Sharing Music Across Cultures

Activity 3: Meter and Movements of Labor and Ceremony

Lesson Objectives: 



  • To help students relate movement and performance practice to work and traditional practices based upon two scenes, Sneak Up and Sea Chantey, from the Echoes symphonic performance.

  • To help students understand the challenge of combining music from different cultures in terms of meter and phrasing.


In both the Sneak Up and the Sea Chantey, the performance practices are contrary to the movement they portray. The Sea Chantey, "Old Maui,” portrays hard deliberate motion of labor and navigation while the song is performed in a relaxed manner with wide four part harmony that would be hard to produce in the actual act of sailing.


The "Sneak Up" portrays sneaking up on a hunter's or warrior's prey, yet the movement of the dancer is fast and showy, while the music is loud and piercing. 



  • Show the Sea Chanty and Sneak Up clips and have students answer the following in their project journal:


 



  1. What motions or performance practices might lend themselves to the actual task described in the music?

  2. Why would these performance practices have evolved this way?


Split the class into two groups:



  • Group A: Simulate the motions needed for the act of hunting while playing the “Sneak Up" music. Students will create their own movements to demonstrate their understanding of the activity portrayed by the clip.

  • Count how many beats occur before each physical activity repeats itself. How many groupings are there overall for the piece?


It is OK to use the term "beat" loosely depending on the musical background of your students. Beat should be something the students can hear, point out and measure.



  • Group B: Simulate the motions needed to reflect the movements of working on a ship while playing the Sea Chantey “Old Maui.” Students will create their own movements to demonstrate their understanding of the activity portrayed in the clip.

  • Count how many beats occur before each physical activity repeats itself. How many groupings are there overall for the piece?


Pair each Group A student with a Group B counterpart
Each pair will answer the following questions for the class:



  1. Does each activity group have the same beats per activity?

  2. If not, how many times would each activity complete a full rotation before each group is at the beginning of its motion cycle?

  3. How would this activity be similar to the process that composer Randy Fleischer went through to make the layering of these different melodies possible for the finale of the Echoes symphonic piece?