. 

Bull., XXXI, 1934, 677-078. 

154. SEASHORE, HAROLD G. The hearing of the pitch and intensity in vibrato, 

la. St. Mus., I, 1932, 213-235. 

155. SEASHORE, HAROLD G. An objective analysis of artistic singing, la. St. Mus., 

IV, 1935, 12-157. 

156. SEASHORE, HAROLD G. The relative importance of intensity arid time stress 

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157. SEASHORE, HAROLD G., and TIFFIN, JOSEPH. Summary of established facts in 

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158. SEASHORE, ROBERT II. Studies in motor rhythm, la. St. Psy., IX, 1926, 


159. SEASHORE, ROBERT H. Individual differences in motor skills, J. Gen. Psychol., 

III, 1930, 38-66. 

160. SEASHORE, SIGFRID. The aptitude hypothesis in motor skills, J. Exper. 

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161. SHOWER, E. G., arid BIDDULPH, R. Differential pitch sensitivity of the ear, 

J. A. 8. A., Ill, 1931, 275-287. 

162. SIMON, CLARENCE. The variability in consecutive wave lengths in vocal and 

instrumental sounds, la. St. Psy., IX, 1926, 41-83. 

163. SIVIAN, L. J., JUNN, H. K., and WHITE, S. D. Absolute amplitudes and 

spectra, J. A. S. A., II, 1931, 330 371. 

164. SIVIAN, L. J., and WHITE, S. D. Minimum audible sound fields, J. A. S. A., 

IV, 1933, 288-321. 

165. SKINNER, LAILA, and SEASHORE, CARL E. A musical pattern score of the first 

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165a. SKINNER, LAILA. Some tempera! aspects of piano playing, Thesis, Univ. of 
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166. SMALL, ARNOLD M. An objective analysis of artistic violin performance, 

la. St. Mus., IV, 1937, 172-231. 

167. SMALL, ARNOLD M. Response characteristics of the violin, J. A. S. A., (in 


168. SMITH, F. O. The effect of training in pitch discrimination, la. St. Psy., VI, 

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169. SNOW, W. B. Auditory perspective, Bell Lab. Record, XII, 1934, 194-198. 


170. SNOW, W. B. Audible frequency ranges of music, speecn and noise, J. A. S. 

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171. SNOW, W. B. Change of pitch with loudness at low frequencies, J. A. S. A., 

VIII, 1936, 14-19. 

172. STANLEY, DOUGLAS. The Science of Voice, Fischer, New York, 1929. 

173. STANLEY, DOUGLAS, and MAXFIELD, J. P. The Voice, Its Productiov and 

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174. STANTON, HAZEL M. An experimental investigation of musical inheritance, 

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175. STANTON, HAZEL M. The inheritance of specific musical capacities, la. St. 

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176. STANTON, HAZEL M. Measurement of musical talent, la. St. Mus., II, 1935. 

177. STANTON, HAZEL M. Psychological Tests of Musical Talent, Eastman School 

of Music, Univ. of Rochester, 1925. 

178. STEINBERG, J. C. Application of sound measuring instruments to the 

study of phonetic problems, J. A. S. A., VI, 1934, 16-24. 

179. STEINBERG, J. C. Positions of stimulation in the cochlea by pure tones, 

J. A. S. A., VIII, 1937, 176-180. 

180. STEINBERG, J. C., and MUNSON, W. A. Deviations in the loudness judgments 

of 100 people, J. A. S. A., VIII, 1936, 71-80. 

181. STETSON, R. H. The breathing movements in singing, Arch, nderland. 

Phon. Exper., VI, 1931, 115-165. 

182. STEVENS, F. A., and MILES, W. R. The first vocal vibrations in the attack in 

singing, Psychol. Monog., XXXVII, 1928, 200-229. 

183. STEVENS, S. S. The relation of pitch to intensity, /. A. S. A., VI, 1935, 


184. STEVENS, S. S., VOLKMANN, J., and NEWMAN, E. B. Scale for the measure- 

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185. STEWART, G. W. Introductory Acoustics, Van Nostrand, New York, 1933. 

186. STODDARD, GEORGE, and WELLMAN, BETH L. Child Psychology, Macinillan, 

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187. STOUT, BARRETT. The harmonic structure of vowels in singing in relation to 

pitch and intensity, Thesis, Univ. of Iowa Library, Iowa City, 1937. 

