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On the clarity of the musical stave

Wilkins, Arnold Jonathan and Kiff, Isabel Emily (2015) 'On the clarity of the musical stave.' Psychology of Music, 43 (6). pp. 870-880. ISSN 0305-7356

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<jats:p> The staves of 63 scores of popular keyboard music from 50 publishers were measured. The staves had similar height but lines that varied in thickness from 0.1 mm to 0.45 mm. Evidence from visual psychophysics suggests that when the stave has thick lines, perceptual distortions are likely to affect the clarity of the score adversely. Students were asked to sight-read scores comprising random notes (“chromatic”) or random notes in the key of G. The scores had staves with lines that were 0.1 mm or 0.4 mm thick (current typographic practice). Twice as many errors were made when the staves had thick lines, although the scores were then read more slowly. Scores in the key of G were read more accurately than the “chromatic” scores, but those with thick lines were read with as many errors as “chromatic” scores with thin lines. There was a tendency for individuals with susceptibility to pattern glare to read the scores with thick lines relatively slowly. The findings suggest that perceptual distortions can impair sight-reading of music manuscript because of the pattern from the lines of the stave; using thinner lines can increase both sight reading accuracy and speed. </jats:p>

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: eye movements; individual differences; instrumental learning and teaching; live performance; neuroscience; perception; performance
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2015 10:48
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2022 00:36

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