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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 14: New chords within the Tonic: The Secondary Triads of the major scale


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New chords within the Tonic: The Secondary Triads of the major scale

The three chord positions central to Harmony Signing can each link to variants that enlarge and enrich the harmonic vocabulary available. We will explore the means of making the Tonic, Subdominant and Dominant into minor triads in Chapter 16. The new possibilities explored in this section complete the set of Triads available within the key outlined by the three Primary Triads which we have learnt, through introducing chords ii, iii and vi. All of these are minors,1 with a colour and function that complement well the major Primary Triads whose relationships we have explored.

Positions and the signs for the Secondary Triads

The three Secondary Triads are accessed from related Primary Triads through turning the flat hand into a balled fist and conveying a sense of motion: the whole arm moving to the right for turning I onto vi; and upwards for turning IV into ii, or V into iii. This captures the feeling of just one note moving, upwards by step, in turning the one chord into the other.

As the initial example of this, the following diagram illustrates movement from I to vi:

o—▬ → o—ʘ ← 231 | 232 →

Photograph 13. The sign for chord vi.

One of the most elegant and useful features to emerge from the spatial design of Harmony Signing has been the...

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