Genre discovery tool

LATIMPE is a conference about research in music education, and during the 2020 edition, it focused on making the students adopt a researcher's vision towards music learning. It is organized by the Norwegian Academy of Music and I presented a tool that lets the students research and experiment with music genres.

Genre Discovery Tool

Author: Joaquín Jiménez-Sauma


Teaching music includes appreciating and distinguishing the elements present in musical pieces as well as their semiotical, behavioral, social, and ideological characteristics. In-depth knowledge of musical genres helps to understand creations in a greater context; their formation and meaning are an essential part of music education for creators as well. In this project, we developed a technological platform to enhance active learning and to test the teaching of the set of socially accepted rules known as musical genres using digital tools. Originally conceived as an installation for young students attending a science fair, we developed the Genre Discovery Tool (GDT). This tool enables visitors to discover, perform and improvise with independent, dissociated parts of musical pieces in a way similar to a musical performance on a computer that reacts in real-time to the user's actions through an intuitive physical user interface. By being able to hear, separate, and put together again the rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic parts of musical pieces belonging to different genres, as well as to hear each channel individually, the user can understand its composition. We can draw the users' attention to the function of each part or instrument of a genre’s music mix focusing on the appreciation and understanding of music as a sum of parts rather than just being exposed to recorded pieces of specific musical genres. We test the impact of this tool in music appreciation, musical genre identification, and musical improvisation on a group of students. Listeners become aware of the importance of each musical section and are curious about experimenting with combining and creating new ideas.

Keywords: Music Education, Music Technology, Music Appreciation, Learning Tools