Friday, March 15, 2013

Online treasures: The Book of the Great Musicians

Found at archive.org:  The Book of the Great Musicians, by Percy Scholes.

This book is mentioned in Charlotte Mason's Programmes from the primary years through Form III (so up to about age 13).  No details are given there--it's just suggested as a supplement to the term's composer.  You would probably figure it's just another book of boring biographical notes and maybe some music terminology.

Not so:  this is a very creative, open-ended little guide for young musicians!  Granted, the biographical notes can be a bit sketchy, e.g. He got sick; he went blind; then he died.  That sort of thing.  And you can probably skip the questions and answers.  The best part of each chapter is the "Things to Do (For School and Home)."  There are research questions; there are listening assignments; there are ideas for acting things out and putting on performances.  This could be a great book to add to other biographies or information books, to liven up a term's composer study.  And for free!  Thank you, people who upload old books!

Samples:

3. Get into your head as many good Folk Tunes as you can, so that you will always have something jolly to sing or whistle. This will help to make you musical. Some of the country people in England know as many as 300 or 400 old tunes. How many can you learn and remember ?

6. If possible, get some grown-up or other good pianist to play you a piece in Variations form belonging to the Elizabethan times, for example:
John Bull's The King's Hunting Jig.
Orlando Gibbons's The Queen's Command.
Giles Farnaby's Pawle's Wharfe.
Get them played several times and listen carefully, so as to find out how the tune is changed in each of the Variations.

5. Would this be a good plan for a Symphony or Sonata ? --

Long quick piece,
Short lively piece,
Merry piece,
Very rapid piece.

6. Would you prefer this ? --
Slow expressive piece,
Funeral March,
Solemn piece.

I. If you are a pianist get Schumann's Album for the Young, and learn some of the pieces in it. (If you are a pretty fair sight-reader you can play them without much ' learning '.)  Then study how they are made and make little diagrams of some of them. Look at their titles and see if you think the music expresses the idea of the title. If you cannot play yourself, get one of your friends to play them to you, and, by listening carefully, learn all you can about them.

And this is just for Leslie (a Chopin fan):

I. Get somebody to play you one or two of the Nocturnes, and find out how they are made.

(a) What sort of work has Chopin given the right hand to do, for the most part ?

{b) And what sort of work has he given the left hand ?

{c) What is the 'form' of the piece? Try to make a diagram of it.

{d) When you have found out the form and made the diagram, find out the chief keys (if you understand keys) and put these in the diagram.

(e) Then see if you can find out how Chopin keeps up your interest in the piece by variety in the character of the tunes (or ' subjects ') he uses, and in their keys.

{f) When you have done all this, have the piece played again and listen to it carefully to notice all these details.

(g) And finally have it played once more, without troubling much to listen to the details, but just enjoying the beauty of the piece.



Linked from the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival.

1 comment:

Celeste said...

This sounds like a little gem! Thank you so much for sharing.

Related Posts with Thumbnails