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Composing, performing and audience-listening as symmetrical indicators of musical understanding

Silva, Maria Cecilia Cavalieri França e (1998) Composing, performing and audience-listening as symmetrical indicators of musical understanding. PhD thesis, Institute of Education, University of London.

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Abstract

The thesis conceptually disentangles two dimensions of music making and development: understanding and practical skills. Musical understanding, the awareness of the meanings embodied in the elements of musical discourse, is taken as a single conceptual dimension which operates across the central modalities of music making — composing, performing and audience-listening. It is recommended in the literature that these activities should be integrated in the curriculum as they interact with each other. A rationale is offered on the nature of this interaction, suggesting that it takes place in the dimension of understanding, the manifestation of which depends on the refinement of the practical skills necessary to accomplish particular tasks. It is hypothesised that musical understanding will be manifested symmetrically across composing, performing and audience-listening activities once the tasks are appropriate and accessible. The empirical study consisted of a small sample design with repeated measures both across and within the three modalities. Over five months of teaching within the integrated approach to the three activities, twenty students between 11 and 13,5 years old from a non-specialist music school in Brazil offered three 'products' in each modality. These were assessed by independent judges using for the first time the three-fold criteria derived from Swanwick and Tillman's Spiral Model (1986) as an instrument to assess musical understanding across various modalities of music making. Results show that there was no symmetry across all three modalities. They revealed, nonetheless, significant symmetry across composition and audience-listening. Performance was the modality in which students achieved lower scores, being the poorest indicator of the extent of their musical understanding. This supports the assumption that the demonstration of understanding is constrained by the complexity of the tasks. The distinctive psychological nature of each modality and the extent to which this might have affected the results are also considered. Curriculum implications point to the relative role of each modality in facilitating the development and demonstration of musical understanding.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: Thesis: (PhD) University of London Institute of Education, 1998.
Depositing User: Batch Import
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2014 12:51
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2015 14:12
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