The Tortoise and the Magic Tree: Strategies to Develop Comprehensive and Holistic Music Analytical Listening Skills Through the Use of ‘Ghost Scores’

Anri Herbst


In the early and gullible years of my teaching career I marvelled on occasion at a few boastful colleagues who informed me of their individual roads to ear-training success. All one must do, one of them once told me, was spend the first two weeks with freshmen mastering aural interval recognition. From there on, the sailing was as on glassy seas. Some decade or so after these rash promises were made, 1 was forced to conclude, reluctantly, that my informants were either sorcerers or liars. Pitch intervals yield to no such ‘mastery’ whether in two weeks or in two years.

  • (Thomson, 1988, 321)
  • 1 still have a vivid memory of bursting into spontaneous laughter when reading the paragraph just presented in 1990, as this passage summarized methods of‘Aural Training’ or ‘Ear Training’ during one of the many periods when 1 spent time researching the subject (Naude, 1987; Herbst, 1993). It is rather sad that this situation, unfortunately, is still representative of what is happening in many primary, secondary, and tertiary aural education institutions. Hence the rationale of this chapter is to present a conceptual framework that moves away from methodologies utilizing fragments ot isolated musical elements. Countering this approach, I propose a systemic methodology in the form of ‘Ghost Scores’ — scores in which isolated missing elements are filled in by the student until a whole is reached. Endeavoring to bring some of the magic back into a subject that students often approach with apprehension (Wright, 2016; Van Zyl, 2020), I draw on the explanatory power ot a short story with a tortoise as its main character. The value of this story lies in its ability to reflect the foundations of an intricately woven multidisciplinary framework through the application of a beautiful yet simplistic narrative. It offers an intuitive and creative analogy that is able to showcase the value of the use of skeleton maps (Ghost Scores), which draw on entire works taken from the repertoire.

Holism vs. Fragmentation

Prior to my research on aural education (since 1987 ongoing), a number of scholars criticized fragmentary approaches in favor of holistic approaches (tor example, Alldahl, 1974; Wittlich & Humphries,

1974; Gauldin, 1974; Brink, 1980; Herbst, 1993; and after 1993, Pratt ct a/., 1998; Karpinski, 2000; Klonoski, 2006; Wright, 2016; Andrianopoulou, 2020, to mention a few). Some argued for the use of‘real’ material taken from repertoire of all style periods (for example, Mackamul, 1984a, 1984b; Kaiser, 1998: Cleland et a!., 2014), a trend that was especially noticeable in sight-singing sources such as textbooks by Benward and Carr (1991), as well as Rogers and Ottman (2013). Karpinski and Kram (2017) included multipart singing and retained vocal notation. Hall and Urban (2019) contributed to the more recent rhythmic reading and improvisation literature.

The trajectory of aural-skills development since the Middle Ages (ct. Haas & Karkoschka, 1981; Herbst, 1993; Andrianopoulou, 2020) has led to the subject entering many realms ot formalized education, where it has been referred to as either Solfege, Gehorbildung, Gehooropleiding, Aural Training, Ear Training, and/or Horlcere (Kruse, 1993, 2000), among others. Recently arguments have been put forward in tavor of utilizing ‘Aural Education’ as an umbrella term in an attempt to place emphasis on the developmental nature of the subject, a concept captured more aptly in the German equivalent, namely, ‘ Gehorbilding’ where ‘Bildung,’ refers to the building of educational structures (Andrianopoulou, 2020) to cultivate musicianship. This chapter does not aim to trace the trajectory ot the development of‘Aural Education,’ the term that will be utilized to encapsulate a plethora of methods that have developed over the past 200 years, but instead to introduce a cognitive-based framework for a subject that grew in importance since Guido of Arrezo’s hand offered a visual representation of the hexachord through solmization.

