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Child Composers in the Old ConservatoriesHow Orphans Became Elite Musicians$
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Robert O. Gjerdingen

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190653590

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190653590.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 June 2021

Schemas, Exemplars, and the Treasure Trove of Memory

Schemas, Exemplars, and the Treasure Trove of Memory

(p.83) 7 Schemas, Exemplars, and the Treasure Trove of Memory
Child Composers in the Old Conservatories

Robert O. Gjerdingen

Oxford University Press

One of the purposes of music training in the old conservatories was to stuff the students’ memories full of useful musical patterns. Psychologists often use the term “schema” to describe structured memories. In Naples, the masters taught dozens of schemas to the children. They taught three basic types of cadences, the so-called Rule of the Octave, the contrapuntal patterns known as suspensions, and a number of musical sequences categorized by the motions of their basses. These were explicit schemas in the sense of having names and being openly discussed. There were also implicit schemas—patterns learned through repeated similar experiences but not given specific names. Professional musicians seemed to know many patterns by name, whereas amateur musicians and concert listeners probably knew only a few names like “cadence.”

Keywords:   Schema, Memory, Cadences, Rule of the Octave, Suspensions, Bass motions, Movimenti, Monte, Fonte, Honoré Langlé, Luigi Cherubini

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