The music education of mentally disabled children with the help of the colored score system


"There is some region of the soul which only music can lighten."
/ from the Selected Writings In Retrospect by Zoltán Kodály /


Studying music is difficult. Is it? The score is too complicated even for the healthy children. Is it too complicated? If it really causes problems do we have to resign to it? Or shall we find other ways to study and enjoy music? These questions didn't let the German teacher of music and handicapped children Heinrich Ullrich alone. He didn't think only about the music education of healthy schoolchildren but had a faith in that the mentally handicapped children and young people can also study music, only the method should be found.

The five-line score is incomprehensible for most of the handicapped children. That's why the note value and the pitch need not be memorized but the score and the instrument are coordinated note by note. The colors of the tones, which appear in the score, are also indicated beside the strings, pipes and keys of the instruments. So it's enough if the children can match them without even knowing the names of the colors.

As it can be seen on the attached chart, in the colored score system there is no need for the five lines because the pitches of the tones are indicated by colors. As the tone is rising, the colors are getting lighter. The colors of the octaves one above and one below are the same, but in the lower octave every note has a black circle in the middle. In the higher octave a white circle indicates the pitch of the note.

The semitone is simply denoted by the two colors, which the tone is between. E.g.: F# is half- red and half- green.

The marking of the rhythm is also simple:

The quarter note is a full circle, a half note is two circles interlinked, the whole note consists of four circles and an eighth note is a semicircle. The musical rest is marked by a blank hexagon. Further rhythm values denoted according to the above rules.

Bar-lines substitute with stresses above the accented note.

For the time being we are working within the association called "Music Belongs to Everyone". We give individual and group music lessons, hold orchestral rehearsals and give concerts by our Parafónia orchestra.