Unit 6 – Composition
Activity 1 – Text to music
Making use of the collection of quotes about music, the teacher will choose the ones that will suit the students’ tastes. Each student will then select one quote and write it down. The teacher will write out the letter names of the C major pentatonic scale (C Pentatonic scale – CDEGA), playing sample music to give an idea what a pentatonic scale sounds like.
The students will then be asked to syllabicate each word, after which they are to make use of the Major pentatonic scale starting on C, assigning tones and putting music on to the quotation. The teacher checks for any possible wrong syllabication and makes sure that each student has assigned a tone for each of the syllables. When the students finish their composition, they can play it on the keyboard or chime bars. The tunes can also be played on the recorder.
The teacher can assign a pleasant sounding chord to accompany the composition and afterwards sing the quotation while playing on the piano. The teacher can show the students how to notate the new compositions on the staff to make them really look like original compositions. The students can make use only of CEG and ACE chords for the harmony. The use of IT is recommended here; students can be then encouraged to familiarise themselves with simple note entry, playback and save commands of any music writing programme.
The teacher will guide the students to develop creativity through improvisation and through the use of body percussion sounds. Students will explore musical forms, and structures through Binary, Ternary and Rondo Improvisations. Students will hence make use of AB, ABA, ABACA, and ABACADA forms.
Binary – A B
Ternary – A B A
Rondo – A B A C A
Activity 2 – Binary Form
The teacher will explain the meaning of Binary form guiding the students to listen to a short piece of music in this form. One such example is Beethoven’s German dances.
The movement begins with the First Section, followed by the Second Section.
The teacher then asks the students to suggest different body percussion sounds, (tap, clap, snap, beat, stamp, click tongue, etc). The whole class can then try to improvise short patterns of body percussion such as echo clapping, and variations.
The teacher then divides the students in two groups and assigns a leader for each group. The students can now make use of the body percussion movements they thought of to create a pattern in Binary form, i.e. AB Pattern. They can concentrate on a particular body movement, or a combination of a few (e.g. clap twice, snap once, clap once).
Activity 3 – Ternary Form
The teacher will explain the meaning of Ternary form while encouraging the students to listen to short pieces of music in this form. Such examples are:
Schumann’s Symphony No: 3 in E flat – 3rd movement
Brahms’ Symphony No: 3 in F – 3rd movement
The movement begins with the First Section, followed by the Second Section. Then the First Section returns; this last section can sometimes be slightly different to the beginning.
The teacher will ask the students to improvise the first 4 measure pattern in 4/4 time, using only crotchet beats. This will be the A section. When each group performs their A section without mistakes, the teacher proceeds to the contrasting section (the B section). Here the students will improvise a new set of rhythms using new hand jives or other body percussion moves. Once done with section B, the students will perform their patterns starting from section A, then section B then back to section A, thus creating the ABA Pattern – Ternary Form.
Activity 4 – Rondo Form
The teacher will explain the meaning of Rondo form encouraging the students to listen to a short piece of music in this form. Such music can be:
Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 in E flat – 2nd movement
Brahms’ Symphony No. 3 in F – 4th movement
Rondo Form is so-called because one or two sections keep on coming ‘round’ again and again. The First Section alternates with the Second Section and Third Section.
The teacher encourages the students to proceed and improvise the C section, with a new set of rhythmic patterns. This time the students can make use of scat, (e.g. doo, doo, bee, doo or dum, dum bee dum), or other vocal improvisations. Once C section is completed, the teacher asks the students to perform their work in an ABACA pattern. The students will then decide what title they want for their improvisation. Each group can evaluate the other’s performance and comment. The lesson can be further developed through the use of the ABACABA, or ABACADA pattern.