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A multimedia introduction to Chinese traditional music and musical instruments

, Teachers College, Columbia University, United States

Teachers College, Columbia University . Awarded


Anecdotal evidence and personal observations gathered during the author's research in both the United States and Taiwan suggested that many persons of Chinese heritage, regardless of their age or country of origin, were unaware of their traditional musical heritage. These observations suggested that this was especially true of children, who are routinely exposed to the structures and tonalities of popular music of "Western" origin.

Thus, the primary purpose of this project was to give children of Chinese heritage, regardless of their places of origin or where they presently live, an opportunity to become aware of and understand the Chinese traditional musical culture, and thereby to gain a stronger multicultural perspective. A secondary purpose of this project was to apply modern instructional technologies to multicultural music education through the use of an interactive, self-instructional, CD-ROM-based multimedia product for introducing Chinese traditional music and musical instruments to children of Chinese heritage, ages 5 to 12. The project, following completion of the design, development and testing phases, culminated in a multimedia learning product.

This project took the approach that "authentic" musical experiences are not as important as focusing on the music (i.e., sound) itself. Hence, this project downplayed the explanations, history, and cultural backgrounds of Chinese traditional instruments and music in favor of letting the music and instruments speak for themselves. A review of the literature concerning global frameworks for musical cultures in education and multimedia instructional design then leads into a discussion of the methodology used to organize the project. Planning, design and development phases of the instructional design project in turn lead into a discussion of the software architecture with examples of various segments of the program, covering listening, playing, conducting and even spelling. Instruments in the project are organized by the manner in which they are played: blowing (wind instruments); bowing or plucking (string instruments), and striking (percussion).

Evaluation and assessment, including a formative evaluation by elementary students in a classroom setting, led to planning for further software revisions to make the product more appealing to early learners, for example, including more color and animation.


Chin, J. A multimedia introduction to Chinese traditional music and musical instruments. Ph.D. thesis, Teachers College, Columbia University. Retrieved November 20, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 22, 2013. [Original Record]

Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.

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