188. STUCKER, N. Zsch. SinnesphysioL, XLII, 1908. 

189. STUMPF, CARL. Diffcrenztonc und Konsonanze, Zsch. Psychol. PhysioL, 

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190. STUMPF, CARL. Konsonanz und Dissonanz, Beitr. Ak. Musikwiss., I, 1898, 


191. STUMPF, CARL. Beobachtungen uber Kombinationstone, Beitr. Ak. 

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192. STUMPF, CARL. Die Unmusikalischen und Tonverschinelzung, Zsch. Psychol. 

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193. STUMPF, CARL. Neueres liber Tonverschinelzung, Zsch. Psychol. Physiol. 9 

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194. STUMPF, CARL. Die Anfange der Musik, Leipzig, 1911. 


195. TALLEY, HORTON C. A comparison of conversational and audience speech, 

Arch. Sp., II, 1937, 28-40. 

196. TIFFIN, JOSEPH. A vibrato tonometer, Science, 70, 1929, 73. 

197. TIFFIN, JOSEPH. Characteristics of children's vibratos, Thesis, Univ. of 

Iowa Library, Iowa City, 1928. 

198. TIFFIN, JOSEPH. Phonophotograph apparatus, la. St. Mus., I, 1932, 118-133. 

199. TIFFIN, JOSEPH. The psychophysics of the vibrato, la. St. Psy. 9 XIV, 1931, 


200. TIFFIN, JOSEPH. Recent studies in the science of the art of speech from the 

Iowa laboratory, la. St. Mus., IV, 1937, 374-376. 

201. TIFFIN, JOSEPH. The role of pitch and intensity in the vocal vibrato of 

students and artists, la. St. Mus., I, 1932, 134-165. 

202. TIFFIN, JOSEPH, and SEASHORE, HAROLD. Summary of established facts in 

experimental studies on the vibrato up to 1932, la. St. Mm., I, 1932, 

203. TUTHILL, CURTIS E. Timbre and sonance aspects of the sustained vowel, 

Thesis, Univ. of Iowa Library, Iowa City, 1936. 

204. VALENTINE, WILLARD LEE. Readings in Experimental Psychology, Harper, 

New York, 1931. 

205. VAN DE WALL, W. Music in Institutions, Russell Sage Foundation, New 

York, 1936. 

206. VERNON, L. M. Synchronization of chords in artistic piano music, la. St. 

Mus., IV. 1937, 306-345. 

206a. VOXMAN, H. The tone quality of the clarinet, Thesis, Univ. of Iowa 
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207. WAD A, Y. The influence of tonal backgrounds upon time-errors in the suc- 

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208. WAGNER, ARNOLD H. An experimental study in the control of the vocal 

vibrato, la. St. Psy., XIII, 1930, 166-214. 

209. WAGNER, ARNOLD H. Remedial and artistic development of the vibrato, la. 

St. Mus., I, 1932, 166-212. 

210. WEGEL, R. L. The physical examination of hearing and binaural aids for 

the deaf, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., VIII, 1922, 155-160. 

211. WEGEL, R. L., and LANE, C. E. The auditory masking of one pure tone by 

another, Phys. Rev., XXIII, 1924, 266-285. 

212. WEVER, E. G., and BRAY, C. W. The perception of low tones and the 

resonance-volley theory, J. Physiol., Ill, 101-114. 

213. WHITE, WILLIAM. Musical instruments and acoustical science, J. A. S. A. t 

VIII, 1936, 62-63. 

214. WILLIAMS, HAROLD M. An audiometric test for young children, Child 

Development, II, 1931, 237-241. 

215. WILLIAMS, HAROLD M. Experimental studies in the use of the tonoscope, 

la. St. Psy., XIV, 1931, 266-327. 

216. WILLIAMS, HAROLD M. A note in regard to the extent of the vibrato, la. 

St. Psy. 

217. WILLIAMS, HAROLD M. A study in the prediction of motor rhythmic per- 

formance of school children, /. Genet. Psychol., 43, 1933, 377-388. 


218. WILLIAMS, HAROLD M., and HATTWICK, MELVIN S. The measurement of 

musical development, Univ. of la., St. in Child Welfare, II, 1935. 


