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How Does Daily Life Inform the Creation of Music?

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Music Age Level Elementary (9 to 12 years old)

The National Association for Music Education Connect #11 standard asks students to consider how the experiences of a composer might be heard in a composition. In other words: How can music, without lyrics, be autobiographical? A famous example is Beethoven's Symphony No. 6, or Pastoral. Beethoven drew inspiration from long walks in the countryside. In the Pastoral, he sought to describe that inspiration, and even titled the movements as if they were chapters in a book: 1) Cheerful Feelings on Arrival in the Countryside,” 2) “Scene by the Brook,” 3) Merry Gathering of Country Folk,” 4) Thunder, Storm,” and 5) Shepherd’s Song After the Storm.” You can hear all by following the links.  The movements are represented below by five Smithsonian artworks. Students might match the pictures to the movements, or might choose their own pictures on this site. For info on these, click the pictures or the text box to the right of the rightmost picture.

#102 Morane und Schuppen Bei Gastein

Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Babbling Brook

Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Dancing Peasants

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Alpine Scene in Thunderstorm

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Meissen figure of a lute player

National Museum of American History