Our Hymn Study for Rogationtide

 

This month the boys and I planted several fruit trees – peach and fig, so we are extremely grateful for all the rain we have received the last few days. However, the weather has pushed back our annual outdoor Rogationtide festivities. On these Grass Days we ask and thank God for the blessings of His providence and earthly creations. As part of this commemoration, our family beats the bounds as we sing a hymn and blesses our few crops for the year using the Rogation Days: Blessing of Fields and Gardens from Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers. (It can be found here toward the middle of the page.) After this blessing we have our traditional picnic of rammalation biscuits (cookies, muffins, or scones) and gangling beer (root beer). This year as part of our celebration, I also want to share the related Hymn Study we are using for these holy days. Please join us!

What are your family’s Rogationtide traditions? Old or new, great or small, please share them with me in comments!

 

 

 

This Year’s Rogationtide Hymn Study

This week we will be learning We Plow the Fields, and Scatter, by Matthias Claudius. As a Lutheran pastor from Holstein, Germany, Claudius wrote this hymn in 1782. The hymn’s tune is Wir Pfügen published in 1812 by Johann A. P. Schulz.

We typically begin our Hymn Study time by reviewing an older hymn we have learned, then proceed to the new hymn. Only two of my sons are of reading age, so I introduce a new hymn by having everyone repeat the lines of the first verse after me. Next I sing the first verse once and then have my boys join in the second time through with humming, a neutral syllable, or attempting the words. We sing the current verse we are learning about three times a day during our Morning Liturgy (Morning Time). They pick up a verse in about a week. After our singing we choose a few of the additional activities below to help us dig a little deeper. I have provided some printable sheets for your family’s use, should you be interested in having them participate in any of the following with us.

A few ideas to try for expanding a Hymn Study are:

  • Catechesis: discussing the theological truths painted in the text.
  • Commonplacing – Florilegium entries: choosing to copy down a line that is personally meaningful.
  • Dictation: use a selection from the hymn text (blank writing page below)
  • Ear Training: have your family practice Attentive Listening by drawing what is heard in the text or music(page below)
  • Handwriting: use a selection from the hymn text (both print and cursive pages below)
  • Memorization
  • Narration of Hymn Text: have your family speak and/or write what they remember about the hymn text in their own words (blank writing page below)
  • Singing for Beauty and Enjoyment: add hymn singing to a meal or bedtime ritual
  • Vocabulary Enrichment: discuss unfamiliar words and phrases with your family (blank writing page for new words below)

Additionally, I have shared a printable text page to add to your family hymnal. There are also recordings of the sung hymn and the organ accompaniment only for your family to use, based of your familiarity with the hymn.

 

 

Voice with Organ Accompaniment

Organ Accompaniment Only

(Just click on each picture to download)

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A Hymn for the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima

Back in 2011, a contest for poetry and music was held in honor of the upcoming Centennial of Our Lady of Fatima. The combination of these compositions was the creation of the beautiful Portuguese hymn, “Teacher of the Announcement, Prophecy of Love.” When I discovered this 13 verse hymn existed a few weeks ago, I immediately began searching for an English translation to teach to my sons as part of our family’s Fatima celebration. But, after my googling proved a sore disappointment, I was faced with a short list of possible options. I could scrap the whole idea, find someone who knew Portuguese and was willing to translate for me, or I could take the leap and attempt an English translation myself.  This first option was completely out of the question and the second turned out to be a more difficult feat than I had anticipated.


So… I decided to try my hand at translating the Portuguese of the first verse and am humbly sharing my efforts with you. I did my best to stay as close to the original language as possible and did not alter the Latin chorus.


Should your family like to join us in the study of this hymn, I have provided a low quality downloadable recording of my English version (done early this morning before everyone woke up) and a printable word sheet for your family hymnal. A video of the original hymn and link to the sheet music are also shown.


I’d love to hear your family’s plans for the Fatima Centennial, so please share them with me in the comments!






 

My English Translation

 

She the chosen field of the Spirit

Gave her fiat to the herald she heard

With the angel we say, “Hail full of grace,

The servant and messenger of the Word.”

Welcomed by all generations

Happy among women and ever blessed

Praise be to the fruit of thy womb

Guardian and mother of the Eucharist

 

Chorus:

Ave o clemens, Ave o pia

Salve Regina Rosarii Fatimae!

Ave o clemens, Ave o pia

Ave o dulcis Virgo Maria.