In 1988, the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy devoted an entire issue to the subject, indicating the value scholars place on aural education. Since then numerous publications saw the light with a strong focus on providing teaching material and structured courses (tor example, Marcozzi, 2009; Cleland et al.y 2014), often with the focus on developing inner hearing, also referred to as ‘mental hearing.’ and ‘auralization’ (Karpinski, 2000) ‘audiation’ (Gordon, 2012) and ‘auditory imagery’ (Covington, 2015), through the means of sight singing, dictation (Potter, 1990), and partial aural analysis (Potter, 1988; Ilomaki, 2011, 2013). Klonoski (2006) proposes ‘subvocalization’ or ‘silent singing’ (56) firstly as a way to avoid disturbing other students while singing, and secondly to develop inner hearing. In this process a person first sings a section loudly, then softer until inaudible, followed by a phase of preparing the vocal apparatus as if going to sing, but without following through, thus singing silently. Thereafter the melody is repeated in full voice.

Ulrich Kaiser published two volumes on Gehoranalyse (Aural analysis) in 1998, demarcating a very distinct move toward macroscopic aural-based analysis of a variety of works drawn from the small ensemble and orchestral repertoire with microscopic treatment of specific excerpts, the latter being referred to as ‘extractive listening’ by Gary S. Karpinski (2000). Kinaesthetic concepts as found in Dalcroze’s eurhythmies have been clothed in a newer jacket called ‘embodied cognition’ (Cox, 2017) and were also included by Andrianopoulou (2020) in her model of aural education.1

Toward a Cognitive-Based Theoretical Framework

It is valid to ask what novel contribution this chapter can make to the vast number of already existing publications outlining my personal library. It is from this library I take a book that has been dear to me ever since I started my ongoing journey in unraveling aural perception. Emily Ruth Brink caught my attention in 1986 and has kept it ever since. By viewing the teaching of aural skills as applied music theory, Brink (1980) forged a link between aural and theory knowledge, thus breaking the isolated manner in which the subject was taught during the 1970s through the use of isolated self-composed exercises. Knowledgeable about the trends in music psychology at that stage, she based her taxonomy of aural tasks on cognitive development research that indicated that the primary stage of music perception is holistic and fast, explaining the listening experience from an overview perspective from where more detail such as phrases, motives, and figures can be observed and analyzed. Through the combination of a second layer ot grouping detail, the listener moves back to the large-scale structure with the advantage of being able to view the whole in greater depth than was initially perceived. The sequence underlying this holistic approach to listening, also becoming a way of teaching music theoretical knowledge, functions as follows: Large-scale structure: overview; Small-scale structure: phrase level; Large scale structure: grouping.

Wertheimer, often seen as the father of Gestalt theory, emphasized the intertwined relationship between philosophy and psychology. His stance is still valid today, although not entirely without criticism, and the principles of Gestalt also need to be placed within the music psychological and neuromusicological discourses with specific reference to often ‘misguided’ views that polarize (au) (o)ral-written teaching systems. Wertheimer, Kohler, and Koffka maintained, contrary to the often recited phrase that the whole is more than the sum of its parts, that ‘there are experienced objects and relationships that are fundamentally different from collections of sensations, parts, or pieces, or “and- sums” . . . [T]he Gestalt theorists asserted that dynamic structures in experience determine what will be wholes and parts, figure and background, in particular situations’ (Ash, 1995, 1, author’s italics).

The temporal nature of music as a sonic art form calls for an interdisciplinary and multisensory approach incorporating the psychoacoustic processes of auditory musical ‘sense-making’ alongside semantic and episodic memory that play into working memory as proposed by Baddeley and Hitch (1974, 1994), Baddeley (2000, 2012). Chenette (2018) reopened the debate on working memory by querying the number of musical chunks it can hold at any point in time but reported that musicians showed an increase in the processing of information when compared to nonmusicians. Although the debate has not been settled yet, we need to be aware of the size of working memory, as it has, among other things, a bearing on the number of hearings during teaching, and at a later stage, assessment.

Huron indicates the role of anticipation (2006) as being a key factor in the formation of not only musical Gestalts but also affect. The work by Bamberger on intuitive listening and mind maps (1972, 1995, 2000, 2013) in combination with Swanwick’s notion of ‘teaching music musically’ (1999) largely inform the theoretical framework of this chapter, which is furthermore situated in Reber’s implicit and explicit learning (1993) and Nzewi’s ‘philosophy of space’ (2005).

