Messenger - Vol. 4, No. 3, Page T-2
On Technology
In tune with music technologies

     In the Erlkonig (or King of the Fairies), a man is riding through
the forest with a child who becomes gravely ill. A fairy king, perhaps
representing death, beckons the child to come with him. The poem by
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) has been set to music by three
renowned composers-Carl Loewe, Franz Schubert and Johann Reichardt. To
create a musical score for each character in the poem, the three
composers used different instruments and approaches. Schubert, for
example, wrote a piano line that sounds like a horse galloping
frantically through the forest and portrays the fairy king as using
multiple approaches-seduction, playfulness and force-to persuade the
boy to come with him. Reichardt, on the other hand, portrays the fairy
king as threatening or menacing in nature, while Loewe depicts the
Erlking as friendly and seductive.
     At Delaware, students can compare these three compositions and
other scores using multi-media technology based on an award-winning
music video series-a set of four videodiscs containing mid-18th- to
19th-century music. The viewer may select a variety of options, such
as still slides, performances with an analyzed musical score in view,
performances with performer in view, graphic analyses or keyboard
action demonstrations. During this year, Prof. Larry W. Peterson has
been working with student assistants to develop a software program
that will serve as a guide for the videodisc series.
     For the past four years, Peterson has been developing a series of
multi-media lessons called "Interacting with Music." This series uses
commercially available videodiscs or compact discs of operas or opera
excerpts and was demonstrated recently at Opera America's 1995
conference in Washington, D.C. His music history classes feature a
software program-a library of several dozen analyses completed by
earlier students-that helps current students analyze pieces on the
course listening list.
     Multi-media videodiscs are one of many high-tech teaching tools
developed by the University's music faculty. GUIDO software, which is
now sold commercially to help students around the world learn to play
music "by ear," was invented by Fred T. Hofstetter, director of the
Instructional Technology Center and professor of educational
development and music. In addition to ear training, students at UD use
GUIDO to study music theory. Additional GUIDO programs will soon
reinforce lessons in sight-singing, written harmony and jazz harmony
     Named after Guido of Arezzo, an 11th-century Italian monk, GUIDO
also stands for "Graded Units of Interactive Dictation Operations."
The GUIDO ear-training program lets students hear and then mimic
musical scores by popping a compact disc into a computer linked to a
sound synthesizer by way of a standard musical protocol known as MIDI
(Musical Instrument Digital Interface). The discs are kept on file at
the music department's computer laboratory, and teachers can customize
a lesson plan based on a student's progress.
     "In the past, teachers would have 20 or 30 students at a time in
drills in the classroom," says Hofstetter. "That approach makes it
impossible for the teacher to individualize a lesson plan for each
student. The GUIDO system constantly monitors each student's progress,
it has infinite patience and it's always generating the right level of
     Computer-assisted practice supplements classroom learning,
Jennifer Ginfrida, Delaware '95, of Newark, Del., says. "GUIDO
reinforces what we've learned in class, and it gives us a chance to
practice so that we can keep improving our skills," explains Ginfrida,
a trumpet player.
     Michael Arenson, associate professor of music, is working on two
federally funded projects: a computer-assisted jazz harmony series and
a music theory series to accompany the GUIDO training package.
Arenson's two computer programs will help students improvise in a jazz
style or compose and analyze other styles of music. Jon Alan Conrad,
senior applications program analyst, is working on another addition to
the GUIDO series, a "sight-singing" lesson series that provides
computer feedback to students after they sing melodies into a
     The Department of Music has two computer facilities for student
and faculty use. One is a listening center with multi-media stations,
which was featured last December in a nationally televised program.
     Interactive composition and accompaniment programs are available
in a fully equipped music computer laboratory, too. Some programs
offer background accompaniment to encourage musical improvisation,
explains senior technical writer Michael Morgan. Others make it
possible to record different musical "tracks" onto a computer.
"Because of the sound synthesizers and other equipment we have,
students can actually compose or arrange a musical piece, store it in
the computer and then play it back," Morgan says. Compact discs,
meanwhile, have replaced less versatile audio technology based on
taped recordings.