Neue Einblicke in die Blickbewegungen von Musikexperten beim Blattspielen

Lörch, Lucas

Document Type: Conference presentation
Year of publication: 2019
Conference title: 35. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Musikpsychologie "Kognitive Musikpsychologie"
Location of the conference venue: Eichstätt, Germany
Date of the conference: 6.9.-8.9.2019
Publication language: German
Institution: School of Social Sciences > Bildungspsychologie (Münzer 2012-)
Subject: 150 Psychology
Individual keywords (German): Blickbewegungen , Blattlesen , Blickbewegungsmessung , Expertise
Keywords (English): eye movements , eye tracking , sight-reading
Abstract: Theoretic background: When musicians read and perform musical notation, their eyes move with rapid shifts (saccades) between consecutive pauses (fixations). During saccades, there is no clear vision, but during fixations, about 2° of the visual field is perceived with high acuity. Studies have shown repeatedly that eye movements during the reading of musical notation differ between experts and novices. Experts can perceive notes faster and they are able to perceive multiple notes with single fixations. These findings suggest that experts can draw on information stored in long-term memory during reading. Due to the highly standardized experimental setup and the large sample size, this study provides new insights into the eye movements of experts during sight-reading. Method: In my experiment, music students (n=75) completed a complex span task in which they had to memorize a single note and then perform a short, simple melody at first sight on a piano. The tempo of the performance (70 bpm) was given with a metronome. After multiple repetitions of this procedure, a memory test followed. I recorded eye movements and MIDI data of the musical performance. The melodies were highly standardized always consisting of 4 bars with 12 quarter or eighth notes and 9 quarter or eighth rests. Areas of interest were used to compare eye movements on four types of note pairs: quarter-quarter, eighth-quarter, quarter-eighth and eighth-eighth. These pairs were always located at the beginning of a bar. Descriptive results: The MIDI data showed that the melodies were performed with near perfect accuracy (Mean pitchAccuracy = 0.95; Mean notePositionAccuracy = 0.91) . The melodies were read with a mean of 17.36 fixations. The mean duration of fixations, which was 792.81 ms, closely corresponded to the duration of one beat, which was 857 ms. About 30% of the saccades were regressive, i.e. against the reading direction. Forward saccades had a size of about 80 pixels, while regressive saccades were larger with a mean size of 145 pixels. One bar was 250 pixels wide. One important new finding of this study was that the eye movements showed a large variation within and across participants. Person means of number of fixations and distance of saccades deviated by a factor three. The mean within-person range of the number of fixations was 16.07 and the mean within-person range of the distance of saccades was 94.6 pixels. Statistical modeling: The four types of note pairs were analyzed using three contrasts that coded the Gestalt aspects connectedness, distance and similarity. Number of fixations on the note pairs was influenced by connectedness. Connected note pairs, i.e. the eighth-eighth note pairs, were read with fewer fixations. Duration of fixations on the note pairs was influenced by connectedness and distance. Pairs that were connected and distant, i.e. the eighth-quarter note pairs, were read with longer fixations. The reason for this finding probably lies in the fact that the eighth-quarter note pair is less common and more difficult to perform than the other note pairs.

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