We have moved beyond the stage of merely studying the auditory process without paying attention to the neural processes initiated when a sound wave hits the eardrum. Hodges and Sebald (2011) provide a thorough description of this process, supplemented with animated DVD material. They continue to discuss auditory perception following the pathway to the temporal and frontal lobe via the brainstem to explain how listeners are ‘making sense’ of what they hear. Andrianopoulou further summarizes the process that starts with the peripheral auditory system, the auditory pathways, and auditory cortex, pointing out that ‘the participation of the whole brain at different stages of auditory processing can be seen as rendering music as a nonlinear holistic affair’ (2020, 43). She explains that music perception entails the understanding of the musical scale and discernment of contour as well as complex pitch calculations and the processing of rhythm. The musical syntax has to be determined, meaning has to be assigned to aesthetic, social, and emotional affect, and attention must be paid to motoric responses (44). In correlation with Gestalt theory, grouping (Pragnanz) takes place as a result of proximity, similarity, closure, symmetry, common fate, continuity, good Gestalt, and past experiences (Deutsch, 2013, 183—248).

Past experiences draw on episodic memory, which relates to an episode or event that often elicits an effect or creates meaning, whereas semantic memory includes knowledge about music theoretical structures. Huron’s (2006) theory of anticipation comes into play here. Despite the fact that listeners can predict cadences based on previous knowledge, they still get a deep sense of fulfilment even when a work is known (hence the term ‘sweet anticipation’). The notion of teaching music musically entails a specific choice in repertoire and methodology. When considering the way in which humans make musical sense in neural terms, it is clear that the methodology would involve presenting the material in a holistic manner. A theoretical framework would also take cognizance of implicit or tacit knowledge. Once tacit knowledge becomes explicit, arguably a loop is formed in which implicit knowledge would become automated knowledge once it reaches the explicit phase (Herbst, 2019).

Lessons From Africa

Although this chapter deals specifically with Western classical music, the oral-written debate forms part ot the decolonization discourse in Africa. Without delving deeply into this issue, the reader is referred to an activity described in Herbst (2019) that aims to combine orality and the ability to ‘fill space’ (Nzewi, 2005), also known as a form of hocketing in Western music. A short rhythmic passage in Western staff notation is performed on one djembe and must be completed with an oral-based improvised phrase that would ‘fill the musical space’ left by the other djembe player. Embedded in this activity is also the notion of Ubuntu, namely, that a person is a person by virtue of others. Taking the philosophy of humanism (Gade, 2011) into a musical realm, one could argue that a fragment only becomes relevant within a holistic context: a musical element takes on meaning (virtue) by the meaning of other musical elements (the musical context or whole).

Within African adage, the tortoise is an archetype of wisdom. In proposing a cognitive-based model for aural education 1 would like to refer to a story by Diane Hofmeyr that ends with the following phrase: ‘Then Tortoise, the slowest, smallest animal goes to Lion — and sings a special song to remind him of the name.’ (Hofmeyr & Grobler, 2013, n.p.). ‘What name?’ a reader may rightfully ask.

During a time in Africa’s history, ‘The earth was as dry as a piece ot old leather’ and the animals were hungry. In the tar distance they could see a beautiful fruit tree with a python wrapped around the trunk, so high that even Giraffe could not reach the fruit. What was needed was the name of the tree, the magic word that would let python uncoil himself and leave the tree. One by one they traveled a long distance to ask Lion the name of the tree, all forgetting the name on their way back because they concentrated on other things. It was then that Tortoise offered to go. Unlike all the other animals he sang a song back home:

Bojabi for you, Bojabi for me;

What will bring down the fruit of the tree?

Bojabi! Bojabi! Bojabi!

Embedded in this story is one of the cornerstones of learning: repetition. It is furthermore noteworthy that fragmentation in indigenous African music only goes as tar as call and response where a whole phrase is stated followed by either an exact or varied repetition (Strumpf et a!., 2003). Because of the functional nature of indigenous African musical arts, which is a combination of music, dancing, drama, and visual arts, learning is always situated within multidimensional contexts of children being surrounded by performing adults and participating audiences.

