Undergraduate Non-Music Major Preferences for Western Art Music

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Contributions to Music Education

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The purpose of this study was to examine undergraduate non-music major (N = 95) preferences for Western art music. A survey of 15 musical examples was assembled consisting of five subtests, each with three excerpts from the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, or Twentieth Century. The mean preference rating of all excerpts combined was 4.68 (Mo = 5, SD = 1.34) on a 7-point Likert-type scale. A Friedman nonparametric analysis of variance indicated a significant difference (p less than 0.001) among the five subgroups. Mann-Whitney U tests revealed that undergraduate non-music majors prefer (a) repertoire of the Classical era significantly more than that of any other time period, (b) music of the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic periods significantly more than that of the Renaissance and Twentieth Century, and (c) music of the Renaissance significantly more than that of the Twentieth Century. Preferences were not affected by musical training, but may have been influenced by timbre, texture, and referential elements.


This article was published in Contributions to Music Education, Volume 36, No. 1, pp. 9-24, 2009, https://www.jstor.org/stable/24127215.