Fourth Grade - Music - Lesson 9 - "Evening Bells"
 

Objectives

Sing "Evening Bells" in unison (review from Lesson 7).

Notice the repeat sign and double bar in the music notation.

Find the numbers that indicate where each group of voices enters.

Sing "Evening Bells" as a round in 3 parts.
 

Materials

Copies of the round "Evening Bells," attached, 1 for each student
 

Procedure

Pass out the copies of the round and remind the students that they learned to sing it in unison. Tell them that this time they each have a copy of their own, because they know the piece well enough and they can recognize the way the notes of the melody move and what the rhythm is. Review with them the sign for treble clef, the B-flat, and the time signature of 6/4 (6 beats to a measure, a quarter note gets one beat). Have someone say the words under all the half notes (Oh, love, is, is, When, bells, sweet, sweet) dotted half notes (Ding, Dong, Ding, Dong, Ding, Dong) and quarter notes (how, ly, the eve--ning, the eve--ning, the, are, ly, ring--ing, ly, ring--ing).

Next, tell them that the heavy, vertical line at the end of the piece is called a double bar.

Have them repeat the term a few times and tell them that there is always a double bar at the very end of every piece, no matter whether it is for voices or instruments. Then have them notice the 2 little dots in front of this double bar. Tell them this is a sign for musicians that means: go back to the very beginning and sing or play it all over again.

Next, have them say the words in rhythm with you, and have them exaggerate the rhythm, rocking slightly back and forth on beats 1 and 3. When the rhythm sounds secure, have them sing the song together in unison. Then point out the numbers at the beginnings of each line and divide the class into 3 groups. Tell them they are groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively and are going to sing the song as a 3-part round. (The numbers 1, 2, and 3 indicate that the song is divided into 3-measure phrases, and each group sings a full 3-measure phrase before the next one enters.) Tell them: Group 1 begins singing the song by itself. When does group 2 begin singing the song from the beginning? (right after group 1 has sung the first line) When does group 3 begin singing the song from the beginning? (right after group 2 has sung the first line) What happens when group 1 reaches the end of the piece? (They start over again, and sing it all the way through.) What happens when group 2 reaches the end of the piece? (They start over and sing the piece all the way through again.) What about group 3? (the same thing)

Have them try, and start each group when it comes in. Make sure the students in each group are standing close together so they can hear one another for support. They will need to try it several times before it works, but they should enjoy the sound of the last group singing the bell sounds all alone after the other 2 groups have finished. If they are able to make it work, tell them it is a real accomplishment and is the beginning of singing together in harmony. If it doesn't work, tell them there will be other times when they can practice it. If you are their regular teacher, see if you can find a few extra minutes when they can practice, either at the very beginning of the day or whenever it is convenient. Make sure they save their copies in a folder, or you can collect and save them in a safe place.
 

Fourth Grade - Music - Lesson 10 - Strauss Waltz
 

Objectives

Recall Vienna as a city of music in Europe.

Listen and dance to a Viennese waltz.

Locate the Danube River and relate to Geography lessons.
 

Materials

Classroom-size world map or map of Europe

Cassette recording of a piece by Johann Strauss the Younger, On the Beautiful Blue Danube (3-4 min.) This waltz is available on many CDS, but the least expensive form would be to buy one of the innumerable cassettes made of waltz collections. Individual titles will be listed, so you can be sure this particular Strauss is included. It is one of his 3 or 4 most famous.
 

Suggested Book

Lorenz, Albert. Metropolis: Ten Cities, Ten Centuries. New York: Abrams, 1996.

This oversize book teems with stylized maps, plans, and drawings of cities--one is chosen for each century beginning with Jerusalem in the 11th. Vienna is the city chosen for the 18th century (pp. 46-51), and gives an excellent idea of how musical that city was under the Hapsburg dynasty and continued to be through the 19th-century times of Johann Strauss and his perfection of the Viennese waltz.
 

Background for Teacher

Johann Strauss II (or The Younger, as he is sometimes designated) was born in 1825 in Vienna and died there in 1899. He was the eldest son to Johann Strauss, a musician who played both violin and viola in dance orchestras that were in demand at the time, because of the growing popularity of waltzing at inns and beer gardens in the suburbs of Vienna. The elder Strauss wrote many waltzes himself, and eventually had his own dance orchestra that he played in and also conducted.