Components of a Cognitive-Based Approach

While cognitivists in the 1970s and 1980s scoffed at the drill and repetition behaviorists were known for, increased knowledge regarding the functioning of the human brain shows that neural pathways are formed through mindful repetition as a result ot brain plasticity. The components of a cognitive- based approach to Aural Education emerged from the previous section and can be listed as follows. Barts of this list are drawn from Andrianopoulou’s summary, founded on research by Zatorre, Koelsch, Honing, Deutsch, among others:

  • • Neural processes are holistic and nonlinear, implying that teaching should also be holistic and multilinear.
  • • Fragments that need to be extracted for a closer investigation should still be taken from a holistic environment.
  • • Memory plays an important role in aural processing.
  • • Repetition is a crucial part ot forming memories.
  • • Episodic memory could contribute to meaning and affect.
  • • Semantic memory could contribute to a better understanding of music theoretical form schemes and smaller structural units.
  • • The brain is hardwired to recognize patterns, referred to as ‘clamping’ by neuroscientists and ‘chunking’ by Karpinski (2000, 2017a).
  • Gestalt theory holds that wholes and parts, figure, and background are dependent on the dynamic structures in each experience.

I would like to conclude this section by referring to the work of the philosopher in logic, Andy Clark (2015), on predictive processing. Brain function here is understood as probability-driven prediction processing carried out by a highly complex computational mechanism where an amalgamation of perception, imagination, and understanding function in an intricate fluctuating internal sphere. Incoming sensory stimuli are continually analyzed for structure and shape in an attempt to regulate top-down ‘guessing’. Clark’s view is in line with the nonlinear holistic nature of brain processing, which according to him produces ‘a dynamic, self-organizing system in which the inner (and outer) flow of information is constantly reconfigured according to the demands of the task and the changing details of the internal (interoceptively sensed) and external context’ (3). He warns against a passive bottom-up approach where the brain is depicted as gathering sensorial information in a ‘kind of Lego-block fashion’ (51). However, the reader is also reminded that the dance between top-down and bottom-up is a delicate one as ‘the precise mix of top-down and bottom-up influence is not static or fixed. Instead, the weight given to sensory prediction error is varied’ (57).

The Framework

The diagram in Figure 13.1 outlines a theoretical framework presented as an infinite multidimensional cycle of modalities where each modality refers to the sonic nature of Aural Education, and offers ways to approach teaching. Based on a Mobius strip, there is no beginning and no end, presenting a continuum where holism and fragmentism constantly interact in the delicate dance between top-down and bottom-up processing. The outside of the strip is equally as important as the inside and can be experienced by running one’s thumb and index finger, touching both sides of the strip according to the contour of the strip: what is the inside becomes the outside. The grid of the vecto- gram represents the multiple ways in which sound and symbol can be translated or inferred. In the next section each modality is discussed within the context of the application of a Ghost Score. While six forms have been identified by expanding the list of Gauldin (1974), namely, sound to sound, symbol to sound, sound to symbol, sound to movement, inferred sound, and sound to imagined sound, the other layers of the vectogram potentially present various combinations of these modalities. Instead of listing teaching methods, the use of modalities makes it clear that sound (or the absence of it) forms the basis of the framework in which the notion of mental imagery (auditory, visual, and embodied) is also deeply embedded. Drawing from the previous section, the modalities are undergirded by a cognitive foundation.

Ghost Scores as a Way to Approach Holistic Nonlinear Aural Education

Through the use of skeleton music maps, or as I prefer to call them ‘Ghost Scores,’ listeners can enter at different points of the musical narrative (sonic story) and complete missing sections through problem solving of a cognizant combination of information aided by the score and what is heard.2 In this strategy, I propose a sliding cyclical continuum between what is being seen and heard and what is being heard but not seen: both are crucial components of inner or mental hearing in which sound is translated to symbol and symbol to sound, with other variants between them. When searching

Aural education

Figure 13.1 Aural education: an infinite multidimensional cycle of modalities. Source: Author.

for similar maps, 1 only came across the maps (graphic illustrations) by Jeanne Bamberger and Debra Blair (2007). These illustrations present ways in which children created maps ot their own compositions and provide a different conceptual approach in comparison to Ghost Scores.

