Discrimination of Pitch Direction by Preschool Children with Verbal and Nonverbal Tasks

Peter R. Webster*, Kathy Schlentrich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This study investigated the abilities of 4- and 5-year-old children for discriminating pitch direction using one of three modes of response: Verbal (spoken), gestural, and performance-based. The sample (N = 107) included children from two different nursery school settings and was balanced with respect to age and gender. Three testing formats were constructed to correspond with the three response modes. They were designed to be as equivalent as possible. The results reinforced the notion that nonverbal, performance- based response modes are the most natural way for young children to react to pitch direction without substantive training. A large number of children (34%) responded at or below chance regardless of mode. The variables of gender, presentation order, number of pitches per item, item range, and item direction did not show significant effects on test results. Mean score tendencies, however, warrant further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-161
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Research in Music Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Music


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