I am always trying to find ways to incorporate the other arts in my teaching. My high school choir keeps a listening log where they write informal responses and answer questions to different choral pieces that we listen to in class. Major assignments that I give once a marking period are basically an expanded version of a listening log entry. Students can work alone or in groups; I have done both but I would prefer to not grade 80+ essays, so they are working in groups for this activity. You need to introduce them to basic listening and responding BEFORE you give them an assignment like this. A listening log where they only have to write a couple of sentences is a good start. This takes the music a step beyond just notes and rhythms. These types of assignments are easy to create; especially good are compare/contrast topics with two different choirs singing the same song -- what's the difference? Or compare/contrast two sections from completely different masses, for example, the Agnus Dei sections from Rutter's Requiem and Fauré's requiem. I have done these in class and the kids really like it. They grumble a little, but I only give one assignment per marking period, so they really can't complain. The handout for the kids is below. Please introduce them to Randall Thompson before you do anything.
Senior High Chorus Name ______________________
MP3 Group Assignment Date Due:
The Last Words of David
By Randall Thompson (1899-1984)
II Samuel 23:3-4
The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke to me, “He who rules over men righteously, who rules in the fear of God, is as the light of the morning when the sun rises, a morning without clouds, when the tender grass springs out of the earth, through sunshine after rain.” (NAS version)
He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.
And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth,
Even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.
1. Based on the listening that we did in class, what is your impression of the mood of this piece? Is it consistent? Varied? Please explain your answer in great detail – what IS the mood? If there are more than one, please describe all of them.
2. Freshmen/Sophomores only: Using the score of the music included, what techniques does Randall Thompson use to create emotion(s) in this piece? Circle (IN PENCIL ONLY) these on your score and describe them in your paper. Label each of them in the score so that I understand exactly what you are talking about. Look at what the voices are doing, look at the piano accompaniment, and all the dynamic and tempo markings. If you don’t know what they mean, please ask me.
Juniors/Seniors only: Using the score of the music included, what techniques does Randall Thompson use to foreshadow King David’s death? Circle (IN PENCIL ONLY) these on your score and describe them in your paper. Label each of them in the score so that I understand exactly what you are talking about. Look at what the voices are doing, look at the piano accompaniment, and all the dynamic and tempo markings. If you don’t know what they mean, please ask me.
3. Read II Samuel 23: 1-7. Why do you believe David is saying these words? To whom is he speaking?
4. Why do you think Randall Thompson included the “Alleluias” and “Amens” at the end of the piece? They are not part of the Scripture. Why do you believe Thompson thought they were necessary?
Please answer the questions completely in either essay or paragraph format. Include your marked score for my reference. You will work together in groups of 2-3 people, but you should form your groups within your own grade level, or 9th/10th and 11th/12th.
This assignment should be placed neatly in a folder of some kind and turned in by _____________