Auditory imagery from musical notation in expert musicians

Warren Brodsky*, Avishai Henik, Bat Sheva Rubinstein, Moshe Zorman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


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 that notational audiation is the silent reading of musical notation resulting in auditory imagery. The research suggests that it also elicits kinesthetic-like phonatory processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)602-612
Number of pages11
JournalPerception and Psychophysics
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2003


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