The authors examined the effects of age, musical experience, and characteristics of musical stimuli on a melodic short-term memory task in which participants had to recognize whether a tune was an exact transposition of another tune recently presented. Participants were musicians and nonmusicians between ages 18 and 30 or 60 and 80. In 4 experiments, the authors found that age and experience affected different aspects of the task, with experience becoming more influential when interference was provided during the task. Age and experience interacted only weakly, and neither age nor experience influenced the superiority of tonal over atonal materials. Recognition memory for the sequences did not reflect the same pattern of results as the transposition task. The implications of these results for theories of aging, experience, and music cognition are discussed.
Psychology and Aging
Halpern, Andrea; Bartlett, J.C.; and Dowling, W.J.. "Aging and experience in the recognition of musical transpositions." Psychology and Aging (1995) : 325-342.