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Teaching Strategies

Rhythms Patterns in Compound Meter

This teaching strategy may be used for teaching basic patterns found in 6/8 meter.

Sing, Memorize, and Analyze

  1. Sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat and pat the beat for the entire song. Explain that this can be called the macro beat.
  2. Determine the first subdivision of the beat.  Explain that this can be called the micro subdivision of the beat.
  3. Sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat and clap the rhythm for the entire song.
  4. Sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat and point to a representation of the rhythm on the board.
  5. Divide the class into two groups. Group one pat the beat for the target phrase and group two clap the rhythm. Switch.
  6. Sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat  Step the beat and clap the rhythm.
  7. Determine:
    1. The number of phrases.
    2. The number of beats in each phrase.

  8. Label one sound on a beat as ta; label one sound that lasts for two beats as ta-ah.
  9. Determine how many sounds occur on other beats and describe them.
  10. Compare the length of each rhythm to the micro beat. There should be no discussion of traditional notation at this time.
  11. Have students make a visual representation of the target phrase.
    1. The instructor hums the target phrase with a neutral syllable and asks students to create a visual representation of the target phrase. Students share their representations with each other.
    2. The instructor invites one student to the board to share his/her representation with the class.  If necessary, corrections to the representation can be made by reviewing the aural awareness questions.
    3. Students sing Row Row Row Your Boat with a neutral syllable and point to the given representation.  Sing long-short, short, short, short as well as ta and ta-ah,
    4. Figure out the solfège syllables for the phrase.

Music Theory

Assess kinesthetic, aural, and visual awareness with phrase one of Row Row Row Your Boat.

Stage One: Label the Sound

  1. In compound meter, any attack on the beat is called a ta; a sound that lasts two beats is called ta-ah
  2. Three sounds that are evenly distributed over one beat are called: Ta ki da.
  3. Two sounds on a beat; one long followed by a short sound is called ta   da
  4. Sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat with rhythm syllables while tapping the beat.
  5. Sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat with rhythm syllables while conducting the beat.

Present the Notation

Explain the concept of 6/8 meter, where the beat is a dotted quarter and micro beats are eighth notes.

Follow the same procedure for teaching other 6/8 meter patterns.

Practice activities for each pattern in compound meter

Reading

  1. Transform the rhythm of Row, Row, Row Your Boat into Oh How Lovely Is the Evening.
  2. Read Row, Row, Row Your Boat in traditional rhythmic notation with rhythm syllables.

Writing

Rewrite 6/8 rhythms and melodies in 6/16 and 6/4 meter

Improvisation/Composition

  1. The instructor claps a question phrase and chants rhythm syllables; students clap an answer phrase and chant rhythm syllables.
  2. The instructor writes a song in stick notation but leaves out four beats. Students improvise four-beat rhythms that use syncopated rhythms.

Listening

Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring from Cantata No. 147 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Movement 3 Violin Concerto by Ludwig Beethoven
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Horn Concerto No. 4 in E flat major. K. 495. Movement III, Rondo.

Rhythm patterns containing three sounds on a beat in simple meter

Sing, Memorize, and Analyze

As the instructor or a student performs the song Little Partridge:

  1. Identify the form.
  2. Sing the melody and keep the following ostinato:  Pat clap pat clap.
  3. Conduct Little Partridge while you sing.
  4. Determine the number of beats within each phrase.
  5. Sing Little Partridge and clap the rhythm.
  6. Divide the class into two groups. Group A performs the beat while Group B performs the rhythm; vice versa.
  7. Sing Little Partridge tapping the beat with your left hand and tap the rhythm with your right hand.
  8. Determine and describe the number of sounds on each beat.
  9. Determine the position of the strong beats.
  10. Create a visual representation of the beats.

Music Theory

Present the name and explanation of triplet:
Little Partridge is in meter.  Note that the seventh beat of the first phrase contains three evenly distributed sounds on the beat; this is referred to as a triplet.

The pattern of three sounds occurring over one beat in simple meter is called ta ki da. Note that three sounds occurring in one beat in compound meter is also called  ta ki da. Conduct Little Partridge while you sing.

Present the notation for triplets in 2/4, 2/8 and 2/2 meter

Duplets: Rhythm Patterns containing two sounds on a beat in compound meter

Students should be shown how to rewrite a melody in 2/4 in 6/8.  This will also allow for the introduction of the duplet pattern.  Students can sing with rhythm syllables using ta   di for reading two sounds on a beat in compound meter.

Changing Meter

Sing, Memorize, and Analyze

  1. Determine the number of phrases.
  2. Identify the form.
  3. Sing the melody and keep the following ostinato:  Pat clap clap pat clap
  4. Determine the number of beats within each phrase.
  5. Sing Little Swallow and clap the rhythm.
  6. Divide the class into two groups.  Group A performs the beat while Group B performs the rhythm; vice versa.
  7. Sing Little Partridge tapping the beat with your left hand and tap the rhythm with your right hand.
  8. Determine the position of the strong beats.
  9. Create a visual representation of the beats.

Music Theory

Present the name and explanation of changing meter.

Practice

  1. Sing Little Swallow while conducting the beat.
  2. Sing Little Swallow while conducting the beat and singing with rhythm names.


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