Tuesday, June 9, 2015


PART A:  Theory /10
- harmonizing a melody, with a given melody and chord symbols

PART B: Music History /10
- listening to a pieces of music and analysing features to determine what era it is from

PART D: Music Analysis /30
- choice of three questions
- essay answer comparing different eras, forms, composers and techniques, using facts from learning to support your answer
- also including personal opinions on a topic related to music, society and technology

Monday, May 11, 2015

Reading Response 5: (LAST ONE!) - The Romantic Era in Music History

We are going to be learning about and composing in the style of the Romantic era. To prepare for this, read the websites below and watch the videos attached.

IPL on the Romantic Era
Thinkquest on the Romantic Era

Once you've watched and read a little, answer the following questions in a full paragraph response, at least 250 words:

  • how was the Romantic era different from the Classical era before it?
  • what were some of the major changes that took place in music and society in this era?
  • who were some of the major composers of the era and what did they accomplish? (pick 3-5)
  • what would it have been like to be a composer in Romantic era? 
Email your completed paragraph response to Ms. Simmons at lauren.simmons@tdsb.on.ca by Friday Dec 6.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

New Composition Assignment: Historical Composition

(for FIRST year students)

We're going to do some exploration of music history using the tools of composition. You're going to pick ONE of the three composition tasks below and complete it. Each type of composition has a list of criteria, and you should do some listening to some examples to help you inform your compositions.

Choice 1: Medieval Modal Chant (this option for new music students only - not if you've already taken guitar with Ms. Simmons)
First: visit the Introduction to Scales and Modes Website. Here you'll find info about the different modes/scales and how they related to the major scales we have studied. Listen to the modes and the example pieces and find one you like.

  • Pick one of the Medieval Modes described above.
  • Write your composition, with 3 layers of chant: main melody, drone and counter-melody.
  • Should end and start on the same note, and should use a flowing rhythmic style.
  • Use voices or organ in your orchestration.
  • Total composition should be at least 16 bars long.

Choice 2: Renaissance Madrigal
First: read this brief article about Renaissance Madrigals (scroll down to the section on Madrigals). Visit Youtube and listen to a few examples.
  • Pick a major key you'd like to work in.
  • Write your composition, with at least 4 layers of melody.
  • Should end and start on the same note, and should have a playful, dance-like musical style.
  • Use woodwinds or simple strings in your orchestration.
  • Total composition should be at least 16 bars long.

Choice 3: Baroque Fugue
First: watch this video on the construction of a Fugue. If you need more resources you can also read this article about Fugues.
  • Pick a major or minor key.
  • Write your composition, with 4 layers.
  • Should end and start on the same note, and use some degree of imitation in the polyphony.
  • Use voices, strings or organ in your orchestration.
  • Total composition should be at least 16 bars long.
Your goal is not to create a piece that is theoretically accurate, but one that is musically accurate to the styles of each era.

No matter which option you pick, it should be ready to share with the class for Thursday, May 14.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Listening Portfolio #4: Baroque and Classical Era

We are going to listen to pieces that cover the major features of these important eras. Your job:
  1. Pick 3 (THREE) of the following pieces and 1 (ONE) of your choice.
  2. Listen to them. For the pieces below, visit http://tdsb.naxosmusiclibrary.com/ (see Ms. Simmons for password) or find a version on YouTube.
  3. Write a paragraph (150-200 words) response to EACH piece. In writing your response, consider the questions of the Critical Analysis Process:
Initial Reaction
  • What is your first impression of the music?
  • What does it remind you of?
  • What is your emotional reaction?
  • What puzzles you about this music? Do you have any questions?
  • Can you make any personal connections to it?
  • rhythm - speed?
  • melody - improvisation?
  • harmony - major/minor?
  • texture - layers?
  • form - how is organized?
  • dynamics - loud, soft?
  • timbre - the instruments used?
  • other comments on the feel, mood or affect of the piece
Listening Portfolio Playlist #4: Baroque and Classical Era
  1. HANDEL - Overture to "Messiah" (starts slow, but second half is fast)
  2. BACH - Tocatta and Fugue in D minor (check out this version http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipzR9bhei_o)
  3. PURCELL - "Dido's Lament" from Dido and Aeneas
  4. VIVALDI - anything from The Four Seasons, but NOT Spring (you've heard it, believe me)
  5. LULLY - "Turkish March" or "Marche Royale"
  6. MOZART - Symphony no. 40 K550 1st Movement: Molto Allegro
  7. HAYDN -  Symphony no. 94 2nd movement (this will sound familiar)
  8. MOZART - Requiem - "Lacrimosa" if you're feeling sad or "Dies Irae" if you feel angry!
  9. SCARLATTI  or RAMEAU - anything that interests you
These will be due emailed to lauren.simmons@tdsb.on.ca by Friday May 8

Monday, April 27, 2015

NEW WORK: First Year Students
Reading Reflection #4: The Baroque and Classsical Eras

The Baroque era is when music starts to use instruments more formally. You'll start to see names you recognize and the harmonies of the music will become more familiar. You can read about it here...

Baroque Era from Thinkquest
Hyper Music on Baroque Era

Watch the video below

The Classical era is the golden age of music composition. Instrumental music reaches a peak in this time with lots of familiar tunes and composers. Read below for more...

Classical Era from Thinkquest
Hyper Music on Classical Era

Watch the video below

Once you've read and watched and learned a bit, write a 200-300 word (1 page single spaced) reflection, addressing some if not all of the following questions and summarizing your findings. You may use point form.
  • What are the main features of music in the Baroque Era?
  • Who were the main figures of music in the Baroque Era?
  • What are some of the major changes or developments that happened from the Baroque Era in to the Classical Era?
  • Who were the main figures of music in the Classical Era?
  • Overall, how did music evolve through these two eras?
  • What features of Baroque and/or Classical  Era can we hear in music today?
Email your completed reflection on or before Friday May 1 to lauren.simmons@tdsb.on.ca

Second Year Students: Critical Analysis #3 - Baroque Era

Some of the most critical evolutions in the history of music occurred in this era - the evolution of the orchestra, opera, and most modern musical forms!

The Task:
Listening: Pick 5 (five) important pieces of music from the Baroque Era. You may need to do some research to figure out which were the most important pieces.

Writing: For each piece, write a four-paragraph analysis documenting the following:
1. Who wrote the piece, when, and why it was important to the Baroque Era.
2. Analysis of the piece according to the Elements of Music.
3. Your personal reflections on the piece (like a Listening Journal).
4. How the piece shows the evolution of music across the Baroque Era.

Final Product: 5 entries on 5 different pieces, 4 paragraphs each
Due: Friday, May 8