The Notion of Musicality?Posted: 10 January 2011
How musical are you?
This week BBC Lab UK launched a new online experiment which will tell you just what level of musical talent you really have. The experiment also aims to disprove public perceptions about musical ability by encouraging everyone in the country to take part.
An interview about the experiment was published to the BBC website today, with a discussion between Radio 3 presenter Petroc Trelawney and Dr. Lauren Stewart, senior lecturer in Psychology at Goldsmiths College at the University of London.
Dr. Stewart spoke about the objective and motives of the test.
“We’re really interested to really broaden out the notion of musicality. Traditionally, most people think that they’re not musical unless they play a musical instrument or have had formal musical training; but we think that this is far too narrow and even just being immersed in our very musical world engenders people with a very sophisticated level of musicality that they probably aren’t even aware of. If people can choose the right music for a social occasion, know how music affects their moods and emotions, we say that’s already a sophisticated skill.
Our hypothesis is that actually people without even any level of musical training will be able to do very well, and in some cases just as well as the formally trained musicians on some of these tests that we’ve come up with.”
Radio 3 presenter Petroc Trelawney also spoke about Radio 3’s involvement in the experiment, which is part of a 12-day festival on Radio 3 exploring the genius of Mozart.
“Mozart’s music is something that affects all of us, we can all hum a Mozart tune, we can all engage with Mozart. We wanted to see whether or not you needed to have this ‘innate musicality’, or whether or not people have got this innate musicality, or whether it’s something that could be learned. We’re hoping that tens or maybe hundreds of thousands are going to take part in this test.
Maybe it’ll debunk some of the myths about music being frightening and alarming. I think people are often put off by classical music because they think they’re going to make a fool of themselves. This hopefully will prove that we’ve all got it in us.”
Photo credit: ~Eredel @ DeviantART