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Nr. 5: Jag kan göra hundra låtar

Barns musikskapande med digitala verktyg (Ph.D.)
STUDIES IN MUSIC AND MUSIC EDUCATION NO 5

Bo Nilsson

Malmö 2002

ISSN 1404-6539

ISBN 91-628-5201-9

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ABSTRACT
Today’s children live in a world where music in all its different forms has become a significant factor in their everyday life. From earlier research we know that young children are able to create music by singing and using musical instruments.

The present study was undertaken with eight-year-old children in school year 2 in order to investigate the children’s composing and composition processes using a synthesizer and computer software. The research questions are aimed at (a) clarifying the creative processes young children employ when they create music using digital tools, (b) describing and analysing the musical outcomes that are produced by the children as a result of this process, and (c) reaching a deeper understanding of what creative music making means to the children.

These different aspects of creative music making, were examined by collecting data over a period of eighteen months: step by step computer MIDI-files from the compositions; observations, and in-depth interviews. The tasks given to the children were formed as invitations to create music to different pictures, but the children were only given explicit instructions related to the use of the synthesizer and the computer software.

In the analysis, five different variations of the practise of creative music making were found, each with different objects in the foreground of the activity:

  • a) Putting the synthesizer and computer in the foreground of the activity, trying out the possibilities of the equipment and testing its limits,
  • b) Using creative music making as a means of expressing personal fantasy and emotions including deliberate as well as non-deliberate use of memories and various techniques for generating musical ideas,
  • c) Putting playing the instrument in the foreground of the activity resulted in long pieces with many repetitions where improvising and composing were integrated,
  • d) Placing the music itself in the foreground in which rehearsing and planning were used in a deliberate ways together with spontaneous ideas,
  • e) Putting the task in the foreground, which in some cases lead to convergent thinking. The finding of the present study, which demonstrates that young children are able to create music with form and structure, is in conflict with some previous research that suggests that children younger than nine years of age are unable to create music with meaning.

The final discussion of the variations found in the children’s practice of creative music making is extended into a discussion of how these variations relate to an already existing cultural practise, such as the practise of play, earlier musical experiences and to the suggestions of meaning, affordances, that were perceived by the children in the situation. The discussion also considers the ways in which the digital toolsrepresent a medium where planning, improvising and elements of chance coexist. This suggests that for the children the computer simultaneously opened up for the different kinds of mediation represented by orality and literacy.

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