Year 7 have been composing with emojis – they were given around 40 to choose from and could select up to four to use as inspiration for a composition.
Here is one of their creations which used these emojis -😎😢😡😴
Year 8 have been composing over a chord sequence using the eight chord pattern from Pachelbel’s Canon. Inspired by this and by a very different hip-hop/fusion rendition of the piece, they have made their own versions, each of which is really individual in its approach. One group, performing their piece live, discovered that they could put the melody from ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’ over Pachelbel’s chord pattern. Here are a few examples of their work to listen to:
Year 7 have been composing using a pentatonic scale as the basis for their piece. This means just 5 notes to choose from rather than the more usual 8 – the most obvious example of a ready made pentatonic scale is to play the black notes on a keyboard. Alternatively in GarageBand you can select a pentatonic scale and the keyboard will be automatically reconfigured to use just those 5 notes. Sounds a bit restrictive? Not if these creations are anything to go by:
Post-Christmas blues has prevailed in Year 9 music as they have been looking at The Blues from its origins in the US to it’s modern renditions by the likes of Eric Clapton and Jools Holland. Students all learnt to play the 12 bar blues chord pattern on keyboards before embarking on their own blues compositions. Here is a small taste of the varied and imaginative music they created. The first was composed on an iPad and the second is a live blues improvisation on electric guitar.
Year 8 have been responding to a composing brief, focusing especially on texture, timbre and pitch: ‘Compose a piece of music that takes the listener on a journey from the centre of the earth to the edge of space.’
Here are some of their creations:
Year 8 have been focusing on the musical element of texture and the effect changing textures can have on a piece of music. Whilst general descriptive words can be used to talk about texture in music such as ‘sparse’, or ‘full’, there are some technical terms which are useful to know and understand so students have been getting to grips with monophonic (a single line), homophonic (chordal, blocks of sound) and polyphonic (interweaving melody lines) textures. They put their knowledge and understanding into practice by devising a composition that includes all three types of texture.
Here are some of their pieces:
With Move Up Day happening this week, students all moved up to the year they will be coming back into in September to get a feel for what it will be like. Year 9 students were able to go to some of their option choices including music. We jumped straight into the musical action with a composing challenge: compose a song (a verse or chorus) from scratch including a chord pattern, melody, bass line and beat. Impressively, here’s the collaborative result which took just under an hour to create:
Year 9 have been learning about Rap, not only its history but also the technical ins and outs – the flow, delivery, enunciation and style. After spending some time listening to classics such as Grandmaster Flash and Puff Daddy, they set about writing their own rap from scratch, starting with devising their own lyrics. Subjects varied from Communism and Feminism to Trump and rabbits… – you can never tell where inspiration will strike! They then had to compose a backing track and rap their lyrics over this. The whole process showed them that rap is a lot more complicated than it might appear. Here are some examples of their work:
So far this term Year 8 have been looking at the concept of structure in music and how composers of all genres and styles give a shape to their work. We have focused most recently on ternary form, otherwise known as ABA form, where there is a middle section which provides a contrast with the outer A sections. Most memorably for Year 8 ternary form can be likened to a jammy dodger biscuit with its contrasting filling sandwiched between two biscuits and of course, in the name of hands on learning, we had to sample a few of these just to be sure!
Here is piece in ternary form which two students composed and performed live to the class:
Year 9’s skirmish with experimental music continues as they explore music concrete. This took off with the invention and development of recording techniques in the 1950s which opened a whole new world to composers, a world which we 21st century-ites take for granted. Music concrete takes raw sounds and then manipulates and combines them into a musical composition.
The students’ first task was to collect a bank of sound samples using the Sampler in GarageBand. They then had to work out how they wanted to manipulate and combine them to create a piece of music. A lot of imaginative work went into this and you can hear some of the results of their labours below:
This piece combines samples and pre-composed loops – spot the topical content of one of their samples!
This is an imaginative remake of a song by The White Stripes in which the students use samples of their voices to realise the parts:
This, at times quite terrifying, piece uses a mixture of vocal samples and sounds recorded from around the school: