This is an online, revised (2002) version of Dr. L. Solomons 1973 Doctoral dissertation (University of West Virginia, College of Creative Arts, Division of Music), addressing symmetry in music composition.
The online format supports easy non-linear access to and cross reference among materials and includes some midi examples and applications that implement some of the proposed algorithms (e.g. Quadrate Transformations). Unfortunately, the potential of the online medium has not been sufficiently explored, missing an opportunity to create a truly interactive and engaging presentation of the otherwise well researched and discussed topic.
The extended and well organized bibliography could benefit from some updating (currently there are only 2 sources from the 1990s and 1 from the 1980s), especially with regards to the overall well written and much needed new section on Psychological considerations.
Solomon, an accomplished researcher and educator addresses the topic of symmetry in three additional portions of his website (see http://solomonsmusic.net/theory.htm ) which include some multimedia along with useful lists of additional resources (see for example the fractal nature of music at http://solomonsmusic.net/fracmus.htm). These well written and presented portions (along with some other relevant resources such as a table of pitch-class sets http://solomonsmusic.net/pcsets.htm ) are unfortunately not fully integrated to or at least cross referenced with the dissertation pages.
Also, revisions are not clearly separated from the original publication, making correct citation of the work difficult.
It would be very useful to create a page with links to additional resources (as Solomon has already done with his other 3 pages on symmetry) where relevant contributions (such as work by Dr Economou at Georgia Tech http://www.coa.gatech.edu/~economou/4_research/papers/index.htm ) could be included.
An overall very useful site.
Type of Material:
Doctoral dissertation in html format.
This resource could provide wide-ranging materials to a graduate seminar in music analysis, music and mathematics, or music composition. Most uses will require extensive instructor guidance and pairing with additional resources.
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Identify Major Learning Goals:
Extensive research on the specialized topic of symmetry in music. Consistent with doctoral dissertation format, this resource includes relevant in-depth literature review and several original (even if occasionally highly speculative) contributions.
This is a highly valuable resource to students and researchers interested in the topic.
Target Student Population:
Musicologists and graduate students, and (with significant instructor direction and contextualization) senior undergraduate students.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Basic web navigation and search skills.
Well researched, organized, and presented monograph on a topic that can be of high interest to musicology and composition graduate students.
Could benefit from an update in bibliography, especially given the amount of work being performed in the area within psychology, musicology, and even architecture (shape grammars).
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Well researched monograph, with extensive and useful critical literature review and interesting original contributions. Provides a good model of interdisciplinary research in music.
Requires instructor familiarity with the topic, extensive guidance to students, and contextualization of the concepts discussed through the use of additional relevant materials and many more musical and other examples.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Assuming users already interested in the topic (e.g. graduate students in musicology and composition with a knack for interdisciplinary approaches), this resource is easy to use, engaging, and informative. In most other cases, this resource will go over the users heads.
Taking better advantage of the publication medium (i.e. with better cross linking among relevant resources, searchability, inclusion of much more multimedia resources and examples, links to other relevant outside resources, etc.) could turn this resource into a unique and highly engaging teaching and research tool.
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