Multimodality: an illuminating approach to unravelling the complexities of composing with ICT?

NM Breeze

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


Having previously been employed to investigate practice in science and English classrooms, theories of multimodality would appear to have much to contribute to the investigation of ICT in the music classroom, owing to the inherently multimodal nature of music software and group discourse. This paper reports on a recently completed PhD study in which a multimodal perspective was used as a prism with which to investigate pupil composing in the classroom. Primary and secondary pupils composed in groups using a computer with sequencing software linked to a music keyboard. The primary data collection medium was digital video, which was supported with other methods. A computer-based tool was specially developed to allow the data to be categorised, thematically linked and presented in terms of linguistic, aural, visual, spatial and gestural 'modes'. This allowed analysis at the micro level to be undertaken of the pupil discourse revealing much about the mediating effects of the learning environment upon the composing process. A key finding from the study was that the multimodal theoretical perspective revealed aspects of the music classroom setting that have often remained tacit and unexplored. These aspects included the use of space in the classroom and how it encouraged or precluded group collaboration, the teacher’s allocation of group ‘roles’ and the time allowed for musical experimentation. In particular, the perspective allowed for an in-depth examination of pupils’ transformations of their musical ideas to be made.
Translated title of the contributionMultimodality: an illuminating approach to unravelling the complexities of composing with ICT?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe sixth international research in music education conference
Pages29 - 30
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Name and Venue of Event: University of Exeter
Conference Proceedings/Title of Journal: Summaries of the 2009 Conference proceedings
Medium/genre: Music education
Conference Organiser: Sarah Hennessy


Dive into the research topics of 'Multimodality: an illuminating approach to unravelling the complexities of composing with ICT?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this