The use of experience-sampling methods to monitor musical imagery in everyday life
Bailes, F. A. (2006). The use of experience-sampling methods to monitor musical imagery in everyday life. Musicae Scientiae, 10(2), 173-190.
Little is known about the prevalence or nature of the everyday experience of imagining music in the "mind's ear". An obstacle has been the reliance on indirect, retrospective reporting. Musical imagery research to date has been limited to the experimenter-centred environment of laboratory studies. This paper considers the use of Experience-Sampling Methods (ESM) to explore musical imagery as it occurs in everyday life. A pilot study applied ESM to determine when musical imagery might occur and how it is experienced. Eleven music students were cued to fill out an experience-sampling form (ESF) at random times throughout a seven-day period. Likert scale items probed the strength of imagery for different musical dimensions, while more general questions explored respondents' current activities, interaction with others and mood. Participants reported hearing externally sounded music for 47% of these episodes and imagining music for 35%. A high rate of return and the depth of information provided by respondents suggest that ESM techniques are an effective way of exploring musical imagery in ecologically valid conditions. It is argued that this method could be used to explore mental imagery for music in a wider population. Refined sampling techniques may offer a way to test specific hypotheses concerning characteristics of everyday imagery for music. Exploring auditory imagery in naturalistic as well as laboratory settings may lead to a clearer understanding of the influence of context on our mental imagery of music. ...