Monday, December 24, 2012

 Greetings, scholars!

After our blind vote, the results are in: Supercalifragilistic has been chosen as our official word for 32nd note syllables. Thanks to Miss Charlotte for her nomination! Please review all of the syllables we say with our note values for when we meet again in 2013: Toot - 1/4 notes, Chugga - 1/8 notes, Locomotive - 16th notes, Supercalifragilistic - 32nd notes, and Hemidemisemiquaver - 64th notes!

Practice writing note values and review the parts of the notes: heads, stems, flags, and beams.


Congratulations to all keen detectives who donned their deerslayer caps and found out that Thomas Edison invented the incandescent light bulb and Ben Franklin discovered electricity. By the way, in 1759, Ben Franklin heard The Messiah in England conducted by Handel! Ben Franklin loved to sing with his family and friends, played the viola de gamba (early cello), and invented an instrument called the Glass Armonica. Listen to Adagio (slow and calm) by Mozart for this interesting instrument. We will make one of our own in class soon.

Ben Franklin playing the Glass Armonica

I hope you have time to enjoy The Nutcracker over the holidays. My favorite movie version is choreographed by Balanchine. Here is a wonderful version, as well.

Balanchine's Nutcracker Movie
New York City Ballet

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Greetings, scholars!

 Vermeer's The Music Lesson
(Vermeer had 11 children, which might explain his preference for calm interiors.)

 Many of you have a metronome at home to help you practice your music pieces at an even tempo. The metronome was invented by Ludwig van Beethoven's friend, Johann Maelzel. Can you believe that, even in Beethoven's time - Classical Period (1780 to 1820) - students didn't always enjoy practicing with a metronome and often made fun of it? Some people hold the opinion that Beethoven was making fun of this newfangled invention in the 2nd movement of his Symphony #8. Listen here. As you listen, can you put on your detective cap* and find the 64th notes?

Sherlock Holmes and his Deerslayer
 Our syllables for counting out 64th notes are the same as the name for a 64th note in the United Kingdom: hemidemisemiquaver! Speak the syllables when you hear them as you listen to the performance. Also, test your knowledge of the musical instruments in the orchestra as they are highlighted in the above video.

Next week, we will study and copy whole, half, quarter, eighth, sixteenth, thirty-second and, wait for it...sixty-fourth notes in our staff paper notebooks. Extra credit for remembering the proper name for a detective cap!


We will sing through our repertoire and read further as we continue our composition based on One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey. We have motifs for Sal, Jane, and Mother; bring in ideas for Penny, the nameless cat, the loon, the fish hawk, the seal, and Father. Slipping on seaweed could have its own theme, as could sentences such as, "My, such trouble!"

We will listen to Opus 6, also known as the Christmas Concerto, by the Baroque Period (1600 - 1750) composer, Arcangelo Corelli.

Be an angel and listen to a sample, as you look at the Renaissance Period (1400 - 1600) art of Michelangelo, Botticelli, Leonardo, and Raphael, here

Monday, November 19, 2012

Greetings, scholars!

N.C. Wyeth is an American painter who illustrated Pilgrims, a book by Robert San Souci, that tells the story of the first Thanksgiving. Perhaps you have this book in your home library? If not, you can buy it for a penny!

Listen to more beautiful autumn music here. This composition for piano is by Russian composer, Piotr Ilitch Tchaikovsky, and is called November - Troika from The Seasons. The colorful painting in the video is called A Troika. A troika is a Russian sleigh pulled by three horses. Such an adventure would be quite exciting! Have you ever been on a sleigh ride?

A Troika by Nikolai Samokish (c. 1930)

 Read a bit more about Mozart as a young boy here and listen to 
Allegri's Misere again here. (I spy with my little eye Gothic architecture: thin walls, sharp spires, stained glass windows, and flying buttresses!) Do you think you would have been able to copy this piece after listening only once, as Mozart did when he was 14? His full name has one more syllable than hippomonstrosesquipedaliophobia (fear of long words)!

 Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart
 (nicknamed Wolfie) 

Psssst: Young Wolfie trained his pet starling to sing!

~ Inchworm Lyrics ~
(Practice carefully three times a day!)

2 and 2 are 4.
4 and 4 are 8.
8 and 8 are 16. 
16 and 16 are 32.

Inchworm, inchworm,
Measuring the marigolds;
You and your arithmetic  -
You'll probably go far.

Inchworm, inchworm,
Measuring the marigolds;
Seems to me you'd stop and see 
How beautiful they are!

Composed by Frank Loesser,
from the movie, Hans Christian Anderson

Homework: Draw a Thanksgiving scene and hide an inchworm in it! Bring your artwork to share with your classmates for our next class on December 1. We will be building triad snowmen!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Greetings, scholars! 

The great Czech composer, Antonin Dvorak, loved his family, homeland, and music; He also loved trains! Remember our train words for quarter, eighth, and sixteenth notes? Toot, Toot, Chugga, Chugga, Locomotive, Locomotive! For half notes, we say SLOW and for whole notes, we say LONG!

Path to the Moon (by Eric Thiman) lyrics:
I long to sail a path to the moon
On a deep, blue night when the wind is cool.
A glist'ning path that runs out to sea;
Silver the sails to carry me.
To carry, carry, carry me over the sea.

So will I sail on a starry night,
On a path to the moon, a seabird's flight.
Skimming the waves where the fishes play;
Traveling on for many a day.
Silver the sails to carry me.
To carry, carry, carry me over the sea.

   Antonio Vivaldi

Antonio Vivaldi, nicknamed the Red Priest (There is red hair under that powdered wig!), enjoyed writing sonnets (14-line poems) that would allow him to compose beautiful music with fascinating effects. Here is the sonnet we read and listened to in class last week:

Autumn – Concerto in F Major - from The Four Seasons
The peasant celebrates with song and dance the harvest safely
gathered in.
The cup of Bacchus (fermented cider?) flows freely, and many find their relief
in deep slumber.

Adagio molto
The singing and the dancing die away
as cooling breezes fan the pleasant air,
inviting all to sleep
without a care.

The hunters emerge at dawn,
ready for the chase,
with horns and dogs and cries.
Their quarry flees while they give chase.
Terrified and wounded, the prey struggles on,
but, harried, dies.

Here is a recording of Vivaldi's Autumn

Autumn Leaves by Sir John Everett Millais


Make a drawing of autumn or a moonlight sail and bring it to share with your classmates next Saturday!

 Alas, please remember to bring a spiral-bound sketch pad and spiral-bound staff paper notebook to class every Saturday with colored pencils for drawing and a sharpened black pencil for music notation.

15th century German manuscript on vellum (animal skin) for the musical instructions of nuns and their students 

I'll say good-bye as I wave the Guidonian hand!

Thank you,
Mrs. Dike