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Conference paper

Designing for Musicking

Music is a universal language we communicate through and with, cross cultural, functional and social diversities. The health potential of music has been thoroughly and scientifically documented during the last 15 years. With the term “musicking” the musicologist Christopher Small expands music from being just a noun to a verb, from an aesthetic object to an action. For instance actions like dancing, listening and moving to a musical pulse. Musicking is a shared activity and experience, where all take part, on equal terms, no matter action, intensity level, or role in the musical activity. In our research we build on Music and Health research and the potential of the musicking term. We design musical, tangible Internet of Things to improve health and wellbeing for children with special needs and their families. The musical tangibles, what we call co-creative tangibles, motivate musicking between people with different competencies, abilities and motivations to interact and communicate together on equal terms. To achieve our health goals the co-creative tangibles must evoke feelings, be able to master and be challenging over time, create social relations and offer a shared experience of meaning. Through comprehensive action based research in public spaces we have seen how children with special needs and there care persons play and communicate together in many ways and over long time, because of the many musicking possibilities the co-creative tangibles offer, compared to traditional instruments, things or toys. The musicking concept represents a design challenge to our way of designing interactive things that motivate co-creation between diverse users, because it expands the range of possible musical actions and experiences. Similarly, it challenges Universal Design thinking and how we define functionality and accessibility.

Cappelen, B.Andersson, A. 2012. 'Designing for Musicking'. Oslo: 11.06.2012–13.06.2012. Available: http://www.ud2012.no/abstractsearch.cfm?pMode=AbstractView&pAbstractId=24884