Award Date

December 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Educational Psychology & Higher Education

First Committee Member

Alice Corkill

Second Committee Member

CarolAnne Kardash

Third Committee Member

Lisa Bendixen

Fourth Committee Member

David Weiller

Number of Pages



The purpose of this study was to design and validate a rhythm span task. Existing rhythm span tasks do not address important elements of rhythm and music such as tempo (speed), length (duration in beats per minute), and complexity (level of syncopation). This rhythm span task includes every combination of these criteria. The rhythmic sequences were presented with a piano sound from computer audio speakers. To align with traditional simple span tasks, the rhythm span task required participants to reproduce the rhythmic sequence. Results from this study showed that length was a significant factor for difficulty. Short rhythms were found to be mostly easy to reproduce while medium and longer length rhythms were more difficult to reproduce. The results also showed that number of musical elements, or tones, in rhythms increased as difficulty increased. Using the results from this study, a complete rhythm span task has been sequenced according to difficulty.


Rhythm; Span Task; Working Memory


Educational Psychology

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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