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    Change articulated by pitch : a study of instrumental works by Franz Schubert and John Coolidge Adams
    The works of John Adams (1947-) depart from the Minimalist tradition despite the congruity. The musical vocabulary of Minimalism has been characterised by restorative features of tonality but without the sense of tonal function. One aspect identified by this lack of functional tonality has been the absence of modulation. A technique John Adams embraces in his compositions is modulation. Analyses of John Adams' music seek to discover the nature of this modulation and how it relates to the Minimalist tradition.

    John Adams' departure from the Minimalist tradition is a somewhat similar predicament faced earlier by Franz Schubert (1797-1828). His compositions represent a departure from the Classical tradition yet do not fit comfortably with the Romantic period. Analyses of Schubert's sonata-form compositions examine the nature of modulation, Schubert's use of modulation and his unorthodox procedures in relation to Classical and Romantic traditions.

    The nature of modulation in the works of the two composers is assessed and is viewed first in relation to their incongruity in their respective contemporaneous traditions and, second in order to establish congruity between these two composers within a chronologically, historically and aesthetically broader concept - that of change articulated by pitch.

    Acceptance of a concept of modulation in both composers is problematic because modulation as it is understood today is exclusively associated with the theory and practice of major-minor tonality. Its existence as metabole in theory and practice as early as the fifth century BC through to the practice of the twentieth century is characterised by definitions which only exacerbate the problem.

    However, through chronology, a common characteristic of modulation has been identified as change articulated by pitch. Inherent in this view of modulation is the reliance on an understanding of tonality that is broad enough to be applicable to music from the fifth century BC to the present. Ultimately, one would need to locate a historically and aesthetically satisfying concept of modulation.
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  • Publication
    Open Access
    Popular music and the classroom: Student teacher reflections in Singapore
    (2012) ;
    Hilarian, Larry Francis
    In the current syllabus for the General Music Programme for Primary and Secondary schools in Singapore, use of the keyword popular appears with reference to the repertoire in second stage, namely popular songs leading to the ability to [a]ppreciate the use of technology in creating the varied identity of contemporary music (e.g. loops in dance music) (MOE 2008, pg. 8) by the third stage until at Stage 5, involves a discussion of the role of personal and group (read cultural and national) identity in music (MOE 2008, pp. 8-10). Evident in the GMP document therefore, is the potential and value of working with popular music: beginning with composing, improvising and recreating extending to identity formation either as individual and/or group identities which speak positively of the multiplicity of identity negotiation. An approach involving popular music is very much in line with current broader educational aims to develop individuals with the capacity to be creative and imaginative and socio-culturally well-tempered and that popular music has an important educational role to play in this respect. This paper discusses a pilot project involving a group of undergraduate Music student teachers who opted to offer popular music as one of their ensemble options during the January through April 2011 semester. With leading questions to facilitate reflections of their learning journey in popular music, this paper examines their reflections of first-hand engagement with musical and extra-musical resources with implications for the place of popular music in education policy.
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    Facing the music: an educational perspective in redesigning a core module
    The objective of this project was to assess and evaluate the implications of redesigning this core module by viewing the module as a world of musical practices. This objective has, as its rationale the view from the music educator David3, that music is, at root level, a human activity, is context dependent and practice-specific. Being informed of any of these practices also involves the fundamental element of the teaching and learning of any of these practices. Since the module identified specific musical practices, the most effective way to run this module was to implement an experiential learning approach. (taken from the Introduction page).
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  • Publication
    Open Access
    Improvisation as real-time thinking and rehearsing: An exploratory study in Singapore
    (2006-07) ;
    Stead, Peter
    The skill of improvisation is seen to be important in the development of any musician, although its relative importance varies according to period and genre. Christopher Azarra (2002, 171) asserts that as an essential component of music throughout history…improvisation involves an ability to make music spontaneously within specified musical parameters. Improvisation is then dependent on the condition that performers are able, first of all, to be ‘proficient in the language they speak’. Musical improvisation, therefore, seems comfortably positioned in the training of those who are well-versed “in this language”. As language differs from culture to culture, so do expectations of musical improvisation. John Blacking (1973, 100) argues what is ultimately of most importance in music cannot be learned like other cultural skills: it is there in the body, waiting to be brought out and developed, like the basic principles of language formation.
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    Open Access
    Vedic metal; Issues of local practice, popular music and education
    In early 2007, an Extreme metal quartet Rudra made a tour of three US cities (Pennsylvania, Minnesota and New York) with partial sponsorship from the local composers and performers association (COMPASS). This tour followed another performance in November 2006 at the Outdoor theatre of the Esplanade. This was preceded by their participation at the Rock On Singapore! Festival organised by the National Arts Council in 2005. Their presence at local and international performances disguises multiple identities; contemporary, Singaporean, South Indian, youth, popular music (including Extreme Metal music), among others (Dairianathan 2007; 2008). Moreover, Rudra's absence in written accounts is as revealing as their seventeen year existence. Rudra's continued presence raises a crucial question: if music of popular culture is, following Kellner (1995) and Denzin (1992), a lived curriculum - one that has suffused young people's lives - can Rudra's presence in prominent social and cultural space be extended to educational space? By focusing on Rudra and activities surrounding them, this paper will draw attention to Vedic Metal and its relationship/s with local practice, popular music and the implications for education.
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    Open Access
    Vedic metal: issues of local practice, popular music and education
    If music of popular culture is a lived curriculum - one that has suffused young people’s lives – can popular musics’ presence in everyday space be extended to educational space? In this paper, we introduce a group of graduate serving music teachers to the musical practice of Rudra, a local Extreme metal group, and invite discussions of their practice and consideration of Extreme Metal through Rudra, among the repertory of the diversity of musical practices in their school music curriculum. This paper reports on the dynamics of these discussions as well as accounts by teachers who subsequently introduced musical excerpts by Rudra to their classes. Finally, this paper considers their responses and reflects on the practice of Vedic Metal and relationship/s with local practice, popular music with the implications for education. More importantly, the feasibility and viability of challenging curricula is very much a function of the classroom teacher as agent in and of that change.
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