The Tortoise and the Hare Music Curriculum Guide
The Instruments of the Orchestra
- The contrabassoon is the lowest instrument in the woodwind family. It is a double reed instrument, which means that the vibrating part is made of two joined cane reeds.
- You can make a double reed instrument with a drinking straw or two. Check out this site or this video for instructions. You will need nothing more than straws, a hole punch, and a pair of scissors. (PreK+)
- These books teach about the instruments of the orchestra in fun ways: Meet the Orchestra,
Beats and Time Signatures
- Most music is written with a steady pulse, or beat, that can be felt and heard. The beat is then grouped into measures- some beats strong, some weak- which gives the music an organized and predictable feel. The way the beats are grouped, and which note is used for the beat, together form the "time signature". In the book with your CD you can see an example of a time signature on page 7.
- Listen to Sousa's Semper Fidelis march and notice the obvious "1-2-1-2-1-2" feel of the music. Music with 2 or 4 beats per measure is in "duple meter",
- A waltz, such as this one by Strauss, is in "triple meter" and you can clearly sense the "1-2-3-1-2-3-1-2-3" (even more so if you try to dance to it!)
- This song by Mozart, "Ave Verum Corpus" has 4 slow beats per measure and the quarter note gets a beat. This time (4/4 time) is called "common time" and is sometimes marked in music with just a ‘C'.
- Sometimes music has a non-traditional structure and the measures do not all have the same amount of beats, and/or have changing accents. This is called "mixed meter". There might be a measure with 3 beats followed by a measure with 4 beats and then one with 2. The song "America" from the musical West Side Story alternates the time signatures 6/8 (a quick 1-2-3-4-5-6) and 3/4 (3 slightly slower beats). Listen to it here and see if you can count it!
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