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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 11: Introducing inversions


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Introducing inversions

We have achieved the basis for employing the Primary Triads through a satisfactory voice-leading format that can embody and lead a variety of both existing music and newly generated ideas. We will consider the introduction of a variety of additional chords in due course. But there is more to be discovered about the Primary Triads first; and the best exploitation of what we have already learnt, in terms of both compositional resources and systematic aural development, is to deal with the variation by inversion of this set of chords with which we are already familiar.

The voice-leading considerations of inversion build on what we already know. While inversions provide new connections and expand the harmonic vocabulary, in terms of their effect on the musical understanding of each individual participant they involve some highly valuable experience. Recall how strongly the point was made that all students needed to perform each of the notes of the original Tonic triad; and, in turn and over time, trace all the routes available through progressions involving the Primary Triads. The vital issue here is to prevent any individual getting stuck with a fixed role that prevents them flexibly hearing and feeling their way around the full array of sounds that are now in play. What this amounts to is the development of location, the confident and conscious acquisition of the sense and role of any note that one is performing in a...

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