DMK lesson 2-6-15 Melody and Harmony

melody and harmony

Today we started music time singing “‘A’ You’re Adorable” to a recording by Maria Muldaur (Swingin’ in the Rain, 1998). The children had already been taught this song, and I told them it’s a song I love to sing around Valentine’s Day. During the instrumental interlude, we danced in our places. (We have adapted our dancing moves to accommodate a child with a physical disability, which works out well for everyone!) Once we sang it, I played the beginning of the song again and had them listen to the different parts of the song. Before the singing ever begins, what did they hear? Which instruments besides the voice could they hear? (clarinet? oboe? piano? guitar? drums?)

I wrote the words “melody” and “harmony” on the board. (Can you believe there are actually two girls in my class this year, each with one of the names, respectively?! How serendipitous!)

I explained that the notes we sang in the song is the melody and the other music that the instruments were playing was the harmony. I had them echo me after I explained the definitions again: “Melody is the notes we sing” (repeated). “Harmony is the other notes we hear that sound good with the melody” (repeated).

I also wrote the word “accompaniment” on the board under “harmony” and said that we sometimes call the harmony that other instruments play “accompaniment.”

Hot Cross Buns

I pulled out a piece of sheet music (Song Garden©-style) for “Hot Cross Buns” and showed it to the students.  I told the children that a “bun” is another name for a roll, and the cross means the mark on the top of the roll (I drew a little circle with a cross on the top, like a roll.) (See recipe and photo here.) I said that a long time ago, in England, for example, there were street sellers trying to sell what the had on their cart (or in a basket). I said that they might be calling out, “Hot Cross Buns” to people who were on the street on a cold day. “Can you imagine eating a delicious, hot, fresh roll with melting butter on it? Let’s pretend!” (And we pretended to take a bite and savor it for a second.)

I then played for them the beginning part of “Who will buy?” from Oliver!, stopping after each singer sang out what they were selling (“Who will buy my sweet, red roses, two blooms for a penny?”) (lyrics here) and asked what the person was selling (roses, milk, strawberries, etc.), I asked them which one did they think was the melody and which voices were the harmony. They decided the roses were melody, so I drew a rose next to the word, and that strawberries was harmony, so I drew a rose next to that. (I didn’t play the whole song for them because of time. I wish I had shown a video clip instead of using an audio clip, though. I would see if I could find one without dubbing, as this one has. This just shows which one. It’s also too long to show the whole beginning.)

After explaining about street sellers, I asked the classroom teacher “to be our metronome,” and I sang “Hot Cross Buns” for them once. I held up my right hand (left hand was holding the song) and held up a finger for each count. If a song was 2 counts, I held up my pointer finger and did a quick review of note values/rhythm. I pointed to the smallest notes and said, “Remember how the smaller notes are the shortest ones? They only get 1 beat.” Then I pointed to the medium-sized dots. “Are these longer or shorter?” (Longer). “That’s right!” I said. “How many beats do these notes get?” (Two!) Then pointed to the largest dots. How many beats do these notes get?” (Four!).

Then I played it once for them on the bells. “That was the melody.” I told them, and then asked, “Which note do you think might sound good as harmony to go with this melody?” A child who raised his hand suggested “La.” So I asked the classroom teacher to play the melody on her set of bells, and I played “la” along with her, on each note. Then I asked for the teacher to suggest a note. She chose “sol.” So we played it again.

Then I sent the children to get their bells (the “Queen of the Jungle” for the day dismissed the children row by row), and after they got back, I played my “Put your mallet on your ear” game until nearly everyone was ready to play.

When we were ready, we played “Hot Cross Buns” several times at a very slow tempo. “Hover above mi,” I told them each time before we began.

Then I divided the class in half (pointed out which half would play with their teacher) and told the other half of the class they would play sol as melody with me. After one time through, we swapped, and my group played melody.

Then it was time to our sing good-bye song! I told the children after the song to think of words and notes that they would like to use in a Valentine song that we will write for their parents next week. The Queen of the Jungle invited rows to go put their bells away.