Music GCSE: Instrumentation and Melodic Writing - Monteverdi’s 'Toccata from Orfeo'

The BBC Philharmonic Orchestra gives a masterclass to students who learn to compose an original piece inspired by Monteverdi’s 'Toccata from Orfeo'.

The students learn to understand the capabilities of a range of instruments, especially strings.

They also learn about melodic writing, creating variations and instrumentation.

This short film is from the BBC series, Tips for Young Composers.

Teacher Notes

Students could be challenged to compose for an instrument that they are less familiar with.

They could use a theme from an existing piece of music as a composition starting point.

This could introduce compositional techniques such as inversion, augmentation, diminution and sequence.

They could work in groups to create a short piece of music with several instruments complementing each other.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching GCSE Music. This topic appears in OCR, Edexcel, AQA, WJEC KS4/GCSE in England and Wales, CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 4/5 and Higher in Scotland.

More from Tips for Young Composers:

Developing Melodic Writing - 'The Chairman Dances' by John Adams
Instrumentation - 'Fingal’s Cave' by Mendelssohn
Melody and Instrumentation - 'Petrushka' by Stravinsky
Texture and Structure - Bach's 'Prelude in C Major'