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Music
Grade: Middle
Subject: Music

#1462. Classical Period: Understanding Four-bar sequences

Music, level: Middle
Posted Tue Dec 28 18:26:56 PST 1999 by J. Chad Green (jcg21@hotmail.com).
Ft. Smith Christian School, Ft. Smith, AR USA
Materials Required: None; students need a pencil/pen and creativity.
Activity Time: 10 - 20 minutes
Concepts Taught: Creating a 4-bar phrase and sequences with words

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***LISTED FIRST ARE THE TEACHER'S DIRECTIONS***
++++++ SECOND IS THE STUDENTS' HANDOUT ++++++
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Fine Arts Music Activity
Classical Music: Understanding four-bar phrases in sequence

1. Have students create a four word phrase which makes sense. Write the phrase (example: cat chases brown yarn). This four word phrase will represent a four-bar phrase of music.

2. Have students rewrite the exact phrase five times. This represents a four-bar phrase of music in repetition. The Viennese masters used this technique for clarity of their melodies.

3. Have students write another four word phrase utilizing the same four words of the original phrase. Note, though, that this phrase must still have the same meaning as the original one (example: brown yarn cat chases). This phrase still can imply the original meaning. See how many ways the phrase can be rearranged with it maintaining the original phrase's meaning. (Examples: brown cat chases yarn; cat chases yarn brown; chases brown yarn cat; etc.)
This exercise represents a four-bar phrase of music in sequence. Not only did the Viennese masters use repetition for clarity, but also sequences of their melodies. A sequence is the repetition of a pattern at a higher or lower pitch. In the case of our word phrases, we have repeated the meaning only in different word orders or sequences.


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****WHAT FOLLOWS IS THE HANDOUT FOR THE STUDENTS****
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Fine Arts Music Activity
Classical Music: Understanding four-bar phrases in sequence and repetition


*Read and follow the directions given below very carefully.

1. Create a four-word phrase which explains an action and makes sense. (Hint: do not use words like "the, a, and, of, with", etc.) Write your phrase in the blanks provided.

______________ ______________ ______________ ____________

Imagine this four-word phrase you've created as a four-bar phrase of music (a melody). The entire phrase (all four words) make up the four-bar melody. The Viennese masters in the Classical time period composed songs using melodies no longer than four-bars.

2. Now write your four-word phrase (or, four-bar melody) five times. Write your phrase exactly as you did in #1 above; do not change the words.

______________ ______________ ______________ ____________

______________ ______________ ______________ ____________

______________ ______________ ______________ ____________

______________ ______________ ______________ ____________

______________ ______________ ______________ ____________

You're probably wondering why you were asked to do that seemingly act of nonsense. More than likely, you now remember your four-word phrase very well. Is it in your mind? This was a very popular technique used by Classical period composers. They wanted their melodies (four-bar phrases) to be remembered. And, believe it or not, their listeners wanted to listen to music so redundant. Chances are the popular music you listen to on the radio does the same thing. This technique is called repetition.

3. Finally, using the same words of the original four-word phrase, create another phrase that has [basically] the same meaning as the original and still make some logical sense. *Remember, you can only use the same four words of the original phrase in #1.

______________ ______________ ______________ ____________

This technique is known as a sequence. Not only did Classical composers use repetition, they also used Sequences to make their melodies clear. A sequence (in music) is the repetition of a pattern at a higher or lower pitch. In the case of your word phrase, you have repeated the phrase's meaning only using a different order of the words. See how many more "sequences" you can create from your original four-word phrase.

______________ ______________ ______________ ____________

______________ ______________ ______________ ____________

______________ ______________ ______________ ____________