Chapter

Musical literacy: Reading traditional clef notation

Janet Mills and Gary E. McPherson

in The Child as Musician

Second edition

Published in print September 2015 | ISBN: 9780198744443
Published online November 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780191805776 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198744443.003.0009
Musical literacy: Reading traditional clef notation

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This chapter discusses what it means for a child to be “musically literate.” It focuses on the fundamental aspects of learning to use traditional staff notation, and how children develop their capacity to make music, reflect on the music in which they are engaged, express their views on music which they play, hear, or create, speak about and listen to music in order to form judgments, and read, write, comprehend, and interpret staff notation. The chapter shows how conceptions of being “musically literate” are fraught with problems related to defining what is meant by music and the various situations in which children might be engaged musically. It is also suggested that reading staff notation is not a prerequisite for successful engagement with and appreciation of music, and that an exclusive concentration on reading has held back the progress of countless learners, while putting many others off completely.

Keywords: musical literacy; music staff notation; music notation; musical development; literacy; reading music; notating music; clef notation

Chapter.  8448 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis ; Developmental Psychology

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