The measurement of musical development, Univ. of la., St. in Child 
Welfare, VII, No. 1, 1933. 

220. WOLF, S. K., STANLEY, D., and SETTE, W. J. Quantitative studies of the 

singing voice, J. A. S. A., VI, 1935, 255-266. 

221. YASSER, J. A theory of evolving tonality, Amer. Libr. MusicoL, Contemp. 

Ser., I, 1932. 

222. ZWIRNER, EBERHARD, and ZWIRNER, KURT. Grundfragcn dcr Fhonometnk, 

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Mentioned or Quoted in the Text 

Agncw, Marie, 163, 164, 1G7 

Bartholomew, W T , 268 
Black, John W., 118-115 
Brennan, Florence, 381 
Borchers, Orville, 107 

Cowan, J. M., 111-112 

Davenport and Steggerda, 308-309, 345 

Fletcher, Harvey, 62, 64, 83 

Garth, T. "R , 309 
Ghosh, R. N , 226, 229 
Greene, Paul, 199, 218-224 

Hart, C. II ct /, 226 

Henderson, Mack T , 239 241, 245, 369-370 

Hickman, C N , 236 

Hirsch, Nathaniel D., 331-332 

Home, Porter, 215 

Jacobson, Edmond, 172 
Jastrow, Joseph, 175 
Johnson, G. B , 309 
Johnstone, J. A., 249 

Kelley, Noble, 79-81 
Klein, Herman, 368 
Knock, Carl J., 364 
Kullak, A., 249 

Laase, Leroy T., 118-119 

Larsen, M J , 271 

L ai son, Ruth, 308, 323-326 

Larson, William, 321 

Larson and Kurtz, 101 

Lewis, Don, 61, 116, 121 

Lewis, Don, and Cowan, Milton, 64, 105 

Lewis, Don, and Reger, Scott N., 81 

Malmberg, C. F., 131-132 

Metfessel, Milton, 43, 103, 348-350, 353- 


Miles, Walter R , 364 
Miller, R. E., 106, 357 

Mjocn, J. A., 309, 345 
Murdock, Katharine M., 309 
Mursell, James L., 383 

Odum, H. W., 348 
Ortmann, Otto, 226, 230-231 

Peterson, J., and Lanier, L H , 309 

Ream, M. J., 93 
Reger, Scott N., 78, 89, 214 
Rietsz, R. R., 85 
Rothschild, Donald, 183 
Ruckmick, Christian, 147 

Schramm, Wilbur, 213 

Seashore, Harold G , 34, 35-38, 43, 48-49, 

105, 243, 254, 256-266, 269-272, 275- 

277, 279-280, 369 
Seashore, llobeit II., 146, 369 
Shower, K. G , and Biddulph, R , 60 
Skinner, Laila, 246-247 
Small, Arnold, 39-42, 105, 199-215 
Snow, W. B., 69-72 
Stanton, Hazel, 4, 177, 309, 312-320, 342- 


Stewart, G. W., 62 
Stoddard, George, and Wellman, Beth, 175- 


Stout, Barrett, 118, 120-121 
Stiicker, N , 57 
Sturnpf, Carl, 130 

Talley, Horton C , 122-124 
Tiffin, Joseph, 43, 113, 233 
Tiffin, Joseph, and Seashore, Harold G., 

Van de Wall, W., 31 
Vernon, L. M., 248, 252-253 
Voxman, II., 186, 191 

Wegel, R. L., and Lane, C. E., 65 
White, William, 226 
Wundt, Wilhelm, 11 



Alda, Frances, 106 

Bachus, Wilhelm, 251 
Baker, Elsie, 43, 255, 275-277 
Bauer, Harold, 246 248, 251 
Berlioz, Hector, 166 
Braslau, Sophie, 43 
Busch, Carl, 199 

Caruso, Enrico, 43, 106 
Chaliapin, Feodor, 43 
Clapp, Philip Greeley, 246-248 
Crooks, Richard, 43, 255, 274-277 

