KS2 Music: The Anglo-Saxons. 4: Beowulf - Part two
Tutorial: 'Beowulf's song'
Activities in the tutorial include:
- Discussing how the singer of this song is Beowulf and he’s addressing Hrothgar the King.
- Identifying how the song sounds happy to start with. It’s in the major key - the tone is upbeat and positive, just like Beowulf himself.
- Comparing the beginning of the first verse with the end of the first verse: the music starts off low - but becomes higher in pitch at the end of the verse.
- Exploring the change in tempo at the end of Verse 1: the music slows down.
- Identifying how the tone changes at the end of the chorus - from upbeat and happy, to ominous.
Song: 'Beowulf's song'
Key elements of the song are:
- Tempo: changing from a fast tempo to a slower one.
- Mood: changing from an upbeat, happy mood to something darker.
- Key: major and minor keys and how these affect the tone of the music.
- Expression: singing confidently in character as Beowulf.
Click here for the lyric sheet (pdf).
You can also choose to sing with the Children's choir version of the song - good for encouraging your group to join in.
Once you have learnt the song you can polish your performance by singing with just the Backing track version.
Drama: Beowulf - Part two
Ensure you watch the Beowulf drama to assess its suitability before sharing with your group.
Beowulf and his warriors arrive in Denmark and meet King Hrothgar at Heorot. Beowulf assures Hrothgar that he will fight Grendel that very night and - because Grendel uses no weapons - that he will fight the monster with just his bare hands.
That night the Geatish warriors bed down in Heorot and wait for the inevitable attack. Grendel breaks the door down but is surprised when his arm is seized by a force he has not felt before. Beowulf clasps Grendel's arm and will not let go and - eventually - Grendel's arm is severed and the creature limps off to die.
The Danes and the Geats celebrate the victory. They believe that Heorot is safe once again. But another monster is lurking out on the moor. One intent on revenge - Grendel's mother.
Click here for the episode transcript (pdf).
Focus: Pulse / Clapping, tapping and clicking along to the beat / Making up your own clapping, tapping and clicking sequences
- Nigel claps along to the pulse of the music and pupils join in.
- New sounds and movements are added - pupils tap their thighs and click their fingers.
- The clapping, clicking and tapping becomes faster - twice the speed.
- Pupils make up their own sequences to the music.
- Afterwards, they can work with a partner to make up their own sequences. They can perform these at the same time as each other, or take it in turns.
Full details of the music activity in the Teacher's Notes (pdf).
'In the Hall of the Mountain King' - by Edvard Grieg
YouTube link. Watch section 00 41 to 02 41.
- In the Hall of the Mountain King was written over a hundred years ago by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. Grieg often based his pieces on fairytales and this one tells the story of Peer Gynt - who is chased and captured by trolls in the mountains.
- This music is played by an orchestra.
- In todays’ song - ‘Beowulf’s song’ - the music gets much faster at the end, as the battle between Beowulf and Grendel intensifies. Can pupils hear something similar happening in this music? The music starts quietly and slowly, but by the end the tempo is very fast and the dynamics are very loud!
- What do pupils imagine here? The trolls could be chasing Peer Gynt - faster and faster, until they catch him!