The Appreciation of Electroacoustic Music - An Empirical Study with Inexperienced Listeners




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De Montfort University


Thesis or dissertation

Peer reviewed


The research contained within this PhD project forms part of the Pedagogical ElectroAcoustic Resource Site project of the Music, Technology and Innovation Research Centre of De Montfort University Leicester. This thesis contributes to current research in music education and musicology related to electroacoustic music. The purpose of this research was to investigate the influence of teaching on the change in inexperienced listeners’ appreciation of electroacoustic music. A curriculum was developed to introduce electroacoustic music to 11 to 14 year old students (Key Stage 3). The curriculum was based on concepts distinguishing between electroacoustic music using (mainly) real-world sounds and generated sounds. The curriculum is presented in an online learning environment with an accompanying teacher’s handbook. The learning environment represents the prototype for the pedagogical ElectroAcoustic Resource Site offering online learning, blended learning and classroom-based learning. The website was developed following user-centred design; the curriculum was tested in a large-scale study including four Key Stage 3 classes within three schools in Leicester. In five lessons music using real-world sounds (soundscape and musique concrète) was introduced, which included the delivery of a listening training, independent research and creative tasks (composition or devising a role-play). The teaching design followed the methods of active, collaborative and self-regulated learning. Data was collected by using questionnaires, direct responses to listening experiences before and after the teaching, and summaries of the teaching written by the participants. Following a Qualitative Content Analysis, the results of the study show that the participants’ appreciation of electroacoustic music changed during the course of these lessons. Learning success could be established as well as a declining alienation towards electroacoustic music. The principal conclusion is that the appreciation of electroacoustic music can be enhanced through the acquiring of conceptual knowledge, especially through the enhancing of listening skills following the structured listening training as well as the broadening of vocabulary to describe the listening experience.



electroacoustic music, music technology, pedagogy, education, curriculum, on-line learning, E-learning, musicology, Qualitative Content Analysis



Research Institute

Institute for Research in Criminology, Community, Education and Social Justice