The Sorcerer's Apprentice Music Curriculum Guide
- Did you ever get so frustrated with something you wrote or drew that you crumpled it up and threw it out? Paul Dukas was very critical of his own work and actually destroyed a number of his own compositions! He is known not only as a composer but also as a music critic. His opinions and critiques were very well respected within the music community.
- Dukas had great skill as an orchestrator. Orchestration is the process of arranging a piece of music to be played by an orchestra, deciding which instruments should play which part. Should the melody be played on a trumpet or a clarinet? Should the background be strings or woodwinds? What instrument best fits the mood of this section? Visit this website to try your hand at orchestration. Click on the "Orchestration Station" button on the right.
- Here is the First Movement of Dukas' Piano Sonata in E-flat minor. Watch this video of a group playing the Brass Fanfare from La Peri, by Dukas.
- The period of time from roughly 1800 to 1900 is known as the Romantic Period in classical music. This is not the definition of "romantic" having to do with love, but is related to Romanticism in art, which emphasized strong emotion and imagination. Music written during this time often was programmatic, or based on something other than the music- like a story, poem or piece of art, and pushed past many of the boundaries of previous time periods. Different types chords were used, the amount of instruments and dynamics increased, and pieces became longer.
- Read this article to find out more about the Romantic Period and see a list of Romantic composers
- Listen to some more Romantic pieces on this website.
- Dukas used certain musical themes to depict events or characters in the story. The Maestro discusses many of these on the CD, such as the water theme or the appearance of the Sorcerer.
- Composers use musical themes in many different ways. They can be very creative about how they change them to produce different effects or moods. Changing a few notes can make a happy theme sound sinister or sad, doubling the speed can evoke a panicky feeling, or make a slow theme sound more joyful. Playing it with a different instrument changes the feeling of the theme.
- Play around with this online keyboard. Come up with a short theme of your own, maybe one inspired by your little brother, or your pet, or a hard time with a math test. Then play it with different instrument. How does it sound now? Play it faster, or slower. Experiment with the theme as much as your imagination will allow!
- The Sorcerer's Apprentice is a piece of music called a symphonic poem. Symphonic poems (also called tone poems or sound poems) are programmatic, meaning they are descriptive, either of an image or a story. Many other composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries wrote symphonic poems. Here are some examples:
- Richard Strauss, Ein Alpensinfonie (An Alpine Symphony)- depicts the experience of climbing a mountain in the Alps. Close your eyes and imagine climbing a mountain. What do you see, smell, hear and feel? Draw a picture to go along with the music.
- Franz Liszt, Prometheus- Prometheus is based on the Greek mythological figure of the same name. You can find the story of Prometheus here.
- Respighi, The Pines of Rome- depicts pine trees in different parts of Rome during different times of day
- Here are some websites to explore instruments of the orchestra (PreK+): New York Philharmonic, Arts Alive, and the San Francisco Symphony.
- Here are some free Musical Instrument Curriculum Cards to print and laminate
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