Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Experimental Psychology

Committee Chair

Philip Pavlik

Committee Member

Xiangen Hu

Committee Member

Stephanie Huette

Committee Member

Gavin Bidelman


This study assessed the effects of spaced practice on the ability to identify a musical interval by name. A total of 187 individuals completed a pretest and then practiced identifying six musical intervals, with two musical intervals each randomly assigned to narrow, medium, and wide spacing for each individual. During this practice, the musical intervals were presented at two tone levels and were played as either harmonies or melodies. Participants were randomly assigned to return for a posttest 2 min, 1 day, or 7 days later. All individuals received a posttest of the same six musical intervals from practice at the same tone levels as practice and at a transfer tone level; additionally, the posttest contained both harmonic and melodic trials. Spaced practice was found to have increasingly-pronounced positive effects as musical intervals increased in size. This pattern was present for all tone levels and performance on melodic and harmonic posttest trials. This pattern was more pronounced on the practice tone levels than on the transfer tone level, and more pronounced on harmonic posttest trials than on the melodic posttest trials. Mean posttest scores were comparable between the harmonic and melodic practice groups. However, whereas the harmonic practice group had lower scores on the melodic trials, i.e., trials at a transfer sound type, the melodic group showed comparable performance on both harmonic and melodic trials. There was not persuasive evidence that the length of the gap separating practice and posttest had an influence on overall performance or on the relative impact of the three levels of spacing. These results were reevaluated for external validity across age, sex, and strategy use, and were found to be broadly applicable.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.