Music Listening Lesson - Week # 1 - April 13-17, 2020
This was originally listed as optional Enrichment. It is now your first assignment.
So far this year we have been learning about large groups of instruments and singers. For the next few weeks we will look at small groups of instruments.
Today we will begin with a small group of string instruments. Back about the time of George Washington (before electricity, computers, and cell phones) when people wanted entertainment they would often get together in small groups and play instruments. Composers started writing music for these small groups of players. One of the most common combinations was called the string quartet.
-How many people do you think would be in a quartet? If you said 4, you were correct.(Just like there are 4 quarters in a dollar - that quar stands for one of four parts that are the same size or importance)
-Which instruments do you think would be in a string quartet? If you said violin, viola, cello, and double bass, it’s a good guess, but not quite right. A string quartet usually has two violins, one viola and one cello.
-Why did the double bass get left out? There are a couple of main reasons for this. If you’ve ever noticed when we look at an orchestra there are a lot more violins than lower string instruments. This is so the low sounds aren’t too loud for the high sounds. This is called balance. If a string quartet had both a cello and a double bass, the low sounds would be too loud for the high sounds. So the normal string quartet has two violins, one viola, and one cello Folks found this combination sounded really good together so it became traditional to use that grouping.
Now let’s listen to what makes up a string quartet. The television show Sesame Street had a good segment by a famous group called the Kronos Quartet that explains how a string quartet works together. Let’s listen to that now. On your computer go to:
YouTube - Kronos on Sesame Street - What is a String Quartet? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qj_MzFstr6c
Now let’s listen to part of a famous string quartet by Beethoven. What do you remember about Beethoven? You can find some more information about Mr. Beethoven by going on your computer to:
SFSKids: Fun & Games With Music! You’ll need Adobe Flash for this.
Here’s the link for part of one of Beethoven’s string quartets. There’s about a 27 second story at the beginning which is fun and then they play. It’s pretty long, but see if you can listen to at least two minutes for first and second grade and three minutes for third grade and older. As you listen can you find any times where
-everyone plays the same thing at the same time
-one instrument plays a solo (playing the important melody alone) while the others play in the
-two instruments play one thing while the other two instruments play something else
-each instrument plays something different
On the computer go to:
YouTube - The Dover Quartet: Beethoven’s Allegro Molto, String Quartet Op. 59, No. 3