MUSIC TESTS

A number of standardized tests have been developed for measuring musical aptitude and for predicting success or failure in musical study. All five of the following tests are presented on phonograph records and in this way assure uniformity of presentation and allow for group administration. In general, music tests have been found most useful in detecting very good and very poor prospects for musical instruction, but are less effective in measuring the gradations between these extremes (Freeman, 1962).seashore Measures of Musical Talent (fourth grade to adult). This test, the first to be developed, presents pairs of tones or tonal sequences on records or tapes in six different groups, covering pitch, loudness, rhythm, time, timbre, and tonal memory. In the pitch test, for example, two tones, a and b, are sounded in sequence, and the subject indicates whether b is higher or lower than a. In the rhythm test, the subject compares two tonal patterns and states whether they are the same or different. Several items of increasing difficulty are included in each group. The individual scores on the six tests are not combined into a single total, but are presented in profile form.The scores on the individual tests are given in percentiles, and can be compared with norms reported for grades 4-5, 6-8, and 9-16. The six items are based on Seashore’s analysis of measurable sensory abilities required for both the appreciation and production of music, and can be used to identify people who are so deficient in these capacities that it would be fruitless to devote themselves to the study of music. They are also helpful in locating specific deficiencies of otherwise able students. Attempts to validate the tests by comparing scores with actual achievement and teacher ratings in music schools have been disappointing. This indicates that prediction of success in music studies requires much more than information on sensory capacities. Interestingly, the Seashore tests have proven quite valid in predicting performance on jobs that are essentially based on these capacities, such as radio telegrapher.Kwalwasser-Dykema Music Tests (elementary and high school). This series consists of ten short tests measuring the six Seashore functions, as well as facility in reading musical notation and certain aspects of musical appreciation. The tests have been widely used in schools, probably because they take less than an hour to administer and appear to provide a great deal of information. However, studies have shown that many of the subtests have low reliabilities, since they are too short and too lacking in discriminative items. Consequently the scores obtained from this test are of questionable value.Wing Standardized Tests of Musical Intelligence, (eight years to adult). These tests are an answer to the frequent objection that the Seashore approach atomizes musical ability instead of viewing it as a unitary aptitude. They present meaningful piano music instead of individual tones or phrases, and the results are combined into a single score representing general musical ability or “musical intelligence.”Seven subtests are administered, each representing a musical dimension emphasized by music teachers and examiners: rhythmic accent, memory, pitch change, chord analysis, harmony, intensity, and phrasing. Studies indicate that the reliabilities of the total scores are very high, and correlations with teacher ratings are at least .60. The items are generally on a more complex level than in the Seashore test, and involve judgment of esthetic merit as well as sensory capacity. Not surprisingly, the Wing tests are especially useful in testing older children and adults, and in identifying talented individuals who would profit from further training.Drake Musical Test (eight years to adult). This test effectively measures two basic functions. On one part, the subject listens to a two-part melody and then compares it from memory with other versions. If he decides that one of the versions is not the same, he must state whether it differs in key, time, or notes. The other part is a rhythm test designed to measure the subject’s ability to keep time by maintaining a metronome beat silently. High reliabilities have been reported for both tests, and scores show substantial va-Iidity as predictors of future ratings on musical study and performance.Aliferis Music Achievement Test. The major difference between this test and others is that it is designed for use with entering college freshmen who wish to enroll in music courses. The functions tested are much the same as on other recent tests: “auditory-visual discrimination of melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic elements and idioms.” It fares reasonably well in studies of validity, with correlations of .50 to .60 between the total scores and grades in music courses.

Cite this page: N., Pam M.S., "MUSIC TESTS," in PsychologyDictionary.org, November 28, 2018, https://psychologydictionary.org/music-tests/ (accessed March 18, 2019).
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