The Soldier's Tale Music Curriculum Guide
The Soldier's Tale, like much of Stravinsky's music, has mixed meter. Let's explore this topic!
- Musical meter is the organization of beats in the measures of a piece, including both strong and weak beats. The idea of meter in music came from the concept of meter in poetry, where the term can encompass the lines, words and syllables in a poem verse.
- The time signature is the fraction-type symbol in music that indicates how many beats are in a measure, and which type of note gets one beat, or pulse. In mixed meter, there may be many different time signatures, sometimes changing every measure! This can cause a piece of music to sound dynamic and disjointed, exciting and unstable all at the same time. See examples of time signatures here along with a brief explanation
- Here is an online metronome to help you keep a steady beat. Play around with the tempo, making it faster and slower. Do the following exercises to help you understand meter: With the metronome set to 72, start walking around the room to that tempo. Walk normally at first until you feel you've gotten comfortable with the beat. Next clap on the first of every group of 4 steps while counting (ONE-two-three-four, ONE-two-three-four, etc.) Switch your strong beat to the first of every 3 beats instead (ONE-two-three, ONE-two-three, etc.) Now stress the first of every two beats (ONE-two, ONE-two, ONE-two, etc.) Each of these examples is its own meter. In mixed meter, two or more of them (and others) could be included in the same song. Try to mix them up as you walk. (ONE-two-three-four, ONE-two, ONE-two, ONE-two-three, ONE-two-three-four, etc.) It's not so easy, is it? It gives you a disjointed feel, much like Stravinsky's music.
- Stravinsky used a very interesting group of instruments for The Soldier's Tale: violin, double bass, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone, percussion (drums, cymbals, tambourine, triangle). Choose one of these instruments and learn about it. Use the following questions and ideas to guide you: What is the instrument made of? What family of instruments does it belong in?
- Draw a detailed picture of your instrument. How would you describe its sound? How is sound created and resonated in this instrument?
Name a couple of famous musicians (living or deceased) who play(ed) this instrument
- Research a piece or two of music written for your chosen instrument, listen to examples on youtube, and use this notebooking page to keep a record of what you've learned.
- Here is a fun song about a fiddle player who is challenged by the devil to a fiddling duel. If the boy wins, he gets the devil's gold violin, but if the devil wins, he gets the boy's soul. Can you guess who plays the best and wins the duel? Devil went down to Georgia- Charlie Daniels Band
- Here's a portion of The Soldier's Tale that was animated in the 1980's
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