So, we have one more class before their first high-stakes listening ==> processing ==> writing exam. I wanted a very short excerpt to include on Monday’s class (intended to specifically prepare them for a written exam). I’m obsessed with The Punch Brothers’ newest album, Who’s Feeling Young Now? and had no problems finding a good example (55 seconds into the track). I like this example because the basic melody is … basic, yet has one challenging moment (a leap down to ^6) that makes it non-trivial. It also has harmony above the tune that some students can focus on figuring out. So, there’s ways to keep the quicker students challenged.
I feel that my love affair with this album is totally validated by Chris Thile‘s receipt of a MacArthur “Genius” Grant. This guy is incredible…
Post-Class Update (reflection)
This excerpt was fine. No one really had time to process the extra harmonies because we were so busy.
- Leap down to ^6 was a great moment. We also could talk about the “wistfulness” of ^6 (having also just reviewed the famous theme from Dvorak’s New World Symphony and its lovely use of ^6).
- Great text for this point of the semester…
- Interesting texture
- It would not be a good exam example because the texture is so beautifully distracting.
- Many students had trouble figuring out which voice carried the melody when given only a few hearings. I got to sing along with the recording to help them identify the melody, which was not the highest line.
- There is a lot of emphasis on ^5 in the tune and the texture. Some students misinterpreted this as ^1 (and had a dictation that started on ^4… I teased them about how that really doesn’t fit in with what we’re doing in class). A good warm up in the key (E Major) is helpful before playing the excerpt to ground them in the pitch level for ^1.
Here is an excerpt of my handout–this is what I gave them. This exercise had them apply scale degrees to given rhythm.