Learning Activity #2: Sound Painting

Educational Focus

Students analyse a score excerpt from North Country and make predictions about the music.

Materials

Audio asset: Excerpt from North Country by Harry Somers
Flash asset: First page of score of North Country by Harry Somers (provide student copies)

Lesson Map

I. Score Study

  • Have students study the first page of the score of North Country by Harry Somers (flash asset: First page of score of North Country by Harry Somers).
  • Ask students to list information about the music from the score sample (e.g.,) time signatures, dynamic markings, etc.).
  • Allow time for students to research any unfamiliar terms (e.g., double tempo – twice as fast, sul ponticello – bowed close to the bridge, sffzp – loudly accented, then quiet, etc.)
  • Analyse the score together, using the following prompts, as appropriate for your class:
    • How many different parts are there? (four)
    • What clefs are used and what are they called? (soprano, alto and bass)
    • Tell me about the tempo. What will it be? (lento maestoso – very slowly, with majesty).
    • What time signature is it in? (changing metre, 4/4 and 3/4)
    • Etc.

II. Predict

  • Ask: Based on what you see in the score, what do you think the mood of the music is? Why? What musical elements are going to be most notable? (e.g., tempo, dynamics, articulation, melodic line, etc.)
  • In small groups, have students write several descriptive sentences about the opening of North Country. They should write in role as a reviewer who has just heard the opening of North Country for the first time (in other words, you are asking them to describe with confidence what their study of the score has told them).
  • Have the students read their descriptions aloud.

III. Listen

  • Listen to the audio asset excerpt from North Country.
  • Discuss: How far away or close were our descriptions to what we just heard? What areas of our descriptions were correct? Not correct? How was the score able to help us anticipate the music?

Excerpt II from North Country by Harry Somers (0:00:49)

Excerpt II from North Country by Harry Somers - Play now

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In his North Country Somer's depicts parts of Ontario with a string orchestra. The opening of the short second movement consists of a drone in the lower strings with a sharp and playful melody played by the violins.

First page of score of North Country by Harry Somers

Credits and Copyright

  • Audio asset: Excerpt I from North Country by Harry Somers
    1948, Harry Somers
  • Audio asset: Excerpt II from North Country by Harry Somers
    1948, Harry Somers
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