 






 

“Teacher of the Announcement, Prophecy of Love” sung in English





 

Printable English Word Sheet

(Just click on the picture to download)

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“Mestra do Anúncio, Profecia do Amor” Sheet Music





 

Original Hymn

At The Foot Of The Cross: A Musical Journey Through Lent {Week 7}

We have made it to Week 7 and the glorious festival of Easter is within sight! Thank you so much for accompanying my family on this journey through Lent with Dvořák and Our Lady. I pray it has been a blessing to you and your family! Please let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions or if this devotion has impacted your family positively the last few weeks and you would like to see more seasonal devotions like this one and our Awaiting the Messiah musical Advent calendar in the future.

If you are new here, please join us for our last week by listening to the 10th movement of Dvořák’s Stabat Mater and participate in the music appreciation lesson below. No need to stress out about catching up, the lessons do not build on each other so you can start today! More ideas for employing this Lenten devotion can be found at the Overview post.

For your family’s Good Friday and Black Saturday soundtrack, you can find the whole work here:

Dvořák’s Stabat Mater

 

 

The Story of Dvořák in Music and Words is provided below for your family’s free listening.

Week 7

10. “Quando Corpus Morietur” – Quartet and Chorus

Latin Text:

Quando corpus morietur,
fac, ut animae donetur
paradisi gloria. Amen.

English Translation:

While my body here decays,
may my soul Thy goodness praise,
safe in paradise with Thee. Amen.

 

 

For our lessons this Lent, we will be using our family’s easy ABC method for listening with purpose. It is a simple three step process that can be used with the whole family and all ages. Your family will be listening to the piece with purpose at least once with specific actions in mind. The whole lesson typically takes around 15 minutes to complete if you include all three steps. It can be expanded based on length of pieces and the extent of conversation. This method is intentionally adaptable to fit all families in hopes that it will aid in fostering a love of music and meaningful connections in your home. Read through the lesson beforehand, then pull out and use what you know will work with your child(ren). Don’t be afraid to include the youngest of children too! My 1 year old daughter and goddaughter just dances around while listening and that is perfect!

Our Easy ABCs for Music Appreciation

Begin by printing the pages at the bottom of this post and gathering everyone together for your family listening time. Our family reads the text and translation then participates in the lesson. This week our family will be doing the lesson as part of our Black Saturday devotions. You may choose the day that works best for your family.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to leave a comment. I want these lessons to be as user friendly as possible!

You can share what you like from the following or use it as an easy script:

Our last music lesson for Lent is the tenth and final movement of Dvořák’s Stabat Mater, “Quando Corpus Morietur”. It features a quartet of soloists, four voices, and choir. The text is only half a stanza but Dvořák skilfully stretches the text by alternating the half stanza portions with expanded “Amen” sections. He also incorporates a capella segments throughout for added contrast and drama. This piece has a beginning very similar to the first movement we listened to this Lent with held legato (flowing, smooth) notes by the strings and woodwinds families. Also the motives (musical ideas) of the voices mimic the opening line of the first movement, though with differing text. The lower solo voices (Bass and Alto) introduce the first motive (musical idea) of text, followed by the higher solo voices, then the Choir with the same melody. Dvořák then employs the technique of text repetition at higher and higher pitches (notes) to increase suspense before the first a capella part. The quartet of soloist then sing the half stanza alone before the first “Amen” portion. Here again Dvořák uses the repetition of the text “paradisi gloria” to add tension to the music then take us from the key of b minor to B Major before the climax of the whole Stabat Mater work – the melismatic “Amen” section and last half stanza. “Quando Corpus Morietur” may start with the same somber tone as the first movement, however, like the metamorphasis a caterpilar undergoes to emerge as majestic butterfly, the same musical themes are altered and expanded upon to transform them from a lament of desolation into an anthem of hope and anticipation for Christ’s Resurrection and eternity. The choir leads the “Amen” melismas, where many notes are sung on the same syllable of a word, the “Ah” of Amen. These melismatic runs are reminiscent of Handel’s works composed over 150 years earlier and, with the aid of the tympani drum, build up momentum to the concluding statement of the work, the ultimate prayer of the text simply presented as the second and final a capella section. The gradual ritardando (slowdown) and thinning out of the orchestration toward the brief, dissolving Amen part signal the end of Dvořák’s Stabat Mater.

Now onto the main processes of our Listening ABCs.

A – Attentive Listening

Before you play the piece for the first time, ask your family to close their eyes and listen silently. Ask them to try and get a feeling, picture, or story in their mind of what the music reminds them of. They may remember some of the text translation read earlier. You may read it again now. We really want them to get their imaginations running for this first listening. Ask them to share what they saw in the music. There is no right or wrong answer. This will be continued in Part B.

