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Discovering the Musical MindA view of creativity as learning$
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Jeanne Bamberger

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199589838

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199589838.001.0001

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The first invented notations: Designing the Class Piece

The first invented notations: Designing the Class Piece

(p.7) Chapter 2 The first invented notations: Designing the Class Piece
Discovering the Musical Mind

Jeanne Bamberger

Oxford University Press

On an ordinary day in a public school in suburban Wayland, Massachusetts, the children in this 4th grade music class had begun their work by listening closely to the fourth movement of Hindemith’s wind quintet from his Kleine Kammermusik, op. 24 no. 6. After they had listened carefully, the children’s task was to design their own composition modeled after the Hindemith movement but using just classroom percussion instruments—drums, sticks, and clapping. Over a period of several days the children listened attentively to the work and discussed it at length. They had noticed that the most important contrasts were between the solos played by each of the wind instruments in turn, and the part that they called the “chorus” played by all the instruments together. There was an alternation between solos and chorus. In the solos, each player seemed to be improvising new material just for his instrument, while in the chorus, all the instruments, playing together, seemed to be repeating much the same music each time. The contrast between the solos and the chorus created boundaries or “edges” that outlined the large structural elements of the piece. To help the children in designing their own piece, they were asked to make drawings of the Hindemith—the two kinds of structural elements, improvisatory solos and the “chorus,” alternating with one another. After the children had made initial sketches, we derived a kind of template showing the alternation of solos and “chorus.”

Keywords:   improvisation, structure, drawing, notation

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