Date of Award
Master of Music
This experiment was based upon earlier research involving beginning musicians' perception of how handedness interferes with their performance of melodic instruments, (VanAlstine, 2006) and the analysis of earlier studies by Laeng and Park (1999) involving the impact of handedness in playing the piano traditionally and in a "reversed" fashion. This study was conducted involving the performance of musical examples on the recorder where the subjects played in a traditional manner, as well as with reversed hand position. Laeng and Park found left-handed beginning and experienced musician's grouped subjects performed better upon a reversed keyboard than performing upon a traditional keyboard, Laeng and Park (1999). VanAlstine hypothesized that beginning musicians would play more correct notes with their dominant hand when playing the melodic examples, whereas advanced students would show less specialization when performing the musical examples with either hand. There were 60 subjects total, 30 beginning players from Carterville Intermediate School and 30 advanced players from the southern Illinois area, including the Southern Illinois University Carbondale School of Music. Subjects were given an Edinburgh-styled handedness test to identify them as either left- or right-handed performers. The subjects were further divided into groups of 15 beginning left-handed players, 15 beginning right-handed players, 15 advanced left-handed players and 15 advanced right-handed players. Subjects played short musical examples on the recorder with traditional fingering and then with reversed hands. The performance was evaluated by two judges. Beginning right-handed musicians who performed upon the "reversed" recorder played as well as performers who were left-handed and played the soprano recorder traditionally, with their dominant hand on the top half of the instrument. The left- and right- handed advanced musicians played the musical examples equally well in both the traditional style and in the "reversed style."
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