Monday, December 24, 2012

 Greetings, scholars!

Handel presenting the Water Music to King George I
while 50 musicians performed on a barge on the Thames River

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