Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.M. in Music



First Advisor

Rhonda Hackworth

Second Advisor

Michael Worthy

Third Advisor

Andy Paney

Relational Format



The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of pitch height on instrument gender ratings. This study’s participants (N=64) consisted of music major (n=32) and non-music major (n=32) students who are enrolled at the University of Mississippi. Using a 5-point semantic rating scale, participants rated the perceived masculinity and femininity of six musical instruments (flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, tuba) as they are played at the approximate midpoint of their ranges and as they played in ranges that countered their established instrument-sex-stereotype. Specifically, female instruments (flute, clarinet) played in their low ranges while male instruments (trombone, tuba) played in their high ranges. Instruments with unclear or neutral gender ratings (trumpet, saxophone), played in both extremes of their ranges. Once the data were collected, participants’ ratings of the instruments were compared using the Wilcoxon signed rank test. This statistical analysis revealed that pitch height had a significant effect on music majors’ perceived gender ratings for the flute and the trumpet performing at the lower extremes of their ranges. The analysis also revealed that pitch height had a significant effect on non-music majors’ perceptions of all instruments except the tuba and the saxophone in its low range. The Mann-Whitney test determined that the only instruments music majors and non-music majors rated significantly different were the trumpet in its high range and the trombone at the midpoint of its range. There was no evidence to support a difference between the ratings of any of the listening examples as a function of participant sex.


Music Education



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