True to the Gestalt theorists’ assertion that process and experience determine whole from part, the use of Ghost Scores focuses on these components to solve the problem ot filling in missing parts in staff notation and/or through verbal descriptions or chord figuration. Aural ‘Training’ has often been criticized for compartmentalizing sight singing and dictation, frequently omitting formal structural aural analysis, and focusing on short sections (S—16 measures), thereby favoring fragmentary approaches. The use ot Ghost Scores as a teaching strategy makes room for the incorporation of a plethora of teaching methods already described in several sources on musical aural development and adds a comprehensive way for encapsulating these methods in a cognitive-based Aural ‘Education.’ As a teaching strategy, it forms a repertoire-based approach that provides a holistic platform for incorporating as many didactical approaches needed to comprehend a musical work.

To complement the theoretical framework, 1 end the chapter with an illustration of the use of a Ghost Score ot Miriam Makeba’s 1960 (remixed in 2008 and 2012) rendition ot the Indonesian lullaby ‘Suliram’ (available on Spotify and iTunes).3 My focus is on the work as a whole, demonstrating how parts of the score can be deleted in various voice parts (or ‘stolen’ by a ghost) to focus on potentially all parameters ot music. Depending on what is being left out, Ghost Scores can become a teaching tool that integrates various pre-stages ot aural development in one activity and can be adapted according to the level of the student. There are also several other renditions of ‘Suliram’ available on the internet listed in the discography, which can be referred to in a discussion of style and interpretation. The emphasis is on the process and the completion of a Ghost Score is not seen as a summative assessment of proficiency, although it could also be used as such. When treated as a

Example 13.1 Ordering blocks according to the recording. Source: Author.

Example 13.2 The reordered blocks.

Source: Author.

process, this and not the kind of task rather fulfills the role of continuous development that could also then be used as formative and summative assessment.

In the section that follows 1 outline a process using Ghost Scores of‘Suliram’ increasing in their level of difficulty. My first lecture with first-year students starts with a simplified version of‘Suliram’ of the Makeba rendition (see Example 13.1).4 Based on Bamberger’s notion of tapping into intuitive listening skills (2000), students are asked to rearrange the blocks to match the played excerpt presented in Example 13.2. During the process of ordering the blocks, all blocks are sung in the sequence they are placed. Afterwards deliberations among participants start to determine which adjacent blocks do not ‘fit’ (i.e., do not make musical sense and why). Blocks are shifted until the class is satisfied with the end product, which should match the recording. The skills ot translating symbol to sound and sound to symbol are used as problem-solving tools in combination with theoretical guidelines ot what constitutes a ‘good’ melody. In this activity the blocks and extracts of the ghost text focus on the melody, even though it is heard within the context of other voices and instruments. Students are presented with the musical context in an implicit way while the focus is on the melody as foreground (explicit). In the final example of the sequence (see Example 13.5), the listener has to deal with the whole context and zoom in on other parts ot the work: what was background before now becomes foreground. Skilled musicians have to be able to constantly switch between foreground and background (one of the principles of Gestalt).

The blocks and the solution bears a distant resemblance of the performances of the Weavers and the Cedar Rapids Summertime Singers, and a transcription by Audrey Snyder and ‘Beth’s Notes.’ This observation underscores the fact that music that is orally transmitted can be performed in different variations. A transcription ot Miriam Makeba s rendition is not available in the public domain. Once the listeners have a simplified score ot the excerpt obtained through the use of building blocks (see Example 13.2), they receive the Ghost Score in Example 13.3.

Example 13.3 Simplified ghost score of‘Suliram.’ Source: Author.

Example 13.4 Completion of ghost score of‘Suliram.’ Source: Author.

