Music, in many cultures is an aural art. The composer is also a performer and the music is passed on to other composer/performers largely by means of an aural tradition. In aural tradition, music is always experience in real timethat is, the music must actually be performed to be learned or created.
In the Euro-American tradition, especially since the onset of printing and publishing, the creation of music has been a written tradition. In this tradition, the music is composed out of real time. This means that the composer, by reading the music, can ponder and edit the music by converting visual images into sound images. The process here is much like that of a writer or painter in that the editing need not be in any order.
Children have been able to experience the creative processes of the aural tradition by playing various kinds of music-making instruments. But this process requires musical literacy, thus the written tradition of composing OUT of real time has been elusive, not only to the child, but to the general public.
The goal of this web site is to provide an environment for children to experience creative play in the creation of music, with the same ease they have been able to enjoy with toys, drawing tools, building blocks, puppets, etc. In addition, special emphasis is placed on the written tradition. Two CD-ROMS have already been published (and are available through this web site) which are dedicated to this goal.
As the web site evolves, more activities will be added and some of the existing activities will be substituted. Each activity will be expanded into CD-ROMS and/or software which can be downloaded via the web.
The following are some thoughts behind the various activities:
Sketch pad and Rhythm Band
Here one can draw at the level of finger painting and get musical feedback. The participant can choose instrumental color and edit as a composer might, by changing pitches, making things go forward or backward, or inverting and duplicating.
The puzzles are melodies broken into four phrases. The participant will learn to recognize (by ear) the ordering of these phrases. Rhythm, melodic intervals and harmonic progressions are learned since the phrases are differentiated by subtle harmonic, melodic or rhythmic differences.
Playing with Music
These activities are designed to allow the participant to play with two of the basic qualities in music: tempo and dynamics. Two of the three activities also introduce notation.
If you have further questions or would like more information about this web site, please contact Morton Subotnick.