Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Music (Honours)


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)


Faculty of Education and Arts

First Advisor

Mr Jeremy Greig


Having well-developed aural skills is an important factor in many musical tasks, such as improvisation. The skill of audiation (the ability to hear and comprehend sound), as coined by Edwin E. Gordon, is attained by internalising certain concepts or elements, and storing these as a vocabulary. Just as verbal skills are acquired by learning and memorising words and phrases, so too is this aural skill developed by learning and internalising musical patterns and concepts. Through audiation, this vocabulary is recalled when the same or a similar pattern is heard again. The sound is identified and understood because it has been heard and learnt before; it is familiar.

One such concept that can be internalised to develop an audiation vocabulary is the pivots system, an ear training concept which enhances a person’s pre-existing understanding of harmony. The research shows that an understanding of the audiation process can act as foundational knowledge for working on the pivots system, with the aim of developing an internalisation of this concept. This is but one example, and once an understanding of the audiation process and how to develop it is acquired, this information can potentially be put to use with any ear training exercise, concept or pattern.

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