The task here is to notate the actual rendition as performed and interpreted by Miriam Makeba. There is often a long debate among class members on whether the melody starts with an upbeat or not, a point usually settled by listening further into the recording and comparing the beginnings of other phrases. Following this method, the problem is solved in a ‘backwards’ manner, indicating that the song starts on the third and fourth beats and not on the first as indicated in the example.

The completed excerpt (see Example 13.3) is closer to the actual rendition, but still contains some performance ‘errors’: in measure 5 the F is tied over to the next bar. Once being asked if the G in measure 6 tails exactly on the first beat, the class becomes alive with an audible zooming of voices and after some debate we usually reach the conclusion that the F is tied over as portrayed in Example 13.4. The clearly defined dotted rhythm in measure 6 of Example 13.2 is replaced with a triplet rhythm that represents the swing in the Makeba rendition.

Example 13.4 presents a Ghost Score of ‘Suliram’ in its full context, containing all voice parts and instrumental accompaniment. Scored in Western staff notation, parts are left out in all the different components, with specific questions asked. In some instances, the rhythm is given and pitches must be filled in, bass parts are left out, and progressions have to be figured. Some notes are incorrectly transcribed, and errors have to be detected. Prior to completing the Ghost Scores, a short verbal or written description ot the form of the work has to be given. Example 13.5 contains the full transcription of‘Suliram.’

Questions may arise as to whether Ghost Scores present my entire aural education program. The answer is a definite and resounding ‘no,’ since 1 introduce this method in parallel to dealing with musical issues in both an extracted manner and in context. In the student’s first year I spend a considerable amount ot time developing a sense ot tonic and beat. Mackanrul’s ‘point dictation’ is useful as the tonic sounds only once, whereafter a row of 12 to 15 pitches must be notated. Students learn short melodies that assist them to sing toward the tonic first audibly and then mentally, that is, without producing sound. They are taught to follow the shortest route. No intervallic training takes place within a tonal context. It is important to note that I do not favour the use of familiar songs to identify intervals in isolation, which I avoid entirely, as remembering a perfect fourth, tor example, as the introducing interval to the first movement ofEine kleine Nacthmusik by Mozart does not take the harmonic context of V - I into account, but puts focus on the distance of the interval as 1—4. It is more important that the listener develops the skill ot finding the tonic. Similarly, I use ‘rhythm wheels,’ where a round circle has a beat unit centered inside, such as a crotchet. On the outside, different permutations (divisions) of the beat are written out. Rhythms are intoned (not clapped) in the context of a time signature where a pattern is repeated accordingly. Time is spent on the development of harmonic cliches such as horn fifths, cadential 6/4, and passing 6/4 progressions. I interlink activities, tor example, dividing the class into three sections (at this time I have 40-60 students in a lecture, not ideal but a result of austerity measures). Once a rhythm dictation is complete, I use a I — IV — V - I chord progression in three parts, allocating one part to each group (C — E — G, C — F — A, В — D — G, C — E — G) to put the rhythmic dictation in a harmonic context. For example, the lower voices would sing С — С — В — C. A chord is repeated for one full bar. Although the progression is not in root position except tor the first and the last chords, the aim of this activity is not to determine the position of a chord but to establish a sense of the characteristic ‘sound’ of the different chords. Atonal sight singing always takes place within a context of either singing a chain of fourths or fifths, since that which precedes an interval has an effect on the perception of that specific interval.

The Aural Education program at my institution consists of a lecture component in which I deal with Ghost Scores alongside other extracted exercises. The lecture is complemented with a workbook that contains a 23-week plan tor sight singing (melody and more than one part), intonation of rhythms and rhythms within the musical context of, for example, an orchestral work, atonal sight singing, and miscellaneous activities such as sight singing while simultaneously clapping a rhythm.

Tutorial sessions feed into the lectures and provide the groundwork for Ghost Scores and other activities. A salient feature of the use of Ghost Scores is that an immediate link can be forged between music theory and aural education. It furthermore assists with pacing the development of memory as the score contributes to analytical processes and reinforces score reading.

Toward the end ot the student’s first year or at the beginning of the second year, I might slip in the more advanced version ot the Ghost Score in Example 13.5 (see Example 13.6 for the full completed score). Students listen to the full recording while having to complete the missing parts. Some are quite obvious, whereas others require listening through different layers to complete a task.