In spite of his own musicianship, the elder Strauss was firmly opposed to his son's becoming a musician and insisted he become a bank clerk when he had finished his schooling. Strauss's wife, however, had other idea. She encouraged her son and secretly arranged for him to study the violin with one of the lead violinists of her husband's dance orchestra. (He was only 6 when he wrote his first waltz.) When the father abandoned the family to live with another woman, the younger Johann's music training was expanded to include theory, and he formed his own dance orchestra of 15 musicians when he was only 19. The father died in 1849, at which point the orchestras of father and son were merged under young Johann's direction.

Johann Strauss II wrote more than 500 waltzes in his lifetime and was known in his own time as "The Waltz King," a title that sticks to him over 100 years later. After Strauss II, the waltz was incorporated by many classical composers into concert pieces--movements of orchestral symphonies and chamber music. But the waltz the students will hear in this lesson is the Viennese waltz, which was, above all, a piece of music to be danced in a particular tempo and style, nearly opposite in those characteristics to the minuet, another dance in 3/4 time which was of courtly origin. The steps of the minuet were small and delicate, the tempo was slow to moderate, and it was the essence of formality and elegance. The origin of the waltz as dance was in the countryside, with whirling and turning, close body contact between each couple, and a fast tempo. Dancers covered as much of the floor as possible, and it might be outdoors in a beer garden or in a dance hall where people of any class could be seen. (Any of the books about Haydn or Mozart for Lessons 4 and 6 can give a picture of Vienna and courtly dances in a period about 50 years earlier than Strauss II's. The Hapsburg monarchy and court were similarly opulent in the first half of the 19th century.)
 

Procedure

Begin the lesson by having someone find the city of Vienna on the map. Tell the students that Vienna was a city filled with music lovers and famous composers in the 18th century. If you have some of the books written about Mozart and Haydn, or the Lorenz book suggested above, show them pictures of Vienna in the 18th century and remind them that the city was ruled by a royal family by the name of Hapsburg who loved the arts and employed artists and musicians in their court.

Tell them that when there were parties and dances at the court, one of the favorite dances was the minuet. The people who danced at court were wealthy and elegant, and spent huge amounts of money on fancy clothing and jewels. (Show them some pictures to illustrate this.) When people danced the minuet, they were all dressed up. What do you think the music for the minuet might have sounded like? Do you think it was fast or slow? (slow) Men and women bowed and curtsied to one another very slowly and walked around with tiny, dainty steps.

Tell the students that you are going to play a dance for them that first started in Vienna in the late 18th century and became very popular in the early 19th century. Say to them: Listen and tell me whether you think this is a minuet. Why or why not? Play the Strauss waltz for them and let them respond to the question. When everyone has had a chance, tell them it is a Viennese waltz written by a composer named Johann Strauss the Younger who had a dance orchestra in Vienna and wrote more than 500 Viennese waltzes. (Tell them something about his life if there is time.)

Ask the students whether they can guess what the time signature on this piece might be. If no one can guess, play just a bit of the piece and encourage them to count out loud with you

1-2-3, 1-2-3 or OOM-pa-pa, OOM-pa-pa, so they get the idea that a waltz is always in 3/4 time. Ask them: Does this music sound as though a waltz has tiny, delicate steps? (no) Show the students a basic waltz step. Simply make sure that you are always turning as you take nice long, gliding steps to the 3 beats and explain the waltz to them as you do it. Say to them: Waltzes were danced by ordinary people in hotels and gardens, indoors, and out, with clothes that allowed them to glide along with nice big strides. The waltz is still done the same way--by couples who hold on to one another, one holding the other around the waist and close, with hands joined (show them with a partner).

Have them choose partners, then play the music and let them dance. If they have caught on to the basic idea, tell them that in Vienna not only would each couple turn and turn with their gliding steps, but the entire group of dancers would gradually circle around the floor or garden as they danced the waltz. Let them try. Then tell them that the name of the Strauss waltz is On the Beautiful Blue Danube. Ask them why they think Strauss gave that name to this waltz. (They should recall from a recent geography lesson that the Danube River flows by the city of Vienna. Have someone come up to the map and find it.)