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VH1 Rock Honors: The Who


VH1 Music Studio
Cable in the Classroom

Lesson for Music Classes, Grades 7-12

Lesson 1



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Note to Teachers:  The programs viewed in conjunction with these lesson plans may include references, consistent with the eras portrayed, to substance abuse, violent acts, and topics of a sexual and/or political nature.  Because this may be considered inappropriate for classroom use in some communities, you are encouraged to review the programs before presenting them to your students, and if necessary, choose those sections that enhance your lesson and are acceptable for use in your classroom.

Objectives

  • Students will identify the instrumentation used in the music of The Who, and describe the role each part plays in shaping the sound as a whole.
  • Students will discuss how instrumentation and part-writing creates a “signature sound.”

National Standards:

  1. Listening to, analyzing, and describing music.
  2. Evaluating music and music performances.


Materials

  • VHS VCR Player
  • Television
  • Audio playback equipment (CD player, iPod with speakers, etc.)
  • Recordings of John Phillip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever”; J. S. Bach’s Little Fugue in G Minor BMV578; various songs by the Beatles and/or Rolling Stones (teacher’s choice)
  • VH1 Rock Honors: The Who
  • Copies of the Instrument Worksheet (provided below)
  • Copies of the Listening Map/Worksheet - “Stars and Stripes Forever” (provided below)
  • Copies of the Listening Map/Worksheet - Little Fugue in G Minor (provided below)

Prior Knowledge:

Students should be able to recognize the sound of various acoustic and electronic instruments; identify a theme or tune; understand the concepts of melody, harmony, rhythm, and texture.

 

Procedures

  1. To show students the example of a “busy” texture, play for the students John Phillip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever.”  Using the provided listening map, have students note the over-lapping themes.  Remind students of the definition of texture in music (the vertical arrangement of music).  Explain that this will be important later in the lesson.

    Extension—Instrumental Music:  If available, show instrumental students a copy of the  score, so that students may see the changes in texture, as well as hear them.

  2. Cue video to segment 1:21- 2:38.  Watch this segment in which various musicians and actors describe the music of The Who with these words:  disaffected youth; broke barriers, heartfelt, power, vital, free-thinking, notorious, explosive, integrity.  Ask students to describe what they expect to hear.

  3. Cue segment 4:08 - 8:16 (Foo Fighters performance).  Ask students what instrumentation caught the students’ attention.  Ask students how many people they saw on the stage and what instruments were they playing.  Complete the instrumentation sheet (below).  Were both guitars audible?  Could the bass guitar be identified aurally? 

  4. Cue segment 8:17-14:00.  Have students watch the Foo Fighters performance of “Best I Ever Had.”  Have students again complete the instrumentation sheet.  Discuss the addition of the keyboards.  Note the keyboard solo layered over the guitar part, near the end of the selection.  Ask students which caught your attention more?  How did the bass line figure into the equation?  Was it noticeable?  Ask students about the role of the drums near the conclusion.  Did they figure as prominently as the other instruments?

  5. Discuss how each instrument has thus far been heard equally. Play again for students the final section of John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever.”  Ask students if both the brass and woodwinds demonstrate equal importance in what they hear.  Refer to the playing of “Stars and Stripes Forever” at the beginning of class for recognition of themes. Ask students how the layering of themes and equality of instrumentation creates a unique sound.  Using recordings of other groups from the 1960’s (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, etc.) ask students to note the role each instrument plays in the listening excerpts.  Ask students to compare and contrast what they hear.  Do bands of the same era have a similar sound?  How is The Who’s sound unique?

  6. Cue video segment 33:47 - 35:51. Ask students about Pete Townshend’s comment that John Entwistle’s bass sound was like that of a Bach organ.  Play for students an excerpt from J. S. Bach’s “Little Fugue in G Minor.” Compare the sound of both the organ and the bass guitar.  Do they both have what Pete Townshend called “huge, massive, rich” sound?  Is there an overlapping of musical ideas?

  7. Cue video segment 41:08 - 42:03.  Discuss the comments how Keith Moon’s drumming sounded like a “jet engine” and a “symphony orchestra.”  Based upon the excerpts heard in the segment, relate them to the word list used near the beginning of class.  Does it have an explosive quality, is it notorious in any way, does it feel powerful or vital?

    Extension for High School Students:  Conclude previous segment at 43:15 to include discussion of Keith Moon’s personality and addictions.  As a class, discuss how his over-the-top antics contributed to his style of drumming.

  8. Conclude by reviewing the terms texture and instrumentation. Ask students to bring in two examples by two artists, for a total of four recordings each.  Students should be prepared to identify the instruments used in each recording, as well as any overlapping musical ideas within each recording.  Students should also be able to describe how the instrumentation and texture create a signature sound for the artists.



National Standards for Music Education

  1. Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
  2. Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
  3. Improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments.
  4. Composing and arranging music within specified guidelines.
  5. Reading and notating music.
  6. Listening to, analyzing, and describing music.
  7. Evaluating music and music performances.
  8. Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts.
  9. Understanding music in relation to history and culture.

 

These standards-based materials are provided through a partnership with MENC:  The National Association for Music Education.  This lesson plan was created by MENC member Marcia Marino, Oakland Public Schools, Oakland, New Jersey.

 

 

 

Listening Map/Worksheet - “Stars and Stripes Forever”

Introduction and Theme 1—Full band

Repeat of Theme 1

Theme 2—Brass
                  Notice Woodwind parts

Repeat of Theme 2

Break—Theme 3—Lower brass, lower woodwinds
                               Notice upper brass parts

Theme 4

Piccolo Solo over Theme 3
Notice bass line

Theme 4

Repeat of Theme 3 with piccolo solo and counter-melody in low brass

 

 

Instrumentation Sheet

  1. Lead vocals
  2.  

  3. Backing vocals
  4.  

  5. Instrument 1
  6.  

  7. Instrument 2
  8.  

  9. Instrument 3
  10.  

  11. Instrument 4
  12.  

  13. Instrument 5
  14.  

  15. Instrument 6

 

 

 

 

Instrumentation Sheet

  1. Lead vocals
  2.  

  3. Backing vocals
  4.  

  5. Instrument 1
  6.  

  7. Instrument 2
  8.  

  9. Instrument 3
  10.  

  11. Instrument 4
  12.  

  13. Instrument 5
  14.  

  15. Instrument 6

 

 

Listening Map/Worksheet - Little Fugue in G Minor

 

First statement of theme

Overlap—second entrance—Development

Third statement

Fourth statement

Development—disappearance of theme

Fifth statement

Sixth statement

Development

Seventh statement

Development

Eighth statement

Development—longer

Ninth statement

Development—longer still

Tenth statement

 

 

 

 

 


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