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The Science & Psychology of Music PerformanceCreative Strategies for Teaching and Learning$
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Richard Parncutt and Gary McPherson

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195138108

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195138108.001.0001

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(p.135) 9 Sight-Reading
The Science & Psychology of Music Performance

Andreas C. Lehmann

Victoria McArthur

Oxford University Press

From a psychological viewpoint, sight-reading involves perception (decoding note patterns), kinesthetics (executing motor programs), memory (recognizing patterns), and problem-solving skills (improvising and guessing). Sight-reading skills seem to be highly trainable and differences in sight-reading ability can be explained through differences in the amount of relevant experience and the size of the knowledge base (e.g., repertoire). The ability to perform with little or no rehearsal may be regarded as a reconstructive activity that involves higher-level mental processes. These are primarily initiated by visual input but also by conceptual knowledge and specific expectations. This chapter discusses common problems in sight-reading of pitches, rhythm, articulation, and expression, and presents suggestions for their remediation through the use of technical equipment, practice of isolated parameters, and strategic preparations for playing.

Keywords:   sight-reading, note patterns, improvising

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