Posted in 4th and 5th Grade, Classical Music, Composing, Fourth Grade, Group Activities, Instrument Activities

Beethoven’s Motive: The Fifth Symphony

In fourth grade, we learned about the life of famous composer Ludwig van Beethoven.  We then listened to the beginning of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and realized Beethoven used the same short rhythmic and melodic pattern throughout most of his piece.  Think (dum dum dum DUMMMMM!)   The pattern is , with a fermata (or hold) over the last eighth note in many cases.  We learned that this repeating pattern is called a motive.  We also noticed the first three eighth notes were usually the same pitch, and the last one usually went  down.  We listened to the first 25 or so seconds of the piece to see how many motives we could count: 14 in all!  Fourth graders then used xylophones to create their own motives.  When they were finished, they got to make their own composer biography, in which they described the motive they came up with.

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Listen to Ryan’s song using his motive here:


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Listen to Abby’s song using her motive here:

We all played our songs for each other (a motive isn’t song, their songs had to repeat the motive many times), and then watched this AWESOME graphical score of The Fifth Symphony.  I only intended to play the first minute or so, but they wanted to watch and listen to the entire 7 minutes 38 seconds!!!  See the cool graphical score we watched below.


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