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Abstract

This paper shows how we played researcher-selected extracts of music to participants in “the Da Capo technique,” to elicit narratives of their learning experiences. Previously, we used music alongside other techniques in an interview about learning; here we explore the Da Capo technique as a standalone technique to study its potential for narrative recall. To do this, we played 10 one-minute long extracts of classical music (five “Western” and five “Chinese”) to 20 participants (10 “Western” and 10 “Chinese”). After hearing each piece, participants were asked if the music recalled for them any experiences of learning. When it did so, we explored this further in dialogue and narrative recall. As expected, some narratives related to experiences of studying, academic success, and of particular times and places associated with learning. However, in many cases the music elicited narratives of learning which, surprisingly and in multiple dimensions, related to physical learning, culture, the family, and particular emotions such as sympathy, and of aspects of character, such as optimism and honesty. We provide details of using the technique, where particular music elicited learning experiences and where they did not. We provide further evidence of the value of using music either as a stand-alone method in the qualitative researcher’s toolkit, or as an additional and complementary tool. We discuss the merits, limitations, and potential applications of the Da Capo technique.

Keywords

Narratives, Music, Interviewing

Author Bio(s)

Martin Cortazzi is at the University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China where he teaches qualitative research methods. His research areas are narratives, cultures of learning and qualitative research methods. He has published widely in these areas. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Martin.Cortazzi@nottingham.edu.cn.

Nick Pilcher is at Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland where he teaches writing and about aspects of language and history. His research areas are qualitative research methods, education and language. He has worked on a number of articles in these areas. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: N.Pilcher@napier.ac.uk.

Lixian Jin is at the University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China where she is Chair Professor of Linguistics. Her research areas are speech and language therapy, cultures of learning and languages. She has published widely in these areas. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: Lixian.Jin@nottingham.edu.cn.

Publication Date

10-7-2018

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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