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December 2022

A difficulty hierarchy of rhythm patterns for mentally retarded adults

Abstract: The primary purpose of this study was to establish a hierarchy of rhythm patterns, arranged from least to most difficult, for mentally retarded young adults. Secondary purposes were to investigate the differences found in mental retardates' ability to imitate duple and triple rhythm patterns according to age and IQ, and to determine whether mental retardates' imitation abilities are consistent in a test-retest situation. The procedure consisted of the subjects imitating 25 duple rhythm patterns and 25 triple rhythm patters on a hand drum. Initially the rhythms were ranked hierarchically on an a priori basis, and recorded by a senior percussion major. The subjects were tested individually, and their responses were recorded on a cassette tape. High positive inter-observer reliability coefficients were established between the author and an independent rater. No significant differences were found in subjects' abilities to imitate duple and triple rhythms according to age and IQ. It was concluded that confidence can be placed in the rhythm hierarchy established for the sample in this study due to the unusually high test-retest reliability coefficients. However, caution should be exercised in generalizing these findings to other mentally retarded age groups, to other types of disabilities, and to mentally retarded clients in other geographic areas.

Keyword(s): mental-retardation, developmental-disabilities, adults, rhythm-patterns, rhythm, difficulty, difficulty-level.

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