Learning musical contour on a tabletop

Franceschini, Andrea; Laney, Robin and Dobbyn, Chris (2014). Learning musical contour on a tabletop. In: Joint ICMC/SMC 2014 Conference, 14-20 Sep 2014, Athens, Greece.


Many successful tabletop applications for music making have been developed, and the technology has been investigated from different perspectives. Yet, to date, despite optimistic claims regarding their potential as learning tools, their role in helping people to explore, acquire, and rea- son about musical concepts has been sparsely researched. We have developed an exploratory study around a simple tabletop application that allows people to make music using a visual representation of melodic contour. Our aim is to understand whether and how such system might help peo- ple to reason about music in terms of contour while at the same time affording an enjoyable music making experience to musically untrained people. Our findings suggest that the system has potential as a learning tool, especially for beginners, but tutoring is still necessary to acquire, use, and express concepts precisely.

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