Musical Meaning Making and the Concept Development Process in the Course of Composition Learning

Peter Falthin conducts doctoral studies in music education in collaboration with the Faculty of Arts at Lund University. The dissertation is about intra-musical conceptualization processes in composition theory and the relationship between learning and meaning creation.

About the Dissertation Work

This thesis based on qualitative empirical studies deals with the problem of musical meaning making and the concept development process in the course of composition learning.

The boundaries and interplay between semantic significance and syntactic meaning are examined and discussed from a semiotic and cultural historical perspective, as is the relation between aesthetic meaning making and learning. Music students and professional composers participate in the empirical studies and their processes of creative development and structuring of knowledge is monitored by means of observation and interviews.

The setting for the composition tasks and projects is situated within electroacoustic music, but the research problems and findings concern a broader sense of composition learning and even musical learning in general.

Purpose of the Dissertation Work

This thesis contributes to the research field of music education by acknowledging some of the fundamental artistic research on composition, discussing it from an education perspective. Much of the contemporary techniques and aesthetic discussions commonplace in composition education practice are only rarely considered in music education research. This thesis takes on a quest to map out the field in a new way by bringing together research in music education with artistic research on composition, writings on music philosophy, semiotics and cognitive psychology.