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Musical Contexts

SQUILT

Exploring Popular Songs and Musical Arrangements

This unit begins by exploring ‘What Makes a Good Song?’ through practical musical investigation of two ‘good’ songs as case studies: “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran and “Shotgun” by George Ezra.  Pupils explore Hooks/Riffs, Structure, Melody and Lyrics through listening and analysis and performing parts of each song as short musical arrangements. 

Pupils learn about the importance of Hooks and Riffs, Popular Song Structure and the various difference components/sections within, Melodic Motion (Conjunct and Disjunct Motion) and Lyrics within both these case studies and a range of other popular songs. 

Lead Sheet notation is used throughout the unit and pupils are encouraged to confidently navigate around lead sheets evaluating what musical information is, and is not, included in this form of notation.

The unit ends with pupils creating their own musical arrangement of a popular song from a Lead Sheet in their chosen style/genre.  This concept of “cover version” is explored by listening and examining a range of different musical arrangements of the same song for stylistic and elemental changes.   Pupils are encouraged to explore the resources available to them, the musical information included (and not included) on their lead sheet and to manipulate, refine and adapt existing (and include new) musical material to create their final arrangement.

What Makes a Good Song? - Cover and Homework Activities

What Makes a Good Song? - Popular Songs Case Studies

What Makes a Good Song? - Scheme of Work and Lesson Pathways

What Makes a Good Song? - General Resources

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What Makes a Good Song? - DOITNOW (Starters) and Plenary Activities

What Makes a Good Song? - “DOITNOW” Presentation

Cutting down on printables, file storage and media files, the “new look” Musical Contexts “DOITNOW” What Makes a Good Song? lesson openers Presentation contains  a wealth (only two samples shown here), of effective “DOITNOW’s” when delivering the What Makes a Good Song? unit in just one place - all audio and video files are embedded and there’s accompanying Teacher’s Notes in the “slide comments” section. 

What Makes a Good Song? - Plenary Review Activities

A series of lesson reviews where pupils review their learning and understanding.

What Makes a Good Song? - 5 Minutes Silent Reading

For teachers who prefer to begin their lessons with quiet, focused openers.  All contain “Questions to Think About” which can also be used as Cover or Homework tasks.

1. What Makes a Good Song?

2. Song Structure

3. Lead Sheets

4. Primary and Secondary Chords

5. Song Textures

6. Song Timbres and Sonorities

What Makes a Good Song? - Music Theory and Melodic Dictation

What Makes a Good Song? Theory - Melodic Motion: Conjunct and Disjunct

Exploring melody lines in songs from different times and places in terms of melodic motion and movement using the terms Conjunct (stepwise) and Disjunct (leaps)

What Makes a Good Song? — Melodic Dictation

Treble clef melodic dictation from riffs and melodies of famous popular songs. 

Answers provided.  All of the accompanying audio extracts are provided on the audio file. 

What Makes a Good Song? - Song Structure Resources

What Makes a Good Song?  - Lead Sheets, Performing & Arranging Resources

 

 

 

The Recording Studio

Pupils label parts and components of a diagram of a Recording Studio and match definitions to descriptions of items found in a recording studio.  

Can be done without using ICT.

Recording a Song

Comprehension activity on song recording and the recording studio.

Can be done without using ICT.

 

Selling your Song Arrangement

Pamphlet or presentation activity on aspects of selling a song arrangement.

Can be done without using ICT.

 

 

 

 

“Stand By Me” - Ben E. King - Lead Sheet

Melody Line/Vocals/Lyrics/Chords, Bass Line, Strings Chords, Percussion etc. for pupils to create their own popular song arrangement.

Audio 3 - Bass Line, Percussion & Chords

“Castle on the Hill” - Ed Sheeran - Lead Sheet

Lyrics, Chord Patterns (Ukulele, Guitar and Keyboard Chord Diagrams), Bass Line Riffs & Melody Lines with chords and with and without note names for pupils to create their own popular song arrangement.

“Love is All Around” - Wet Wet Wet - Lead Sheet

Lead Sheets featuring lyrics and song melody, melody line, guitar chords, keyboard or tuned percussion two-note chords and bass line, B flat and E flat melody parts for transposing instruments with a Full Score for pupils to create their own popular song arrangement.

“I’ll Be There for You” (Theme from ‘Friends’) - The Rembrandts - Lead Sheet

Lead Sheets featuring lyrics and song melody, melody line, chords and bass line, B flat and E flat melody parts for transposing instruments with a Full Score for pupils to create their own popular song arrangement. 

 

 

 

 

“Any Dream Will Do” from ‘Joseph’ - Lead Sheet

Lead Sheets featuring lyrics and melody line, chords, keyboard or tuned percussion two-note chords and bass line, B flat and E flat melody parts for transposing instruments with a Full Score for pupils to create their own popular song arrangement.

“Memory” from ‘Cats’ - Lead Sheet

Lead Sheets featuring lyrics and melody line, chords, keyboard or tuned percussion two-note chords and bass line, B flat and E flat melody parts for transposing instruments with a Full Score for pupils to create their own popular song arrangement.

“Greased Lightning” from ‘Grease’ - Lead Sheet

Lead Sheets featuring Song Sheet and Lyrics, Melody Line with Note Names and Guitar Chords, B flat and E flat melody parts for transposing instruments with a Full Score for pupils to create their own popular song arrangement.

