Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Subject Matter Teaching: Music


Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math Education


College of Education


Kuhlman, Kristyn L.


Music--Instruction and study; Second grade (Education); Second grade (Education)


Elementary Education and Teaching


The purpose of this study was to investigate the efficacy of rhythm syllable systems in developing students' aural discrimination abilities. The problem was to examine the effect of rhythm syllable systems on students' abilities to aurally identify the meter of rhythm patterns. A secondary problem was to examine the interaction effects of music aptitude and rhythm syllable systems.

The sample for this study included 107 students in second and third grade general music classes. Classes remained intact and were randomly assigned to the control group, the time-based syllable group, and the function-based syllable group.

Subjects were administered the Intermediate Measures of Music Audiation prior to the start of the treatment period to identify level of music aptitude and a student questionnaire to identify prior rhythmic activity experience. During the treatment period, the students learned the same rhythm patterns: instruction differed only in the type of rhythm syllable system used. The time-based treatment group used Kodaly rhythm syllables, the function-based treatment groups used Gordon syllables, and the control group continued to use a neutral syllable.

At the conclusion of the 14 week treatment period, all subjects were administered a Meter Identification Test in which they were expected to aurally identify patterns as being in duple or triple meter. An ANOVA revealed no significant differences among groups with regard to treatment and no interaction effects between treatment and level of rhythm aptitude. The researcher concluded that there were no differences in abilities of subjects who received rhythm instruction that utilized the function-based syllable system and those who used a time-based syllable system. Furthermore, subjects who used either syllable system failed to demonstrate greater meter identification abilities than students who used no syllable system as part of rhythm instruction.