Year 7 have spent the last two lessons exploring graphic scores – trying to visualise in shape and colour the sounds they are listening to, as well as turning a series of shapes and symbols into musical sound.
Here’s what they were working from:
And these are their graphic score versions of the first 30 seconds of Michael Jackson’s song ‘Billie Jean’:
Year 9 were faced with the musical uncertainties of interpreting an aleatory score where key decisions affecting timbre, harmony and pitches are left up to the performer. Here’s the score they were all working on:
They came up with widely differing versions of the piece and definitely put their own stamp on it. Every one had a distinct character and was musically convincing in its own way. You can listen to a sample of their work below:
Year 7 have been weighing up the pros and cons of graphic scores – scores which give a visual representation of music using symbols, shapes and colour. They concluded that, in their favour, graphic scores look artistic and are accessible whether or not you can read music notation. On the down side, they lack precision and because they are not standardised it would be hard for a large group of musicians to perform from one. The students went on to work in pairs on a graphic representation of the opening bars from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Here are two examples of their work – both highly personal and individual but equally valid in their visualisation of the music:
Year 8 are learning about contrasts in music and got their heads around a full score of Schubert’s ‘Unfinished’ Symphony (well, part of it anyway). For those of you who may be wondering why it is called ‘unfinished’, the work has only two movements rather than the usual four but musicologists are still debating as to why Schubert appeared to abandon it, just leaving a few sketches for the third movement. After identifying features of the melody, accompaniment, dynamics, instrumentation and texture, the students created their own graphic representations of the score. Here are some examples of their work: