Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Experiments on the musical sensitiveness of school children
Gilbert, J.A.
J. A. Gilbert. 
Bodily measurements of children have been repeatedly made; their 
laws of bodily growth have been empirically determined; most im¬ 
portant deductions for the equipment and management of schools 
have been made from them. The senses and intellect of school 
children have received less attention; most of the work has been 
confined to investigating the sharpness of vision, the acuteness of 
hearing (deafness) and the memory powers. The musical sensitive¬ 
ness has never, I believe, been tested. 
By musical sensitiveness is meant the least noticeable difference in 
the pitch of a tone. Those who can detect a small difference in 
pitch between two successive tones are more sensitive than those 
who can detect only larger differences. 
Apparatus and methods. 
Since the object of the present investigation was not to determine 
the least perceptible difference in relation to tones of various pitches 
but was to compare children with one another, a single tone was 
used throughout the experiments, namely, the tone ä=435 of inter¬ 
national pitch. The method was that of minimum gradation. Each 
experiment was composed of two tones and a judgment as to their 
likeness. The tone à was first sounded, then a tone ^ of a lone 
higher; the child answered “same” or “different;” ä was again 
sounded, then a tone ^ higher; and so on, the second tone being 
raised ^ each time, until the child had several times declared the 
tones to he different. Thereupon the second tone was started at the 
same pitch as the first and in like manner successively lowered. The 
number of thirty-seconds of difference that were just perceived was 
noted in the two cases; the average gave the result for a single 
experiment. Ten experiments were made on each child. The child


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