‘Suliram’ is but one of at least 25 Ghost Scores that I have developed over the years that cover a wide variety of styles and genres. It would be unfair to ask if this approach is more successful than other approaches, as it encapsulates the work of, for example, Edlund (1963), Mackamul, Pratt, et al., Karpinski (2017b), Kaiser, Marcozzi, Cleland et al., and Karpinski and Kram, with the addition of taking their work a step further. It takes some time tor students to get used to this system, as many ot

Example 13.5 Ghost Score of‘Suliram.’ Source: Author.

Example 13.6 Full text of transcription of ‘Suliram.’ Source: Author.

them come from a piano-based ‘aural training’ background. At the end ot their studies, some comment on the value ot the course with specific mention of the Ghost Scores. The best indicator ot its success is often to be seen when they include Ghost Scores in their own teaching, as 1 have been fortunate to witness on several occasions.

I would like to issue a word of caution regarding the application of this method to non-Western music that does not make use of the Western staff system. While rhythm could be transcribed fairly accurately (cf. Arom), dealing with different intonation systems can be problematic. There is, however, a movement on the African continent to compose African Art Music (cf. Herbst et al.) that could lend itself to the use of Ghost Scores.


The beauty of using Ghost Scores is that the activity meets with the requirements of the delicate dance between holistic and meaningful fragments while at the same time joining theoretical and aural-based knowledge in a Mobius strip fashion. It offers the opportunity to deal with one work over a span of several lectures with the focus resting on the process instead of the product. Finally, its incorporation meets with the demands of a much-needed music ecological approach to teaching and learning that is steeped in the latest trends of music cognition.


As scholars we stand on the shoulders of all who laid the groundwork for aural education, from Guido of Arezzo and his forerunners to the latest publications. Without their contributions it would have been impossible to give birth to this chapter. I would also like to thank Conrad Asman, Adrian More, and Silvia van Zyl for their vital contributions.


  • 1. It is beyond the scope of this chapter to present a catalogue of scholarly publications on Aural Education. A brief look at the reference sections of Herbst (1993), Illomaki (2011), Wright (2016), Andrianopoulos (2020), and Van Zyl (2020) provides detailed lists of a wide range of topics covered on this subject. I have been privileged to study aural education in South Africa, Germany, and Sweden over the past 30 years. Choosing literature for this chapter felt like having to choose between children.
  • 2. I am deeply indebted to Irene Matz at the Staatliche Hochschule fur Music und Darstellende Kunst who first introduced me to examples of prepared scores of Luciano Berio as a way to introduce aural education (Herbst, 1993). Since then I fleshed out the notion of prepared scores into fully fledged Ghost Scores.
  • 3. Suliram, Herbst, Asman, and More Transcription. Music and lyrics by Mirian Makeba. Courtesy of Siyandisa Music/ZM Makeba Trust. Used by permission.
  • 4. None of the examples uses vocal notation, as the lyrics are of lesser importance and confusing to non-singers. Various translations of the text are available on the internet but are not always consistent.


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Discography: Transcription of Miriam Makeba

Cedar Rapid Summertime Singers. ‘Suliram.’ On A Starry Night. High Tran Studio. 1965. watch?v=maQQEemd-IE

Makeba, M. Track 2, ‘Suliram.’ Miriam Makeba. LMG. (2008 [I960]). Available on iTunes.

Makeba, M. Track 2, ‘Suliram.’Miriam Makeba. Siyandisa (Next Music). (2012 [I960]). Available on Spotify.

Seeger, Pete. ‘Soriram.’ The Complete Bowdoin College Concert, 2 Discs. 1960. Smithsonian Folkways Recording. 2012.

Suits-Silverman, Thea and Tracy Scott Silverman. ‘Suliram.’Windham Hill Records. 1997. watch?v=jRvBxT 4HaJ w

The Weavers. ‘Suliram.’ Goodnight Irene 1949—1953. Disc 2, Track 13. Bear Family. 2002. WMG (on behalf of Cherry Red Records), 1

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