Dadmun, Royal, 43 

de Gorgoza, Emiho Eduardo, 43 

de Luca, Giuseppe, 43 

de Lay, Theodore, 106 

Elman, Mischa, 199, 209, 210 

Gadski, Johanna Amelia, 55 

Galli-Curci, Arnelita, 43, 106 

Gigli, Beniamino, 43 

Gluck, Alma, 106 

Gorgoza, Emiho Eduardo de, 43 

Guidi, Scipione, 218 

Hackett, Karleton, 43 
Hofmann x Ludwig, 251 
Homer, Louise, 43, 255, 275-277 

Jeritza, Maria, 43 

Kraft, Arthur, 43, 255-259, 270, 274-277, 


Kendrie, Frank Estes, 199, 218 
Kreisler, Fritz, 199 

Lashanska, Hulda, 43 
Levine, Jacob, 218 
Levy, Ellis, 218 
Luca, Giuseppe de, 43 

Macbeth, Florence, 43 

Marsh, Lucy, 43, 255, 260-202, 274-277, 


Martinelh, Giovanni, 43 
Menuhm, Yehudi, 190, 20S, 210 
Moore, Grace, 9 
Mozart, Wolfgang, 165 166 

Onegin, Sigrid, 43 

Paderewski, Ignace Jan, 251 
Parker, Horatio, 1 
Ponselle, Rosa, 43, 106 

Rethberg, Elizabeth, 43 
Rimini, Giacomo, 43 

Schumann, Robert, 161-165, Ernestine, 43 
Seashore, Helen, 43, 255, 2<>3-260, 274-277 

282 283 

Scidl, Toscha, 99 

Slalkin, Felix, 1<>9, 200, 202, '201- -207, 18 
Small, Arnold, 39- tO, 199,201 210,216 2 IP 
Stark, Herald, 35-38, 255, 209, '275-277 
Stokowski, Leopold, 80 
Szigih, Joseph, 11)9 

Talley, Marion, 43 
Tetrazzmi, Luis.i, 9, 43 
Thompson, Carl, 43, 255, 275-277 
Tibbett, Lawrence, 40, 43, 48-49, 255, 257. 

Wagner, Richard, 166-167 



Air for the G String, 39-40, 199, 209-210 
All my days, 352-354 
All through the night, 255, 257-259 
America, 363 

Ave Maria, 35-38, 199-200, 204, 255, 256, 

Calm as the night, 255 

Chopin, Nocturne, op 27, no 2, 247-248 

Chopin's sixth nocturne, 239-241 

Come unto Him, 255, 257, 260-205, 282-283 

Drink to 7nc only with thine eyes, 48-49, 255, 
257, 280-282 

Etude, 69 

He shall feed His flock, 255 

Kreutzer, Concert Etude, 218-220 

Marche Mihtaire, 69 

Moonlight Sonata, op. 27, no. 2, 251 

Negro Laugh, 356 

On ma journey, 349-352 

Phosphorescence, 255 

Polonaise, op 40, no. 1, 246-247 

Polonaise Militaire, op 40, no. 1, 251 

Sonata in C Major, 199 
Sonata in D Minor, 199 
Sonata in G Minor, 199 
Sonata, op. 57, 247 
Sonata Pathetique, 251 

The Judgment Day, 112 
Tzigane, 199, 208, 210 

You ketch dis tram, 355-356 



Absolute pitch, 20, 62-63 

Acoustic spectra (see Tone spectra) 

Action current, measure of imagery, 172 

American Musical Instrument Association, 

Amplification, 88-89 

Analysis, significance of, 11-12 
of talent m the music school, 312-320 
of talent in the public school, 321-329 

Anthropology, 23, 346-348 

Artistic attitude, 31, 173-174, 232, 336 

Artistic deviation, 18-21, 29, 30, 40, 77, 
248-251, 267 

Asynchromzation, of chords, 249-253 

Atlantic Monthly, 1 

Attack, 106, 205-207 

Audience voice, 123-124 

Audiogram, 79 

Audiometers, list of, 78 


Baritone horn, 187 
Bassoon, 184-186 
Beats, 87 

Beauty, 46-47, 107-111 
Biological theory, 336 
Blending, 130, 132 
Bowing, 213, 223 

