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Easy, cheap and true : the case for promoting the Curwen method of teaching choral singing in developing countries

Stevens, Robin 2003, Easy, cheap and true : the case for promoting the Curwen method of teaching choral singing in developing countries, in Curriculum innovation in music, Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong, pp. 343-348.

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Title Easy, cheap and true : the case for promoting the Curwen method of teaching choral singing in developing countries
Author(s) Stevens, Robin
Conference name Asia-Pacific Symposium on Music Education Research (4th : 2003 : Hong Kong, China)
Conference location Hong Kong
Conference dates 9-12 Jul. 2003
Title of proceedings Curriculum innovation in music
Editor(s) Lai, Chi Rita Yip
Chi, Cheung Leung
Wai, Tong Lau
Publication date 2003
Conference series Asia-Pacific Symposium on Music Education Research
Start page 343
End page 348
Publisher Hong Kong Institute of Education
Place of publication Hong Kong
Summary The Curwen method (Tonic Sol-fa) was developed by the Rev. John Cunven in England from the 1840s originally as a means of teaching music reading from staff notation. However, in the 1872 Standard Course, staff notation was dispensed with altogether in favour of Tonic Sol-fa "letter" notation. By the end of the century, Tonic Sol-fa had spread from Britain to many overseas countries. Although aspects were later incorporated into staff-based teaching
systems such as the Kodaly approach and the "New Curwen Method", Tonic Sol-fa in its late nineteenth century ' form has been "extinct" in Britain for several decades. Nevertheless, it is "alive and well", indeed flourishing, in certain African, Asian and Pacific countries. This paper analyses the Tonic Sol-fa system in terms of contemporary pedagogical practice and notational theory. The paper also reports on the use of Tonic Sol-fa in two countries - South Africa and Fiji - where it is now the mainstay of community choral music. It is argued that, particularly for developing countries, the Curwen method and its letter notation should be seriously considered as an alternative to staff notation methods as a highly effective means of promoting school and community choral singing.
ISBN 9629491346
9789629491345
Language eng
Field of Research 130299 Curriculum and Pedagogy not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education
HERDC Research category E1 Full written paper - refereed
Copyright notice ©2003, Department of Creative Arts, The Hong Kong Institute of Education
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30004929

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of Social and Cultural Studies in Education
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