Unit 5: A River’s Story
Listen to a River
Listen to ‘The Moldau from Ma Vlast’ by Bedrich Smetana. (NB: It is a good idea to pause ‘The Moldau (Vltava)’ every few minutes or so, so that children can discuss the different features and characteristics of the music.)
- Last Fm: The Moldau from Ma Vlast’ by Bedrich Smetana [external link: Flash Audio]
In this piece of classical music the composer wanted to use music to describe the course of the Moldau (also known as the Vltava), a river in the Czech Republic, from source to end.
While you listen to the excerpts of the music, think about what part of the river’s journey the music is describing. Discuss with your group why you think this. Does the speed of the music give you a clue, or the type of instruments that are used?
Now choose a section of the river that you have not researched before. Look at the clips below, or use other groups’ research and displays to find out the sort of sounds you might hear at this section of the river. Brainstorm a list of these sounds.
- BBC Landscapes Unlocked: Rivers - Upper Course
- BBC Landscapes Unlocked: Rivers - Middle Course
- BBC Landscapes Unlocked: Rivers - Meanders
- BBC Landscapes Unlocked: Rivers- Lower Course
- BBC Landscapes Unlocked: Coast: Tourism
In your group, create a piece of music that lasts one minute and ‘describes’ the section of the river you are looking at. Think about the sort of instruments that you should use. Would the tempo be fast or slow? Would you include any sounds that might be heard at this section of the river (for example, seagulls, water gurgling or rushing, speedboats).
Rehearse your piece of music, think about how you could improve it and ask for advice from your teacher or classmates.
When you are finished, record the piece of music and save the audio file on to a computer.