Nr. 2: The Printed Score as a Mediator of Musical Meaning

Approaches to Music Notation in Western Tonal Tradition. (Ph.D.)




Författare: Cecilia Hultberg
Tryck: Lund 2000

ISBN: 91-628-4215-3
ISSN: 1404-6539

Sidor: 166

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In this exploratory, qualitative study, selected young musicians’ ways of taking musical meaning from notation were investigated. A socio-cultural theoretical perspective was applied, which means that relations between traditions and individuals were especially accounted for. From the results of the study, conclusions on functions of the printed score as a mediator of musical meaning were drawn, and a theory of instrumental training was developed. Two main approaches to music notation were found: a REPRODUCTIVE and an EXPLORATIVE APPROACH. In the REPRODUCTIVE APPROACH, the function of the printed score is that of an explicitly normative document, which prescribes how to play, and through which the performance is to be assessed. In the EXPLORATIVE APPROACH, the function is that of an invitation to seek out implicit meaning according to the musicians’ individual judgement, within a frame of agreed understanding in Western tonal music that they share with the composer. The conclusion was drawn, that strategies for coping with music notation, used in early levels of instrumental education, might strongly influence musicians in the long term, however skilled and experienced they may be. Teaching methods based on a REPRODUCTIVE APPROACH to the printed score may even prevent professional musicians from applying musical understanding developed later. Based on these results, a theory of instrumental teaching was developed, meaning that teacher’s attitudes towards students, as well as towards music notation, might  either support or obstruct students’ development.