Click below to hear our assembly song of the week.
Musician of the Week:
EDGARD VARESE 1883-1965 France - U.S.A.
Listening Example: Ionisation
COLORS and TONE COLORS
One of the greatest joys of autumn and the weeks before Thanksgiving are all the beautiful and different colors we see around us in nature, from bright orange pumpkins to the changing leaves before they fall. During the early 20th-century, the early 1900’s, tone color became more important in music than ever before. Remember, tone color is the way individual instruments sound. Another word for tone color is timbre [tam-ber]. Tone color took on a major role in music, creating variety and mood, and helping music have a continuous sound.
Our composer this week was a great innovator of 20th-century tone color and a pioneer in exploring percussive and noiselike sounds. He has a long name. Edgard Victor Achille Charles Varese [var-EZ] was a French-born composer who spent most of his career in the United States. In 1931, Varese wrote the first important work for a percussion ensemble. An ensemble is a small group of players. Twentieth-century composers were interested in exploring the special colors of the percussion group and occasionally wrote entire pieces to show it off.
Stage set up for performing Ionization
LISTEN FOR . . . Our listening example today is called Ionisation. Ionisation is written for thirteen percussionists. The first performance was at New York City’s famous Carnegie Hall in 1933. People were not used to hearing music by just the percussion section. One music critic described the performance as “a sock in the jaw”! The title refers to the ionization of molecules and features small rhythmic cells that expand and change. Varese’s music emphasizes timbre [tam-ber] and rhythm. He came up with the term “organized sound”. His idea of music reflected his vision of sound as living matter, and of musical space as being open rather than restricted by boundaries. Varese thought that, to “stubbornly conditioned ears, anything new in music has always been called noise”. So he asked the question, “what is music, but organized noises?”
MUSIC LISTENING LINKS
This video highlights the instruments as they are presented.
This video shows the full ensemble on a stage setting.
Our world today is filled with electronic sound, including electronic music. We hear it in the ringtones on our cell phones, electronic keyboards, electric guitars, computer generated music, and many other places. But did you ever wonder how electronic music got started? Our composer this week, Edgar Varese [var-ez], was an innovative musician who saw potential in using new electronic mediums in the 1950’s for sound production, such as synthesizers and computers. His use of new instruments and electronic resources helped him to realize his vision of a “liberation of sound”. He became known as the “Father of Electronic Music”.
Varese in an early recording studio
In 1958, at the age of 75, Varese composed Poeme Electronique, which in English means Electronic Poem. This was one of the earliest masterpieces of electronic music created in a tape studio. Varese’s raw sound material came from a wide variety of sources, including electronic generators, church bells, sirens, organs, human voices and machines. The sounds are often processed in a way that they cannot be easily identified.
In his listening outline, he describes the sounds as” chirps, woodblocks, fast taps, short squawks, piercing sounds, low sustained tones with grating noises, and two-second pauses”. Tension is created by suspenseful pauses. Varese organizes his sounds into an electronic poem that sounds weird, yet is amazingly logical and compelling.
MUSIC LISTENING LINKS
Click below to watch a video documentary tells about the construction of the pavilion for the Brussels World Fair where Varese's music was performed.
Our music lesson today is about Thanksgiving songs. Songs for Thanksgiving fall into three different categories.
"Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go".
First, there are songs written specifically for the holiday, such as “Over the River and Through the Woods, to Grandmother’s House We Go”. They might be patriotic songs about our country, or traditional Thanksgiving hymns such as “We Gather Together To Ask the Lord’s Blessing”.
Last week in music class our students had a lot of fun square-dancing to the blue-grass song “Turkey in the Straw”.
"Turkey in the Straw"
The second Thanksgiving song category is songs that address being grateful and givingthanks, even if they aren’t specifically about the holiday. These songs are often about the harvest season, such as “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come”, or “For the Beauty of the Earth.”
The third category is songs about Thanksgiving foods, such as “Sweet Potato Pie”, “Herb Stuffing”, “Mashed Potatoes USA”, and “Groovy Gravy”. Some of our younger students have been singing “Five Fat Turkeys Are We” in music class.
MUSIC LISTENING LINK
The country song we’re going to listen to is called “Thanksgiving Song”. It was written and performed by Mary Chapin Carpenter, and represents the ideals of many Americans during this holiday. Click below to hear this beautiful, classic country song.
Weiner Elementary School, 313 N. Garfield St., Weiner, AR 72479 870-684-2252(o) 870-684-2684(f) (We are not responsible for any content on any page linked from our page)