Reading or Listening and Remembering

Andreas C. Lehmann, John A. Sloboda and Robert H. Woody

in Psychology for Musicians

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780195146103
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199851164 | DOI:
Reading or Listening and Remembering

Show Summary Details


This chapter discusses three skills—sight-reading, playing by ear, and recalling a memorized performance—related to an individual's ability to retain and recall information from memory. These are then related to a musician's performance. The first two are necessary for the effective learning of a musical piece, while the last is vital in retaining and enriching musical performances. Based on research, it is shown that some teachers consider learning music by ear more natural than the use of musical notation. Also, it is posited that expert musicians have developed unique access to their long-term memories which is vital in the skills of sight-reading, ear-playing, and recall. Another theory presented is that musical reading is dependent on prior knowledge and stimulus, and that from this, parallels can be drawn with memorized performance. Lastly, it is shown that sight-reading and memory skills can be developed and enhanced through practice and training.

Keywords: sight-reading; ear-playing; recall; musical performance; memory

Chapter.  7727 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.