In today’s lesson we continued to develop on musical theory and listen to more pieces to recognise musical concepts. We started off by listening to a musical piece called The Swan from Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns. This was a beautiful item which effectively created imagery of a swan gliding through water. The two instruments used were cello and piano, which work beautifully together. The cello represented the gentle gliding of the swan, using techniques such as vibrato, while the piano served as the rippling water, through the use of some arpeggios. The tempo was quite moderate, depicting a swan’s smooth movement, and the volume remained pretty constant. This led to learning about the main volumes in music:
ff – fortissimo – very loud
f – forte – loud
p – piano – soft
pp – pianissimo – very soft
mp – mezzo piano – moderately soft
ppp – piano pianissimo – very very soft
The next piece of music we listened to was called In the Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg. This piece contrasted to The Swan in many ways, particularly in the texture, tempo and volume. While The Swan had smooth and legato movements, this piece at the beginning featured staccato by some of the string and woodwind instruments, such as the cello and bassoon. It started off at a moderate speed, then increasingly became louder and faster, with the whole orchestra playing. It is a fantastic musical piece and it’s interesting to see how much it could change only in a couple of minutes.
The following piece we listened to was the Ice Dance by Danny Elfman, from the movie Edward Scissorhands. This piece is beautiful and featured instruments such as the harp and a ‘music box.’ I think the composer used the music box to create a delicate image. The words that instantly came to my mind were magical and light. I think of a girl figure skating on ice or dancing in the snow. I think of a fairytale and a castle, very whimsical images.
The final item we listened to was Hedwig’s Theme from the Harry Potter movies. This is a really popular theme that I think most people would easily recognise! It was interesting to know that the first instrument that plays is called the celesta, which looks similar to a piano. It really created that delicate, night time sound. This was followed by the brass instruments. I loved how the strings made the ‘sound’ of the wind by running their fingers quickly across the bow. Other great movie themes I like are Star Wars, Jaws and James Bond.
We concluded the lesson by looking at how music can be integrated with other KLA’s.
English – students can write lyrics to go with a piece of music, such as a rap, or can create music from image from a picture book.
Maths – music can help with understanding fractions, addition and subtraction using note values. For example, I have 3 crotchets, how many more do I need to make it 4/4 time? Students can look at patterns in musical pieces eg A, B, A.
Art – Students can colour in to the mood of the music they hear. They can draw instruments up close and make instruments.
HSIE – Can look at the history of different music. Geography- music from other cultures. Society – religious, pop music etc. different customs-church, ceremony, war memorial. Environment-pieces representing a rainforest, river.
PE – moving according to the beat. Students can do different fundamental movement skills according to when the music comes in.
Science – Students can create pieces to the weather.