Friday, October 3, 2014

TIMBER!!!!! No, I said timbre.

    Timbre is likely the most common mispronounced word in  music vocabulary.  Timbre is pronounced tam-bur.  Timbre is the unique quality or tone colors of sound.  In other words, it's how you know the difference between talking to your Mom or Dad on the phone.  Even though you can't see them you can tell by the timbre of their voice who they are.  In fourth and fifth grade class we listened to several different styles of singing from all over the world and describe their timbre.  We came up with a list of words that we could use to describe these different timbres.  A few of our description words were:


    The singing selections that we listened to were not what the students were used to hearing and we talked about how we had to listen with mature ears.  Our first selection came from the European country, Bulgaria.  One quality of Bulgarian vocal music is harmony created by singing notes very close together, producing a special ringing sound.  The students used the words high, full, complex, and straight to describe the timbre.  Click the link below to watch a video of the singing.

    Tuvian Throat singing is a style of singing that has been in existence for thousands of years.  Men from Tuva will sing in a choomej technique that originated in Mongolia.  They will change the inside shape of their mouths to make the higher and lower pitches sounds.  Students thought this style was by far the most different sounding singing technique.  They described the timbre as, high pitch, rough, loud, and unique. Watch the video below to listen and see this throat singing technique.

    We listened to several other styles such as Native American Powwow singing, opera singing, and traditional choral music.  The kids really enjoyed listening to all the different timbres of the world. 


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Ms. Mary Mack-Mack-Mack!

    Who doesn't remember learning and playing a few clapping games with your friends at recess?  In 2nd grade this week the students learned, "Ms. Mary Mack."  The Ms. Mary Mack clapping pattern is very simple it goes like this:

1. Cross your arms, hands on shoulders.
2. Pat your thighs
3. Clap your hands.
4. Clap your partner's right hand.
5. Clap your hands.
6. Clap your partner's left hand. 
7. Clap your hands.
8. Clap both of your partner's hands.

    "Ms. Mary Mack," went great with our music vocabulary word tempo.  Tempo is how fast or slow the music is or the speed of the music. With each verse we sang, our singing and clapping would grow faster or faster. Which brings us to our next vocabulary word, accelerando.  Accelerando means that the tempo grows faster and faster.  Give "Ms. Mary Mack" a try.