Music Appreciation Course: Rhythm and Melody, Intermediate Level Clearvue/eav
Mac: Macintosh 68030 or better with Color Quickdraw and System 7 or later
Windows: 386/20 MHz processor and Windows 3.1 or later
This title is one of Clearvue's PowerCD series CDs, which require no hard disk space and no installation. This is a boon for school labs with limited disk space and difficult installation procedures. The course begins with Steven Titra guiding the listener through a tour of rhythm and melody and how it relates to the four periods of Western classical music: Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern. This tour, called the Feature Presentation, is a combination of slide shows and QuickTime movies. The tour completes itself from beginning to end with only occasional clicks required to start the QuickTime movies. Each period is given due coverage, and composers from each era are highlighted with representative works mentioned. Thought is given to how sound is created, how the voice was used as the first musical instrument, and how technological advances in instrument making influenced the successive musical eras. Historical facts and inventions are brought in to enhance the listener's perspective, and pictures are abundant within the presentation.
Users can interrupt the session and move to other parts of the CD at will. The presentation can work well in a large classroom setting if you have the ability to view it on a large screen, or in small settings with students doing research on their own. I found middle school students enjoyed the presentation, especially if it was viewed in more than one sitting. Students later were able to extract information from the online encyclopedia and produce a fairly respectable report.
The sound from the musical examples was acceptable: not CD quality, but functional. I found working on the CD with both Windows and Macintosh computers to be very similar and smooth except for an occasional lockup from the Macintosh. This posed no problem, and a reboot was a simple solution.
The PowerCD includes a menu that allows the user to navigate to any subject covered, view given, or concept presented. Also included are a glossary, topic entries from the American Concise Encyclopedia, and, believe it or not, the entire Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The dictionary includes an abbreviation key, Bible table, metric table, money table, planets table, weight table, and even audible pronunciation guides. It is opened as a separate program. The dictionary alone is worth the price of the CD.
As you can see, it was easy to digress when using this CD. I haven't even mentioned the 100-question quiz that covers the material in the Feature Presentation. I found the questions quite comprehensive, from simple multiple choice to reasonably difficult Name That Tune offerings. The one part of the CD that must be installed is the PowerCD Gradebook option, which provides feedback for the quizzes and even allows students to save the results to a network, printer, or floppy.
I was impressed with the amount of material in this program. I had no trouble finding what I was looking for, and students quickly got in to view the material with no more than a quick lesson on getting started. There is plenty of material to design your own projects. Students will find many valuable lessons with this CD-ROM title, and it would be a valuable addition to any CD library.
Ken L Foster
Gila Vista Junior High