Explore new territories
The song Walking through the Woods brings a bit of mistery and magic to our musical experiences. With Canoe Song we already were getting used to new sounds. Actually, both songs make use of pentatonic scale – made of only 5 notes – typical of non-occidental musical cultures. American blues (through its African roots) and British rock (inspired by their own folk music) have made these scales familiar to our ears, but among the first to make use of them – more than 100 years ago – was French composer Claude Debussy, creator od evocative and almost magical atmospheres. To appreciate a pentatonic sacle, just listen the first 5 notes of the instrumental interlude of Walking through the Woods.
A mysterious wood
We often hear that there is nothing more universal than music. It may be, however it is also true that there’s nothing that subjective and personal! We all notice different sides of music, even in our Music Together classes: a toddler likes rythmical gestures of the teacher, his mother tries to memorize the melody, older kids want to repeat the words, a baby is busy locating different voices and sounds, as busy as his dad performing the shakers’ rhythm with concentration and precision of a master.
And sometimes, althou all of us are interested in the same thing, everybody could see it with a different view. For example, if we have to keep the beat of the 6/4 meter (the one of Walking through the Woods) some people could keep 3 macrobeats of 2 microbeats each; some other will keep 2 macrobeatso of 3 microbeats each. If the rhythm of a song is enough as abiogous, and this is the case, our brain will swing from one reading to the other one, as if it was lost in a mysterious rhythmical wood, where nothing is what it looks like.
Actually, in Walking through the Woods we can listen to both solutions: we can keep 3 beats on some measure (“Walking through the Woods _ on a Cloudy…”), while the next one we can keep just 2 beats (“Day _ _ [pause] _ _”), or in other words we can count “one – two – one – two – one – two” (1st measure), and then “one – two – three – one – two – three” (2nd measure). During the class we move to this scheme as naturally and lightly as we can.
Then we come to the end of the recording, where there’s such ambiguity in the rhythm of instruments and of the voice, that everybody should move guided by his own instinct.
Rhythmical ambiguity of number 6 (3 of 2, or 2 of 3?) is called hemiola and is typical of some sang, played or danced music of Africa. First european colonizers who listened to that music, were maybe thinking of a sound chaos without any sense: actually it was a perfect clockwork mechanism were everybody was given a different rhythm, where everybody, including the younger ones, could find his place.
- Listen to Canoe Song and let’s do again a round with the recorded voices
- Listen to Walking through the woods and try to move (giving hand to the kids or keeping them on our arms) to the ambiguos rhythm of 3 of 2, or if you prefer, 2 of 3
- Walking through the woods can also be sang as a lullaby. Loose the tempo of the melody, and forget about the rhythm!
- Read the songbook on pages 6 and 7 (“You and your child can learn music!”, and expecially “All children are musical” and “All children can achieve basic music competence”)
3rd week activities list:
- Open and shut them
- Canoe Song in rounds (two or more voices)!
- See how I’m jumping, also dancing in couples
- Train is a-comin’ with shakers! (slow-fast…)
- Fireworks! We survived some rhythmical canon experiment!
- Shoo fly! Again it flew away!
- Walking through the Woods with scarves
- Palo palo as a playalong!
- My Bonnie (lullaby)
Before and after the session we listened to these 2 albums:
- The Piano Works vol. 2 de Claude Debussy of Naxos, witht he wonderful Children’s Corner Suite, a collection where childhood simpleness and magic melts with tenderness
- Massatge amb cançons of Dàmaris Gelabert with Anna Roig Dolz, an àlbum for massaging babies, but also for listening, with some fantastic and non-conventional songs[/ca]