“Summer Nights” from ‘Grease’ - Lead Sheet

Lead Sheets featuring Song Sheet with selected 2-part Song Melody, Lyrics, 2-Part Melody Line with Note Names, Bass Line, B flat melody part for transposing instruments with a Full Score for pupils to create their own popular song arrangement. 

Key Words, Concepts and Musical Knowledge

Popular Song Structure: Introduction (intro), Verse(s), Strophic, Link, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Bridge/Middle 8, Coda (outro); Lyrics, Hook, Riff, Melody, Counter-Melody, Texture, Chords, Accompaniment, Bass Line, Lead Sheet, Arrangement, Cover Version, Melodic Motion: Conjunct, Disjunct, Range; Instruments, Timbres and Sonorities in Songs. 

Music Theory

Conjunct and Disjunct Melodic Motion in Songs

Links to GCSE Music

Popular Music

Vocal Music

Conventions of Pop

 

 

 

 

Ed Sheeran - “Shape of You” Songsheet/Leadsheet

Contains Lyrics, Easy Bass Line, Bass Line, Chords, Easy Riff, Harder Riff, Guitar Chords and Melody Line Parts for classroom ensemble performing.

George Ezra - “Shotgun” Songsheet/Leadsheet

Contains Lyrics, Chords, Guitar Chords and Two Riffs from “Shotgun” for classroom ensemble performing.

Analysing the Form and Structure of “Shape of You” and “Shotgun”

Lyrics for structural analysis of both case study songs with answers.

Analysing the Melodies of “Shape of You” and “Shotgun”

Melody lines/Riffs of both case study songs for “Step and Leap” analysis.

 

 

 

 

 

Exploring your own Favourite Song

Pupils explore and analyse two contrasting songs by the same artist or group in terms of the Elements of Music and the popular song elements explored in this unit: Structure, Lyrics, Riffs and Instruments.

Also includes a “Full Marks” and “Low Marks” example response with teacher’s comments. 

Can be done without using ICT.

Popular Song Word Search 1

A word search covering key words and terms from the unit.

Can be done without using ICT.

Writing a Punk Song

Staged composition task for pupils to create a punk band and write a set of lyrics to a punk song on subject matter of their choice.

Requires ICT for research.

Popular Song Word Search 2

Another word search covering key words and terms from the unit.

Can be done without using ICT.

Pop Groups and Artists from 1960 Word Search

Another larger word search of notable pop groups and performers from 1960 onwards. 

Can be done without using ICT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Drum Kit

Useful worksheet for introducing the Drum Kit and the names of the various parts.

Listening to Riffs in Popular Songs

 

Audio 1 - Riffs in Popular Songs

Exploring “Praise You”

Card sort to rank features of what makes this a good song and performing the melody and riff to “Praise You”

Audio 2 - “Praise You” - Fatboy Slim

Performing Two famous Riffs from Popular Songs

Arrangements of the riffs from “Bittersweet Symphony” - The Verve and “Glory Box” - Portishead

Audio 3 - Riff Examples

Listening to “Vindaloo”

 

Audio 4 - “Vindaloo”

Listening to “Wannabe” - The Spice Girls

 

Audio 5 - “Wannabe” - The Spice Girls

 

 

 

 

 

Listening to “Wayfaring Stranger” - Eva Cassidy

 

Audio 6 - “Wayfaring Stranger” - Eva Cassidy

Listening to “Give Me One Reason” - Tracy Chapman

 

Audio 7 - “Give Me One Reason” - Tracy Chapman

Listening to Arrangements of “Stand by Me”

Also includes an evaluation sheet for “Stand by Me” arrangements. 

 

Audio 12 - “Stand By Me” - Ben E. King original

Audio 13 - Three arrangements of “Stand by Me”

Listening to Rock Songs

Listening activities based on 3 different Heavy Metal/Rock Songs

Audio 8 - “One” - Metallica

Audio 9 - “The Rain Song” - Led Zeppelin & “Paranoid” - Black Sabbath

Learning about Popular Songs in the 1960’s

Presentation with embedded audio examples of Motown, Soul, Rock and Rhythm and Blues as examples of Popular Songs from the 1960’s

 

 

 

 

 

 

Listening for Riffs in Rap and R’n’B Songs

 

Audio 10 - 5 Riffs from Rap and R’n’B Songs

Listening to “Jump” - Kriss Kross

 

Audio 11 - “Jump” - Kriss Kross

Listening to Arrangements of “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You”

Audio 14 - Three Arrangements of “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You”

Listening to Arrangements of “Killing me Softly”

 

Audio 15 - Three Arrangements of “Killing Me Softly”

Listening to two different Arrangements of “Comfortably Numb”

Audio 16 - Two Arrangements of “Comfortably Numb”

Creating a Musical

Arrangement

Concept Map covering Personal, Physical, Technology and Musical Resources for consideration when creating a Musical Arrangement. 

 

 

Exploring Song Structure Presentation

Introduces pupils to key elements of song structure through increasingly complex analysis and listening tasks including analysis of ‘Scarborough Fair’, ‘Fast Car’ and ‘Stand by Me’.

Contains all embedded media files. 

Exploring Song Structure Worksheet

Contains the song lyrics to all songs explored within the Song Structure Presentation as ‘plan text’ for pupils to analyse and format.