Auditory imagery from musical notation in expert musicians Academic Article uri icon


  • Anecdotal evidence has suggested that musical notation can trigger auditory images. Expert musicians silently read scores containing well-known themes embedded into the notation of an embellished phrase and judged if a tune heard aloud thereafter was the original theme (i.e.,melodic target) or not (i.e.,melodic lure). Three experiments were conducted employing four score-reading conditions: normal nondistracted reading, concurrent rhythmic distraction, phonatory interference, and obstruction by auditory stimuli. The findings demonstrate that phonatory interference impaired recognition of original themes more than did the other conditions. We propose thatnotational audiation is the silent reading of musical notation resulting in auditory imagery. The research suggests that it also elicits kinesthetic-like phonatory processes.

publication date

  • January 1, 2003