Reading musical notation

Musical notation is a special kind of visual code that is partly based on spatial relations. To understand how musical information is processed, we use theories on the interaction of working memory and long-term memory. We research the cognitive schemata that play a role during reading. Therefore, we collaborate with the Music Conservatory in Mannheim (‘Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst Mannheim’). We invite music students, who are experts in reading musical notation, to participate in our experiments. When they read notes, we measure their eye movements. We draw inferences from participants’ short-term recall performance of unknown musical pieces and from their eye movements on how the music is represented in musicians’ minds and on the influence of prior knowledge on recognition and short-term recall of musical information.

Based on these insights, we develop and evaluate new approaches to how reading musical notation can be fostered with training using interactive and multimedia-based applications.

Contact: Lucas Lörch