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Terpsichore: A Software Music Interface for People with Mental Disabilities on the Autism Spectrum

Kyriakakis, Georgios (2020) Terpsichore: A Software Music Interface for People with Mental Disabilities on the Autism Spectrum. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (KAR id:82815)

Language: English

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The current Thesis concentrates on the construction and efficiency assessment of Terpsichore, a software interface designed to assist individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in developing their competence, and ideally independence, in composing original tonal and soundscape-based music. It does not only serve educational purposes, but also exhibits a therapeutic nature consistent with the accomplishment of non-musical goals, implying a reciprocal relationship between music education and music therapy. It is also distinguishable in its evidence-based character, as its construction is based on a broad spectrum of personality traits. The software consists of two educational modes (Tonal and Soundscape and Indefinite Pitch), in which constituent levels are arranged to reflect a process comprising three thematic sections: sound component identification and reproduction, minor amendments to existing musical material, and composition of musical patterns from point zero. To best determine the efficiency of the interface components in a wide variety of situations, a bilateral approach was adopted, which consists of a bibliographical case study approach and a practical research component. In the case study involving nine individuals from the relevant autism and music therapy literature, various Terpsichore areas were carefully suited to the personality, condition and particularities of each learner, while observations were extracted through critical bibliographical analysis of interface components and their role in music interventions for ASD. Practical research involved a series of tutor-administered sessions in four different special education institutions in the Attica region of Greece, where twenty-eight participants were instructed to employ both modes of the software. Responses and trends were measured via a comprehensive questionnaire addressing multiple areas of music education and therapy and how these evolved throughout the software instruction process. The Thesis demonstrates that Terpsichore addresses a broad variety of cognitive and treatment aspects, assists in a meaningful and rewarding creative musical occupation without unnecessary structural complexity, and generally contributes in a positive manner to mental condition treatment as a result of the music education components incorporated in the interface. The software also possesses a potential to treat various lapses in communication, behaviour and concentration, while rendering the music and sound composition process more comfortable, especially in the pitch-defined music domain, thanks to the increased understanding of tonal relationships. Findings from this study are useful in encouraging caregivers, music therapists, psychologists and relevant practitioners to incorporate and further develop Terpsichore in everyday music and general learning schedules for individuals with ASD.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Pasoulas, Aki
Uncontrolled keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Mental Disabilities, Music Education, Music Therapy, Disability Politics, Computer-Aided Learning, Creative Composition, Interactive Education, Accessible Music Applications, Case Study Analysis, Human Participant Research
Subjects: H Social Sciences
M Music and Books on Music
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2020 09:45 UTC
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2023 23:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Kyriakakis, Georgios.

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