The Mood of the Fifth: Exploring Interbeing with(in) the Refrain

Boland, Neil
Gibbons, Andrew
Schoone, Adrian
Ings, Welby
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Doctor of Philosophy
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Auckland University of Technology

In this study, I present five pieces I composed which explore Rudolf Steiner’s indications on music for young children. I assess the potential of Steiner’s comments on the suitability of the interval of the fifth to guide the composition of music for young children. The five short pieces are representative of stages on the compositional journey I have undertaken during the doctoral process and show an emergent and evolving response to the interval of the fifth. The doctorate comprises a live performance of the pieces using harp and voice, plus an exegesis. A corpus of additional pieces composed during the doctoral period is included as an appendix. The compositional approach I adopt is meditative involving first-person research. Using the metaphor of the rhizome, I investigate Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of interbeing and, as a composer, I explore interbeing with(in) the refrain, what Deleuze and Guattari call the cosmic content of music. In doing this I explore points of intersectionality between Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy and Steiner’s worldview. I use the composition of pieces for young children to examine Steiner’s comments on the fifth in relation to his other writing on the nature of music and on childhood development, and consider the degree to which they are reflected in contemporary practice in Steiner early childhood settings in Aotearoa New Zealand. I reflect on Steiner’s work in the light of music education practice in non-Steiner settings and the diverse aims of music education. Using Hamilton and Jaaniste’s (2010) model of the “dual orientation” of arts-based research, simultaneously looking within and without, I adopt multiple positions from which to speak and write. These include as an academic, a performer, a composer, an educator, a diarist, a practising meditant and as an inquiring esotericist. I document stages on a personal and compositional journey of transformation, indicating what reaching out to work with aspects of the cosmic in music can involve for a composer and meditant. Following the commentary on the five pieces in the mood of the fifth, I offer an end contemplation of the overall compositional journey. In this I explore lines of flight which were suggested during the course of the doctoral process, indicating possible points of contact with other ontologies with a spiritual foundation. In addition to the pieces comprising the creative work, the development of the compositional process has generated insights into ways in which composition can be extended through meditation. These include using imaginative visioning, expanding a single musical component, such as a note or an interval, into a whole piece, and the development of a compositional method comprising dialogue with forces of energy perceived meditatively.

Early childhood music , First-person research , Steiner education , Mood of the fifth , Waldorf education
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