How to deal with the syntonic comma in music education? Recognition, preferences of usage, and utility ACTA UNIVERSITATIS OULUENSIS E Scientiae Rerum Socialium 196
|Kustantaja:||Oulun yliopisto|| |
|Laitos:||Faculty of Education|| |
|Sijainti:||Punamusta Oy|| |
|Tekijät:||Viitasaari, Markku|| |
This dissertation concerns interval intonation, tuning systems, and temperaments and their relevance to music education. It considers a historically well-known tuning discrepancy, the syntonic comma, from three different perspectives: 1) recognition, 2) preferences of usage, and 3) utility in music education. The first objective was investigating to what extent students in musicintensive
classes and university music students are able to recognize a mistuning of the syntonic comma in musical passages tuned in just intonation. This was investigated through an experiment comprising 40 chord progressions. The second objective was to determine the preferences of university music students and teachers for dealing with the syntonic comma by way of centrally recognized tuning alternatives through an experiment with 30 pairs of chord progressions. The third objective was to consider how the present results and other recent research about the syntonic comma could help with teaching intonation skills. The Experiment 1, recognition of mistuning, revealed a wide distribution among listeners (n=168). The recognition of mistuning in vertical harmony decreased significantly according to the complexity of the chord progressions. Mistuning between successive notes of the melody line helped recognition. The recognition of mistuning was also influenced by the choir voice participants were repsenting: In one category of chord progressions, participants representing the bass voice in a choir detected mistuned triads better than participants representing the top voice. There was also a significant correlation of the
mutually interrelated variables of instrumental experience and age with recognition of mistuning. In Experiment 2, intonation preferences, music university students and teachers (n=93) were asked a preference from among four tuning strategies with pairs of differently tuned but otherwise identical chord sequences. Meantone tuning (85.9%) and equal temperament (85.2%) were overwhelmingly preferred, with local tempering falling behind, and there was overall rejection of pitch drift. The results motivate the development of new exercises for intonation skills, and the experiments shed light on the problem of the syntonic comma, proving potential for practical music pedagogy. Several suggestions for further research are presented.