Cornet, 187 
Cumulative key, 315 
Cycle (~), vibration, 18 

vibrato cycle or pulsation, 33-37, 44-46, 
51, 267 


Dead room, 182, 186, 213, 217-218 

Decibel (db), 19, 98-100 

Development of musical skills, 360-372 

Dialect, Negro, 359 

Difference tones, 64-74 

Dissonance, 125-133 

Dynamics, musical, 89 

Duo-art rolls, 248 

Duration, and time, 16, 19, 90-94, 136, 214- 

215, 226, 231-235, 237-239, 242-248, 



Ear training, 47-49, 157-158, 365-366 
Educational Music Magazine, 326 
Elemental limit, 59, 231-233 
Emotion, expression of, 9-10, 47 

(See also Performance scores) 
Esthetic attitude (see Artistic attitude) 
Experimental method, 23-32, 338 
Extensity in volume, 134 
Extent, 43-44 

(See also Vibrato) 

Capacity vs ability, 289-290, 301 

vs. achievement, 832 
Carnegie Institution, 342, 345 
Carrying power, 27-28, 137 
Centile, 56, 304, 308, 317 
Chords, 249-253 
Clarinet, 186 
Common sense, 27, 290 
Consonance, 125-133 

Feeling (see Musical feeling) 
Field of hearing, 82-84 
Filters, 68-69 
Flexibility, 47 

(See also Sonance) 
Flute, 187 

Formant regions, 115-118 
French horn, 186-187 




Frequency, 17-19 

(See also Pitch: frequency; Waves; 

range, 70-74 
supersonic, 55 
Fusion, 130-131 

Genius, 175, 334 

Great Women Singers I Have Known, 368 


Harmonic analysis, 95-100, 107-108, 182- 

198, 215, 217 

Harmonic analyzer, Frontispiece, 98 
Harmonic composition, 20-21 
Harmonic constitution, 95-124 
Harmony, 75 
Hearing ability, acuity of, 77-84 

Illusions, 17, 45-46, 63-64, 92 
Imagining in music, 5-6, 161-172 
Impulse, nerve, 14-15 
Individual differences (see all aspects 


Inheritance of musical talent, 330-345 
Intelligence, 7-8, 57, 173-177, 339 
Intensity, and loudness, 16, 27, 34, 76-89, 

135, 201-202, 204-206, 208, 272-274 
Intensity control, 74, 272-274, 367 -369 
Intensity discrimination, 84-85, 213-214 
Intensity meter, 368-369 
Intensity score (see Performance scores, 

Phrasing scores) 
Intensity vibrato, 37-42, 44, 109-110, 213- 


J.n d., in intensity, 85-86 
in pitch, 60-61 

Laugh, Negro, 356 
learning, in music, 149-160 

rules of, for instructors, 156-160 
for pupils, 150-156 

Limits, pitch, 54-72 

intensity, 76-89 
Listener, 14, 26-27 
Live room, acoustically treated, 182 
Loudness, intensity, 16, 19, 76-89 

(See also Intensity) 
Loudness-level contours, 83 
Low fundamental, 68-70 


Major second, 127, 13'l, 220-224 

Major third, 127, 131, 220-224 

Masking, 62 

Mean pitch, 39, 212, 269-270 

Measurements of Musical Talent, 312 

Measures of musical talent, 302-311 

Measures of Musical Talent (records), 85, 91, 

102, 302-311, 321, 363, 368 
Melody, 75 
Mellowness, 47 
Memory, 7 

(See also Learning) 
Metronomic time, 248 

(See also Phrasing) 
Minor second, 127, 131, 220-224 
Minor third, 127, 131, 220-224 
M. I. Q , 8 
Motihty, 92-94 

Motor capacities, 10-11, 86-89, 180 
Moving pictures, analogies, 103, 161, 347- 


Music, the art object, 25-26 
Music in Institutions, 31 
Musical education, 149-160, 173, 360-372 
Musical esthetics, 373-382 
Musical feeling, 0-10, 47, 174, 178-181 
Musical guidance, principles of, 286 301 
Musical intervals, scales, 41, 75, 127, 218- 


Musical medium, 13-22 
Musical message, 379-382 
Musical mind, 1-12, 333-334 
Musical ornament, 33-52, 357-359 
Musical Quaterly, 138, 330 
Musician, 1, 4-6, 13, 286-289 


National Research Council, 348 
Negro songs, 348-359 
Notation, 157