Exercise A: Familiarity and Story-Line Focus
- Listen to the following musical example, then write a brief statement — between 75 and 150 words long — describing the visual images it creates in your mind. (Use a separate Word document to record your answers for this question and those below, and save it to your hard drive for submission as an email attachment. Please be sure to include your name and “Unit 1 Listening Assignment” in the name of the document.)
- Now read the following statement by Bedrich Smetana, composer of the work…
“The composition depicts the course of the [Moldau] river, beginning from its two small sources, one cold the other warm; the joining of both streams into one; the flow of the Moldau through the forests and across meadow, through the countryside….”
…then listen to the above example again, and see if you can visualize the scenes he means to “describe” in the music. Write 75-150 words, describing what you hear and how it compares to what you experienced the first time.
Exercise B: Suspending Judgment
- Listen to the following musical example for as long as you care to, then write a short paragraph or two (75-150 words total) on whether you liked it or not, why, and how long it took you to decide.
- Now listen to the same example for five full minutes, without caring whether you like it or not. Instead, listen carefully to what is actually happening in the music. Then write a short paragraph or two (75-150 words total) describing what you heard (loud, soft, fast, slow, horns, strings, contrasts, repetitions, etc.). Also discuss whether or not this technique of “suspending judgment” contributed to your listening experience, and why.
Exercise C: Focusing On a Stream of Musical Events
- Listen to the following musical example (a portion of Bach’s “(Little) Organ Fugue in G Minor”), paying special attention to the main melody (or “theme”), which is the first series of notes you hear. Write down the time (minutes and/or seconds from the beginning of the piece, as shown by the time code on your media player or by your own measurement using a watch) each time you hear the same melody being played. Listen several times through, to see how many you can find. There are more than 5.
- Listen to at least 2 minutes of the following audio file (a selection from PDQ Beethoven), which provides a great example of an interactive-listening focus on a stream of musical elements, rather than a visual scene. (Don’t worry if you don’t yet understand all of the musical terms used; we’ll get to those later.) Write down the time code when you hear the comment, “It’s development time,” and which instruments start off that section.