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Peer Review

Chord Construction applet



Overall Numeric Rating:

4 stars
Content Quality: 4 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Dec 05, 2002 by Music
Overview: This skill test offers you the opportunity to build chords in any inversions from a given note (including Augmented Sixths). The applet is interactive and lets you check for the correct answer and also keeps a running score. There is also a link to an online music reference that presents intervals, chords and scales. This reference is heavily hyperlinked and offers audio files for many of the notational examples.
Type of Material: Interactive Java-based applet.
Recommended Uses: Drill and practice for developing mastery of chords/inversions. This skill test could be used to supplement many beginning music theory classes. It would require some initial grounding for the student but once in the online theory reference much of the information needed to use the applet successfully is presented.
Technical Requirements: A multimedia computer with a current Java capable browser.
Identify Major Learning Goals: Interval, chord and scale building.
Target Student Population: High school and college students.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Although the background reference material is quite complete some musical performance experience and a knowledge of chord definitions, inversions... would help.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: The reference material available to the student underpins the more pratical skills required of the applet.
Concerns: The input method of selecting the notes for input from selecting buttons rather than clicking directly on the staff is cumbersome at first. Although there is quite a bit of audio support in the reference area the applet itself has no companion audio.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: This applet would be very useful as a practical lab for beginning music theory students. Easy to use, good for developing conceptual skill.
Concerns: It would be nice to have audio that accompanies the notational selections. Of course that would increase the download time and be counterproductive.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: The instructions for use of the applet are clear.
Concerns: It would be better if the student could click directly on the staff to input the notes required to build the chords.

Other Issues and Comments: With only a small amout of contextual information this applet could be used quite effectively in a beginning music theory course. The applet is easy to use and effective for facilitating chord construction skills (including ninths and augmented sixths) , however, the exercise provides no audio and hence no aural reinforcement.