Responding to your Musicality Test comments ...
Thanks to everyone for all your comments about the Musicality Test. It might be worth emphasising a couple of things to help put the test into context. Here at BBC Lab UK, one of our prime aims is to create new science by engaging the BBC audience, while our participants discover something about themselves. We have to be guided by what are the most scientifically rigorous and interesting areas to investigate, within a certain sphere. Secondly, wherever possible, our scientific sponsors encourage (and we fully endorse) using previously published instruments and measures. The reason for this is that we can vouch for the scientific validity of feedback that the participant receives but also the scientific researchers can compare the results of the BBC study with countless other studies, making the data far more powerful.
Some of you have made reference to the 'Group the music' part of the test. This is a difficult exercise, and the only part of the experiment where some prior knowledge of some particular areas of music was required. It was based on a well known psychology paper by Carol Krumhansl called 'Plink' about the musical notions which can be expressed in very short pieces of audio. We copied the genres she used in her experiments, as jazz, hiphop, rock and pop are well known in every continent and on a global scale, represent the highest numbers of unit sales, making them the most likely to be recognised, worldwide.
In the rest of 'How musical are you?', there was no further investigation into genres and the survey asked questions which could apply to any listening taste. In the other listening tests, we emulated highly cited instruments such as the 'Beat Alignment Test' and while we copied lots of the similar musical types as used by Iverson and Patel, we managed to have an incredibly eclectic selection of stimuli material, which took in blues rock, tea-dance music, orchestral and gypsy jazz. Our Radio 3 colleagues remarked that the spacebar tapping and melody memory parts of the test were very reminiscent of traditional musical theory exams, so I feel we achieved a good balance of the innovative with the tried and tested.
For those of you who were put off by the genre-sorting exercise; had you persevered, you may have found some challenging tests and thought-provoking questions about your relationship with music. I'd urge you to have another go; if there's a part you don't like or can't do, the skip button will take you on to the next section, your feedback still should be accurate and the data will still be useful to the scientists.
For those of you who completed the test but seemed unimpressed by the test or the feedback; well, thank you for taking part and submitting data towards this fascinating research goal.
This particular test aimed to examine people's attitudes and engagement to the music they listen to (in 7 different ways), then compare that to 4 different ways of measuring objective musicality. If the test didn't measure the things you were hoping for then we'll take that on board and look how we can improve future versions of the test.
Michael Orwell is a producer for BBC Lab UK, a BBC website where you can participate in groundbreaking scientific experiments.