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Cyborg learners: Becoming-with in the ecology of digital music composition
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Teaching and Learning.
2022 (English)In: Finnish Journal of Music Education, ISSN 1239-3908, Vol. 25, no 1, p. 10-30Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Digital technology for musical purposes creates new means for embodiment and expressions of music. The aim of this article is to explore a non-linear digital music composition application in relation to two composers active in the field of contemporary art music. Drawing on the posthumanist ontological turn the study offers a sociomaterial understanding of learning practices. The empirical material consists partly of an interview with Jesper Nordin, a composer and music/composition application creator who is active in the contemporary art music field. In addition, the author’s own a/r/tographical exploration together with the iPad application called Gestrument, for compositional purposes constitutes a part of the material. The generated material was analysed through a posthumanist narrative, constructed and presented as entangled stories of learning/becoming in relation with the digital actant Gestrument, with human and nonhuman actants in a wider sense. The results introduce a discussion on the implications a posthumanist sociomaterial understanding can have for music education practices. For example, the composition here becomes relata, it is diffracted to multiple becomings in relation to different interpreters, musicians, traditions, compositions and so forth. When employed for the purpose of composition as an activity within music education, digital hardware/software can offer multiple ways of intra-acting with music, other ways than via common musical instruments, and by that differentiate the process of conceptualizing subjective ideas in multiple directions, emphasizing diffraction and relationality. In this understanding of music creation as relational and fluid, the employment of specific digital actants seems to help corroborate modes of conceptualizing music, but also act as a partner of renewal as well as a sounding board for musical ideas.

Abstract [fi]

Musiikillisiin tarkoituksiin kehitetty digitaalinen teknologia luo uusia keinoja musiikin ilmentämiseen ja musiikilliseen ilmaisuun. Tämän artikkelin tavoitteena on tutkia epälineaarista digitaalista sävellyssovellusta suhteessa kahteen nykytaidemusiikin alalla toimivaan säveltäjään. Posthumanistisen ontologisen käänteen pohjalta tutkimus tarjoaa sosiomateriaalisen näkökulman oppimiskäytäntöihin. 

Empiirinen aineisto koostuu osittain haastattelusta nykytaidemusiikin alalla toimivan säveltäjän ja musiikki-/sävellyssovellusten luojan Jesper Nordinin kanssa. Lisäksi aineistona on kirjoittajan oma ”a/r/tografinen” tutkimus sävellystarkoituksiin luodun Gestrument-nimisen iPad sovelluksen kanssa. Syntynyttä materiaalia analysoitiin posthumanistisen narratiivin kautta, joka konstruoitiin ja esitettiin toisiinsa kietoutuneina kertomuksina oppimisesta tai tulemisesta suhteessa digitaaliseen aktantti Gestrumentiin, ihmisten ja ei-inhimillisten aktanttien kanssa laajemmassa merkityksessä. 

Tulokset käynnistävät keskustelun posthumanistisen sosiomateriaalisen ymmärryksen vaikutuksista musiikkikasvatuksen käytäntöihin.  Esimerkiksi sävellyksestä tulee tässä suhteellinen; se taipuu moniin ”tulemisiin” suhteessa eri tulkitsijoihin kuten muusikoihin, traditioihin ja sävellyksiin. Kun digitaalista laitteistoa tai ohjelmistoa käytetään musiikkikasvatuksessa säveltämistarkoituksessa, voidaan tarjota moninaisia ”sisäisiä ” tapoja toimia musiikin kanssa. Nämä tavat ovat toisenlaisia kuin käytettäessä ns. tavallisia soittimia. Näin subjektiivisten ideoiden käsitteellistämisprosessi voidaan eriyttää moniin suuntiin painottaen taipuisuutta ja relationaalisuutta.

Kun musiikin luominen ymmärretään relationaalisena ja sulavana, tiettyjen digitaalisten aktanttien käyttö näyttää auttavan vahvistamaan musiikin käsitteellistämisen tapoja sekä toimimaan uudistumisen partnerina ja äänialustana musiikillisille ideoille. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2022. Vol. 25, no 1, p. 10-30
Keywords [en]
Arts Based Educational Research, Digital Composition, Music Education, New Materialism, Posthumanism, Gestrument
Keywords [fi]
Taiteeseen perustuva kasvatuksen tutkimus, digitaalinen sävellys, musiikkikasvatus, uusmaterialismi, posthumanismi, Gestrument
National Category
Music Didactics
Research subject
Teaching and Learning with Specialisation in the Arts Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-207630OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-207630DiVA, id: diva2:1686128
Funder
Stockholm UniversityAvailable from: 2022-08-08 Created: 2022-08-08 Last updated: 2023-10-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Becoming Cyborg Composer: The Ecology of Digital Music Composition Didaktik
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Becoming Cyborg Composer: The Ecology of Digital Music Composition Didaktik
2022 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this licentiate thesis is to explore the sociomaterial relationality of music composition education with digital hardware/software and its outcomes. Two studies were conducted interleaved as original articles in the thesis. Article 1 explores learning in creational processes involving digital actants and two composers of contemporary art music. The posthumanist concept of the cyborg is enacted as a signifier for learning and becoming in relation with material actants. An interview with a composer and music application creator is analysed through a constructed posthumanist narrative entangled with the researcher’s narrative of a music creation process involving the app. Also, the app’s meaning-making capacities are entangled in the narrative. Results show that alignments between human and nonhuman actants constitute a part of learning in music composing practices. Artefacts move from being evident and present to becoming transparent and in a background relation during a learning process.

In article 2 a composing assignment conducted in four year 9 classes in a Swedish compulsory school is explored. Employing the posthumanist concept compositionism as a research approach, educational activities are composed into assemblages of actants performing the outcomes of the activities. Results bring the human/nonhuman actants as hybrid originators of outcomes to the fore. Learning with digital actants also showed to be hardware/software specific when past experiences of music composing were limited, with the risk of reducing pupils to intermediaries of information between functions in the digital software.

In the summarising parts of this compilation thesis, a background of the research field of didaktik and subject didaktik is delineated. Also, the distinction between didactics and didaktik is discussed and the reason for employing the Swedish/German spelling is explicated. Furthermore, a background of composing and music creation as subject matter in the Swedish school system is drawn. Theoretical and methodological approaches are further developed in the summarising parts. Posthumanism as theoretical onset has a profound impact on understandings of relationality within educational activities and on how materiality is affecting learning. Methodological approaches are actuated in relation to the research material to find new meanings of sociomaterial relationality in music education.

As one outcome of reading the results from the studies through posthumanism, the tentative term postdidaktik is proposed and discussed. Following the ontological turn of posthumanism that re-entangles human with nature and matter, postdidaktik becomes an implication for understanding learning in sociomaterial relationality. This also affects an understanding of didaktik as lesson planning, enactment, and analysis. The practical employment of postdidaktik is thus further delineated and proposed for further research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholm University, 2022. p. 161
Keywords
Music education, Music composition, Digitalisation, Posthumanism, Didaktik
National Category
Music Didactics Philosophy Learning
Research subject
Teaching and Learning with Specialisation in the Arts Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-207722 (URN)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Stockholm University
Available from: 2022-08-15 Created: 2022-08-10 Last updated: 2022-08-15Bibliographically approved

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