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Every Child a Composer

Music Education in an Evolutionary Perspective

Nicholas Bannan

This book breaks new ground in drawing on evolutionary psychology in support of advocacy for music education, and the presentation of innovative musical pedagogy. The book adopts the perspective that musical experience is the birthright of all human beings through the decisive role it played in the evolution of our species, the traces of which we carry in our genes. The author draws on scientific developments in acoustics, neuroscience, linguistics, archaeology and anthropology to examine theories that have emerged powerfully during the last twenty years and which argue for the significance of the practice of music as foundational to human culture. This position is examined in parallel with research into how children learn musically, and the role that creative decision making plays in this. A series of strategies is presented that explores collective creativity which draws on vocalisation, the use of gesture, and instinctive responses to harmony to develop musical imagination.

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Chapter 10: Composing with the Primary Triads


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Composing with the Primary Triads

In setting out to explore what we can do with the Primary Triads, we may at first seem limited to the progressions: I→IV→V→I and I→V→IV→I. But there are many more options in addition to this apparent choice of pathway, for example:

I → IV → I → V → I

I → V → I → IV → I

And so on. But the most important ingredient we can now bring to this phase of Harmony Signing is the signalling of rhythm: both rate of movement, and the replacement of chords with silence. For this we need to begin to use our right (or non-dominant) hand, so that there is a clear distinction between function: one hand signing choices of chord; the other controlling rhythmic and expressive features. This permits the introduction of harmonic rhythm: the presentation of chords in a rhythmic framework that contributes character and style.

Since Right Hand functions introduce a new skill, it is useful for all participants to practise what they can achieve, and become comfortable with the considerable additional expressivity that use of the Right Hand can convey. The main functions to focus upon at this stage are:



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