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Music and Language in Interaction


Katharina Dahlbäck


Music and Language in Interaction – An Action Research Study of First-Grade Pupils

Licentiate thesis, 2011.


The aim of the study is to gain and develop knowledge about how school children participate and learn in lessons where music and language interact. Common features of both music and language, such as sound elements, pitch, rhythm, melody, syntax and meaning, are investigated. Through action research, questions are asked about the ways children participate and interact in music and language activities and also about the mediating functions of music and language to enable the children to communicate in different ways.

A class teacher and a special education teacher participated in the action where, four days a week, 26 seven-year-old children began each day with a structured program. Four children were observed closely. The empirical data consists of videotapes, observation protocols, interviews, logs and meeting notes. The results show how, in accordance with sociocultural theory, pupils became more and more involved and how they engaged in multimodal learning where di.erent learning styles were encouraged.

The songs provided a clear structure in which sounds, letters, words, rhyme, syllables, sentences, and content could be explored by all the pupils in the group, and where everyone had access to the same learning object. Linguistic concepts and symbols were used to help pupils understand musical aspects. The ability to listen for sounds and rhythm in both music and language was practised, repeated and varied by using songs and music. The pupils learnt to express language and music through participation, social interaction and transformations in the activities they took part in. Language and music activities in interaction contain a rich variety of communication and semiotic resources.

Important aspects for participation were involvement, variation, authenticity, repetition and structure. Music and language in interaction may develop individual learning processes in a social community through educational differentiation.

This is thesis no 27 in the ArtMonitor series.

ISBN: 978-91-978477-6-6

The licentiate thesis is e-published

The dissertation is e-published in GUPEA (Göteborgs universitets publikationer - Elektroniskt Arkiv). Download the thesis

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