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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 16: Minor mode signing

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CHAPTER 16

Minor mode signing

We have already investigated the means of exploring modal music through the use of the full array of Primary and Secondary Triads that surround the Tonic. Minor chords within the diatonic array are signed with a balled fist (see Chapter 14) that contrasts clearly with the flat, open hand of the Major.

But in what ways can the Tonic itself be minor? The minor mode emerged as a feature of the tonal system quite early in Western musical history, sharing its origins with the Dorian, Phrygian and Aeolian modes. These varied origins have left their mark on minor-mode music. Typically, though, the minor is taken to map onto the features of the Aeolian mode, also known as the natural minor. But the behaviour of the tonal system requires that the notes of the Aeolian mode are modified so that a functional major Dominant can act as satellite of (and herald to) the Tonic. For this reason, compared to the unity of the major scale in its Ionian mode form,1 we need to be aware of, and practise, three forms of the minor: melodic ascending, which presents the features of sharpened leading notes on steps 6 and 7 that convey the Dominant function of linking to the upper tonic; melodic descending, which features flattened notes on steps 6 and 7 that lead downwards towards the Dominant; and the harmonic minor, which represents an aggregate of the...

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