Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Four World Music Lessons - Lesson 4 - Indian Classical Music: Raga, Tala and Drone

Lesson 4 - Indian Classical music: Raga, Tala and Drone
The classical music of India is a tradition spanning thousands of years. This lesson will involve a brief description of some basic elements of Indian classical music including raga, tala, and the use of the drone.  Students will then create music using these elements.

Video: Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad Allah Rakha at the Monterey Pop Festival -

Group Lesson
I. Drone - The foundation from which the music is born.
A. Tanpura - Demonstrate with live tanpura
B. The I and V drone, (vadi and samvadi)
II. Rag - Sing: Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Da Ni Sa
III. Tal - The rhythmic cycle
A. Tintal - 16 beats,
    Dha Dhin Dhin Dha
    Dha Dhin Dhin Dha
    Dha Tin   Tin    Ta
    Ta    Dhin Dhin Dha
B. Rupak Tal - 7 beats
    Tin   Tin Na
    Dhin Na
    Dhin Na

Individual or Group Work, (no more than 3 to a group)
I. Create a piece of music that  includes the following elements:
A. A drone that runs throughout the piece.
B. Instrumental melody, (vocalizations of the syllables are fine, but no lyrics
C. Melody follows the notes of a rag, (yemen, baihrav or another one of your choice).
D. Percussion keeps the tal, (rhythmic cycle). Please choose from tintal or rupak
II. Present your music to the class with the following information:
A. Rag name
B. Tal
C. The process of creation.

Advanced Work
I. Organize a lunch time concert where you present/perform your music for the Upper Elementary class.
II. Transcribe your piece of music on
III. Go see a live Indian classical music performance and report on it.

Resources - David Courtney’s website, a great resource for Indian music knowledge.

Four World Music Lessons - Lesson 3 - Reggae

Lesson 3 -  Reggae
Reggae is a style of music that was developed in the 1960’s from Jamaica.

Materials - Internet access


Individual work
I. Use any resource available and respond, (in full sentences) to at least two of the
  following items:
A. What two styles of music did reggae come from?
B. Name at least 3 pioneers of the reggae style.
C. In what decade was reggae developed?
D. What are some important musical elements found in reggae?
E. Name the common instruments found in a reggae band?
II. Create a youtube playlist of some well known reggae artists.

Group Work
I. Choose one song from the list to work with:
A. ‘Stir it up’ - Bob Marley -
B. ‘Jamaica Nice’ - Yellowman -
C. ‘Blackheart Man’ - Bunny Wailer -

II. Listen to the song as a group and gather information for a report on the song. Your
   report must include the following information, you may add more information to your
   report if you like, but this is what is required:
A. The tempo
B. The drum-set rhythm, (be able to count it as a group).
C. The rhythm of the guitar.
D. The overall form of the music.
E. The lyrics
F. Name of the artist, song, and all the instruments in the band.

III. Report/Presentation
A. Presentations will be done as a group, participation from all group members is
B. Presentation must not be longer than 10 minutes, or shorter than 3.
C. A group discussion will follow all presentations.

Advanced Work
I. Choose a reggae song and perform it live for the class. This can be done as an
  individual or group.
II. Transcribe a reggae song on and share it with the class.

III. Go see a live reggae band/artist and report on the show.

Four World Music Lessons - Lesson 2 - African Polyrhythms

Lesson 2 - African Polyrhythms
Polyrhythms are derived from combining rhythms that are derived from two or more modes of the rhythmic scale.   Polyrhythms can be found in much of the traditional music of Africa. For this lesson we will look at how polyrhythms are used in African Ewe music and then compose a rhythmic groove using polyrhythms based on the popular 12/8 bell pattern found in lots of African musics.

Materials needed: Internet access, percussion instruments.

I. Teacher led listening:
A. Music of Ghana: Astia Agbekor - Click for youtube video
B. Notation of the basic drum patterns - Click for Noteflight Score

I. Group Lesson (20 min)
A. Teacher introduces the rhythmic scale, demonstrates using a metronome and leads the class in a simple polyrhythm, (2 over 3, 3 over 4 etc.) (See Resource A).
B. Next, the teacher will introduce the African 12/8 bell pattern and play a video of Ewe music of Ghana (See Resource B).
C. Teacher will show students the 12/8 bell pattern notated out on Noteflight in three time signatures, 12/8, 3/4 and 6/8 (See Resource C)

II. Individual work (20 min)
A. Students will log onto noteflight and compose one rhythm that is one based in two measures of 3/4, and one based in two measures of 6/8 (Dotted half note pulse).
B. Once the students have composed both rhythms, they will then copy and paste them to the 12/8 pattern (final) copy on Noteflight.
C. Students will then share their composite rhythms with the class.

III. Group Work (20 min)
A. Students will break into groups of 3 or 4 and practice their polyrhythms, (instruments will be supplied.) Performances should start with one cycle of the bell pattern, followed by a layering in of the other rhythms.
B. Groups will then take turns performing for the class.

IV. Advanced Work
A. Compose a piece of music using your favorite composite polyrhythm.
B. Learn to play all of your polyrhythms yourself, (using all of your limbs!)
C. Create a multi-track recording of your composite rhythm and create a loop from that.


(A) Rhythmic Scale Introduction.

(B) Video of Ewe music of Ghana:

(C) Noteflight Worksheets

Four World Music Lessons - Lesson 1 - Latin Percussion

Lesson 1 - Latin Percussion
The rhythms in popular music such as salsa, rumba, son, mambo, and Latin jazz are made up of many interlocking parts played by multiple percussionists.  In this hands-on lesson, students will learn about the instruments and rhythms that make up a Latin music percussion section. They will then perform together as a Latin music percussion ensemble.

I. Teacher guided listening/watching “The masters of Salsa”:
2. Charlie and Eddie Palmieri -
3. Rubén Blades -
4. Willie Colón (1978 Siembra w/Blades is called the best
selling salsa album of all time). -

Materials needed:
Instruments: conga, bongos, claves, timbales, guiro, maracas, cowbell,
internet access.
The Lesson
I. Group Lesson (10-15 min)
A. Teacher introduces the clave pattern.
B. Students clap and count the rhythm. 3-2 and 2-3 clave patterns.

II. Individual work (10-15 min)
A. Students will choose an instrument, look up the notation and watch a video lesson.
B. They will then learn how to play and count their part.
C. Students will then play and count their part for the teacher.  Once the teacher approves, students then move into group work.

III. Group work (30-40min)
A. Students will get into groups of 5-7 and learn to play their parts together.
B. Once the group is playing together, the teacher will then record the composite rhythm and the whole class will then listen back.  
C. If time allows, students may trade instruments and try other parts.

IV. Advanced work:
A. Find 5-10 examples of artists using these rhythms in their music, create a youtube playlist and share it on the google group.
B. Multitrack record yourself playing all of the parts and patterns, (Tip: use a click track to start!) Share it on the google group.
C. Compose a piece of music using these rhythms. Record it and share it on the google group.
D. Organize a presentation for Lower El. students, introducing them to these instruments and rhythms, (you may work with others on this one.)

Instrument Name
Rhythm Name
Notation Link
Video Lesson Link
3-2 Clave