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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 how the experiences of a composer might be heard in a composition. Put another way: How can music, without lyrics, be autobiographical? A famous example is Beethoven's Symphony No. 6, or Pastoral, which Aaron Copland called "one the first examples of descriptive orchestral music." Beethoven drew inspiration from 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 five Smithsonian artworks. Students might match the pictures to the movements, or might choose their own pictures. For thoughts on these pictures, click the text box

#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