Visual expression can be a powerful medium in helping children find a way into musical syntax, which can be applied both at the theoretical/analytical level and at the practical level.
Terminological drawing: by visualizing music- theoretical concepts children not only learn to understand a particular concept from within its musical context but also learn to symbolise the concept and acquire an understanding of its multiple meanings and universal character.
Transforming drawings: by abstracting from their drawings - which might be a temporal reading or might be influenced by the act of drawing itself - in order to give musical meaning, children learn to understand music as a temporal art. Then music becomes, more than a discipline to learn to reproduce, a creative discipline to learn to generate new things, such as we find in plastic arts or dance.
The method fosters both trans- and interdisciplinary thinking and a creative development in the longer term.
- Jela (10) -
Jela has interpreted the combination of two tonalities as the combination of two identities.
Crescendo-accelerando and diminuendo-ritenuto (Run)
- Michaël (10) -
This drawing can be seen as a graphical score in which references are made to time and space.
Remarkable: the horizontal principal lines represent ‘the runner’. The secondary lines represent ‘the energy and sweating of the runner’ and here Michaël captured a biological process in lines.
- Emma (9), Tara (10) & Katrien (12) -
Story: it is night….a nightmare. A bat approaches and disappears, the same happens with a spider and then again with the bat. The nightmare is interrupted by the chimes of a clock striking midnight and after a silence the nightmare continues powerfully, with both the bat and the spider on stage at the same time. The spider and the bat disappear one after the other, everything ebbs away and the dawn breaks.
Resulting musical form: intro, development, general pause, tutti and coda.
Remarkable: the incorporation of time has led to a golden section ratio. [ ] A shared psychological perception, a ‘group ear’ and their capacity to organise, resulted in a composition with a unity of structure, as if it had been the work of a single composer or an ensemble picture drawn by a single hand.
On the keyboard, Tara marks off a play area between two octaves, with middle C as the dividing line. Using motor symmetry, she lets the children move in such a way (at first defiantly with little steps, then more sneakily and finally boldly) that a structure with contrapuntal characteristics (imitation, inversion, retrograde motion and stretto) and asymmetrical rhythm and phrasing spontaneously appears. Here we see how an inner non-musical phenomenon (and transvisual picture) is projected via the structure of the keyboard and how rules of the game are crystallised into the smallest possible musical form
Note: It is interesting to compare Tara’s piece Do with Kurtág’s (1979) piece Hommage à Bartók. Both Tara and Kurtág play with the middle C, work symmetrically, create an asymmetrical phrasing and crystallise ideas into their smallest possible musical form. Both pieces would be enigmatic, if we did not know the underlying thoughts or title. Another aspect is that, in Do, a diatonic scale is organised from the rules of the game. If we look at Kurtág’s (1979) Flowers we are, Frail Flowers ...., we see how a diatonic scale is ordered from a poetic contemplation.
Just play with major and minor thirds in the form of a double chiasmus.
Note: A double chiasmus is found in one of the poems of Paul van Ostayen
"... Hello fisherman fish with the pipe, hello fisherman fish with the cap,
cap and pipe fisherman fish…”
Prélude non mesuré 1
- May (48) -
Create a chord scheme (functional harmony). Play broken chords up and down, alternating between both hands. Make a transition from one chord to another through a melodic turn. Delimit sentences with longer notes, rest, fermata. Try to visualise the parlando-rubato style in the score.
Prélude non mesuré 3
- Elaboration of Prélude non mesuré 1, J.M. Roels -
Incorporate key- strange- chords (or free chosen tones) that you elaborate melodically.
- Jef (11) -
for piano four hands
The double harmonic major scale is approached (strong beats) from the black keys. The melody contains spontaneously applied changes of measure. The strong beats shift opposite those of the secondo part, resulting in the principle of the lowest common multiple.
Note: Jef has heard a lot of folk dance music and was able to assimilate its characteristics. Duda exhibits parallel characteristics with Dudás from Bartók (1938) and with the last number from Bartók (1994) in which, according to Geraedts (1961), Bartók incorporated an authentic ‘Duda’ melody.
Derived working model: combine fifths with the double harmonic major scale of D. Musette BWV Anhang 126 (Anna Magdalena Bach) may inspire you. Apply an ABA form with tonic and dominant.
- Emma (16) & Tara (17) -
for two pianos (long-term development)
Based on a song created by Emma. The melody has an open character and is a combination of different modes.
- Jef (15) & J.M. Roels -
(competition) for two pianos (long term development)
This stilistic exercise was created together, entirely by ear, after Jef first studied a fugue from Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. Techniques used are: imitation, modulation, transposition, variation and augmentation.
- Karolien (9) -
- Karolien (19) -
A 'sound painting' about the Autumn: transience, swaying branches, fluttering leaves, rich color pallet (different modulations)