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Synthetic activity: Semiosis, conceptualizations and meaning-making in music composition

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This article is about composition learning of two students in a music programme in upper secondary school with a special regard to how they develop conceptual structures within the musical form of expression and understanding. Semiotics, spectromorphology and cultural historical theory are engaged to discuss the empirical findings that are collected through observation and interview. The compositional task in the study regarded sound-based composition within the field of electroacoustic music, more specifically applying additive synthesis to make raw material for composition, preparatory exercises and finally compositions. Musical meaning-making and compositional creativity were triggered by the encounter of newly learned concepts with internalized and familiar musical thinking. The learning process could be understood in terms of a concept development process (CDP) in language-based learning.
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Keywords: composition learning; concept development; electroacoustic music; music semiotics; sound-based composition; spectromorphology

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Royal College of Music, Stockholm

Publication date: October 1, 2014

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  • The Journal of Music, Technology and Education (JMTE) explores the issues concerning the use of technology in music education. It examines pedagogy at all levels and across genres such as composition, musicology, performance and music production. It is the only journal specifically dedicated to the educational aspects of music technology and the technological aspects of music. Peer-reviewed, with an international editorial board, JMTE aims to draw its contributions from a broad community of educators, researchers and practitioners who are working closely with new technologies in the fields of music education and music technology education.
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