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    Ideas for Aural Skills Transcription Projects

    Hi all,

    I'm interested in your thoughts about the implementation of transcription projects in aural skills that are centered around transcribing music for which there is no accessible score. I'm hoping to use music for which there is no score for several reasons:

    1. I'd like to try to diversify the kinds of music that my students are engaging with.

    2. I've had a lot of issues with cheating in other classes at my institution, and I'm concerned that students will just have Google listen to the recording, tell them the piece, and then simply find the score and copy directly from there.

    3. There is also something very artificial and contrived about having students transcribe music for which scores are easily accesible. When would they ever need to do this in real life?

    The main issue that I'm thinking about is assessment. I don't have time to try to transcribe lots of music, and even if I did, the idea of grading the accuracy of a transcription of music for which there is no score seems problematic. I like the structure of Megan Long's project that she uses here: https://hcommons.org/deposits/item/hc:27839/, but she doesn't provide much information on grading something like this.

    I guess I don't have any specific questions at this point, but am more interested to hear what other people have done and what you've learned in the process.






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    • 3 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
    • Hi David,

      I don't have anything that addresses your exact questions, but I asked my students in the fall to do a transcription of a piece of music that could be broadly understood as "not using functional tonality as we've learned it." This was a group project designed to encourage the students to think creatively about how the skills we'd learned might apply to repertoires we hadn't studied. Several groups chose music by Indian musicians (both popular and classical), several chose European modernists (Béla Bartók, Johanna Beyer), and a few chose other repertoires.

      For each week, I gave a certain number of minutes I expected the students to work and a specific outcome to share with me (a reflection on how they'd represent the meter/rhythms/pitches, their notation so far, etc.) for feedback. The final result was graded half for "thoughtful and reasonably accurate engagement with meter and rhythm" and half for "thoughtful and reasonably accurate engagement with pitch." They also presented these transcriptions to each other.

      The grading wasn't particularly picky, which seemed appropriate since I didn't feel I'd given them detailed listening skills for all the repertoires they chose. Instead, since my goal was for them to start applying their skills in creative and new ways, I mostly graded on completion.

      I hope that's a little bit helpful!


    • Hi Tim,

      That is helpful, thanks! I like the idea of having weekly goals and presentations at the end. I'll definitely file those away.