Posted in 1st and 2nd Grade, Halloween

Danse Macabre by Camille Saint Saens


Students in first and second grade listening to and learning about Danse Macabre by French composer Camille Saint Saens.   Danse Macabre is French for “Dance of the Dead.”  Perfect for the Halloween season!!  We have learned (or reviewed) that a composer is someone who makes up a song and writes it down using music notes.  We also discuss that music can tell a story, and that many songs have “themes” in them.  Danse Macabre, for us, has a “skeleton theme” and a “ghost theme.”   The ghost theme is smooth and soaring, like a ghost moaning and flying.  The skeleton theme is choppy and bumpy, like a skeleton’s rattling bones!  Sometimes the skeleton theme is even accompanied by a xylophone, to imitate the sound of bones.

ghost skeleton

As a listening activity, students listen to the song and place magnet-backed pieces onto a map of the piece as we listen.   After doing this activity once or twice, students can identify every part in the song simply by listening for the tunes associated with each piece without any help from me- it’s quite amazing!

danse map