Thinking about the representation of music: a case-study of invented notation

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Abstract

Children's invented notations have been viewed as "windows" onto their musical thinking and the study of these notations has provided fertile ground for the investigation of aspects of children's musical perception and conception. A common feature of children's invented notations is the "borrowing" of symbols and strategies from a range of symbol systems, including drawing, music, number, and writing systems. Does this activity indicate that children operate from a common semiotic function or do they observe constraints in their use of symbols from different systems? Importantly, do these notations operate as referential communicative tools or are they formal problem-spaces for children as they think about the representation of music experience? These questions about the meaning and function of invented notation are explored through a case-study of the musical and notational work of a kindergarten girl over a one-year period. Findings of the study suggest that invented notations do not function solely as a denotive system that refers to and communicates information about music.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-28
Number of pages10
JournalBulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education
Issue number161-162
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

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