The Project that Grew

Mal. Evans
1981, Vol. 13, No. 2,

Abstract


design group were set a minor project brief which required them to consider the design of an aid for the teaching of literacy and numeracy to children in the Primary age range. A number of interesting projects began to develop and one of these by a girl pupil (Wendy Allen) was particularly interesting as she related the numeracy requirement in the 'set' project to the mathematics of music - note values - time intervals, note groupings, etc. She began to devise games including 'Music Snap', 'Musical Snakes and Ladders', 'Spin a Tune', etc.

One day as she explained one of these games (which consisted of throwing a die to obtain a numerical value and then counting round a board to land on a particular note, A, B flat, D etc., each child building up simple phrases of music as the game proceeded - I suggested that it might be interesting if the game board could rotate allowing say for a particular key-signature to be set, and any 'sharps' or 'flats' in that key to be indicated. Wendy was delighted with this suggestion and went home with the intention of making a card model that would do this for a particular key-signature.The following day she turned up unexpectedly with her model and very excited that she had got it to work!, indeed, she was sure it would work for other key-signatures too - a 'Calculator for Music Notation' was to emerge and become reality. In its final form the calculator was made of acrylic perspex and the 'mark 3' version can be set to indicate sharps or flats for all key-signatures where they apply, and to indicate scales, chords, arpeggios and intervals as well as Simple and complex harmonic notes.

With the Calculator Project, Wendy won a major prize in the senior group of the Design Council/G .E.C. Competition in 1978.


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