Individual Research Question

As shown by studies we have examined in class, our memories are limited. This limitation of our memories results in many of the occurrences that happen when listening to music. I would like to examine how efficient our memory is at remembering and restating rhythms of different familiarities, complexities, and presentations. My question is to examine to what extent does the complexity and presentation of a rhythm affect how well and quickly one can remember it. Also, an area of interest within this topic is whether there is a significant difference of results between age groups and musical ability levels.

Recent studies have shown that older children tend to learn rhythmic patterns at a much quicker rate than younger children, suggesting variances among rhythmic memories between different age groups. It may be that as certain parts of the brain develop, rhythmic memory is enhanced. This could help us understand which parts of the brain in particular are critical in retaining a rhythm. It has also been shown that musicians tend to be better than non-musicians at recalling a rhythm. This may be due to certain areas of the brain being more highly trained and utilized in musicians than in non-musicians.

Observing how well our memory can hold onto different types of rhythms may provide insight on what our mind prioritizes and how information regarding rhythmic input is organized. It may also show what we can consciously recall based off of the differing rhythmic stimuli. The information obtained from these studies could be used to better understand the mental processes used to hear and recall a rhythm. Effects of this knowledge may be the improvement of music education, since knowing the particular capabilities of certain age groups and musical abilities could enable a curriculum designed to fit those capabilities.

One thought on “Individual Research Question

  1. This is good beginning!

    A few comments, in no particular order:
    – It is customary to use the singular form of the work “memory” even though there are more than one type; if you want to be more specific, then you can list those types you are thinking about.
    – Cite which studies in particular you are referring to; a parenthetical author-date reference is enough. Also, in the second paragraph, each of your references to specific findings should be accompanied by an author-date parenthetical reference, and the full citations should be given at the bottom of the text.
    – “… how efficient our memory is at remembering and restating rhythms of different levels of familiarity and complexity, and in different modes of presentation”; I’m not sure if this is what you meant at the end.

    The next step for you will be to collect a small body of sources to gather more information about the state of knowledge related to your question, and produce a bibliography that will serve as a basis for your literature review. I would like to see a preliminary list of this bibliography (10-12 sources that are directly relevant to your topic) posted here by next Tuesday, October 7, 9:00 AM. Let me know if you have any question.

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