The MUSOS (MUsic SOftware System) Toolkit: A computer-based, open source application for testing memory for melodies

M. Rainsford, M. A. Palmer, Garth Paine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Despite numerous innovative studies, rates of replication in the field of music psychology are extremely low (Frieler et al., 2013). Two key methodological challenges affecting researchers wishing to administer and reproduce studies in music cognition are the difficulty of measuring musical responses, particularly when conducting free-recall studies, and access to a reliable set of novel stimuli unrestricted by copyright or licensing issues. In this article, we propose a solution for these challenges in computer-based administration. We present a computer-based application for testing memory for melodies. Created using the software Max/MSP (Cycling ’74, 2014a), the MUSOS (Music Software System) Toolkit uses a simple modular framework configurable for testing common paradigms such as recall, old–new recognition, and stem completion. The program is accompanied by a stimulus set of 156 novel, copyright-free melodies, in audio and Max/MSP file formats. Two pilot tests were conducted to establish the properties of the accompanying stimulus set that are relevant to music cognition and general memory research. By using this software, a researcher without specialist musical training may administer and accurately measure responses from common paradigms used in the study of memory for music.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)684-702
Number of pages19
JournalBehavior Research Methods
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018


  • Memory
  • Music cognition
  • Recognition
  • Replication
  • Software

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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