B – Bodily Movement

Now we’re going to add a bodily movement to help our brains connect our memory and the music. Below is a printable page that your students can use to make a music college of what they head in the music. The piece may be played for a second time at this point. The texture (the way the vocal and instrumental parts all fit together) of this piece has many layers, from the overlapping solo voices throughout to the soaring soprano descant (a higher melody sung above the main melody) over the choir in the first Amen portion. We want to pay special attention to these textures as we now listen. While listening, students may write or draw the instruments they hear, overlapping lines of color for the changing textures of different segments of the music or even an over all impression of the piece connected to the text. The picture may be whatever the children imagines, however detailed or abstract.

C – Conversation

This concluding segment is where we talk about the elements we hear in the music. Each time your family listens with purpose using these ABCs, they will hear and be able to verbalize more and more. Any observation is welcome and should be praised. In this section you may choose to have your family listen to the piece one last time while pointing out the elements of the music they recognize. Your family may also go straight on to the discussion. This is a splendid piece to discuss mood given the contrasting minor key (more sad sounding) and major key (happier sounding) portions as well as the alternation half stanzas of text and “Amen” parts. How did the music make your family feel during certain parts of the piece? Do they feel the music was more effective at eliciting an emotional response during the accompanied or a capella segments? Please share your own thoughts with your family too.

(Just click on the picture to download)

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A Holy Week Playlist 

 

It is easy for this solemn week leading up to Easter to get jam packed with preparations and worthy devotions, so I thought I would share a short sampling of some of our family’s Holy Week musical favorites to hopefully help bring the stress levels down with a Beauty Break. Brief is not an understatement here. 😉 As difficult as it was, I have narrowed my recommendations down to only one classical piece relating to each specify day through Black Saturday. You can play each day’s selection while y’all work on the remaining details of your family’s Easter Feaster, while your children play, or perhaps during supper or before bed. More ideas for incorporating music into your day can be found here.

What are your Holy Week favorites? Please share them in the comments below. 

Fig Monday: Repentir – Charles Gounod

Our Gospel today recounts Mary Magdalene’s bathing of Jesus’ feet with costly lavender perfume and her own hair. As such, I chose Charles Gounod’s penitential sacred song Repentir (Repentance, O Divine Redeemer). He composed the text and music within six months of his death and it was published posthumously in celebration of the thousandth performance of his opera, Faust. It’s subtitle is translated, “Scene in the form of a prayer” and I think you will agree it is a petition that we all share.

 

Holy Tuesday: Miserere mei, Deus – Gorgio Allegri

This is a common day for Tenebrae services to be held. Based on Psalm 51, Gorgio Allegri’s Miserere mei, Deus was composed specifically for this service as one of the twelve secret settings used at the Sistine Chapel. It is legend, confirmed by family letters, that Mozart wrote down the work after hearing it once during the Tenebrae service he attended in Rome.

 

Spy Wednesday: Improperia – Tomas Luis de Victoria

Today the Gospel goes into the specifics of Judas’ betrayal then goes on to have Jesus tell the disciples what will happen. The final exchange where Judas lies to Jesus’ face about being the guilt party gives me goose flesh! The Reproaches (Improperia) are typically sung on Good Friday, but I though these antiphons could apply to the situation mentioned in the Gospel as well. They recount the many gifts God gave to His people, the Israelites, and the response is a plea for mercy. How often have we too followed the example of those who wandered in the wilderness and turned a blind eye to the blessings of the Lord? Sorry, my goose flesh is back…

 

Maundy Thursday: Ave Verum Corpus – William Byrd

Though the Gospel reading only focuses on Jesus’ washing of the disciples feet, the wider context of Maundy Thursday is the whole event of the Last Supper. Not only did was Passover celebrated, but also the first Eucharistic Feast. To highlight that aspect, Byrd’s Ave Verum Corpus (Hail True Body) is our listening selection for today. The Latin text goes back to the Middle Ages and Pope Innocent VI. A translation of the text is found here.

 

Good Friday: “Vidit Suum Dulcem Natum” – Giovanni Pergolesi

This 5th movement of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater is the Good Friday piece that routinely comes to my mind first. The way Pergolesi paints the scene of Christ’s death through the dynamic setting of the text is haunting. An English translation of the 13th century poem is as follows:

For the sins of His own nation,
saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.

 

Black Saturday: “Quando Corpus Morietur” – Antonín Dvořák

Today Jesus harrowed hell, visiting those faithful who died before His sacrifice and offering them eternal life. This piece by Dvořák is the final movement of his Stabat Mater and also the conclusion of At The Foot Of The Cross: A Musical Journey Through Lent. It has been one of my favorites since singing it in college and is a moving illustration of the hope we can have for eternity as Christians. It never ceases to bring tears to my eyes. The text translation is below:

While my body here decays,
may my soul Thy goodness praise,
safe in paradise with Thee. Amen.

At The Foot Of The Cross: A Musical Journey Through Lent {Week 6}

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Week 6! We are quickly traversing towards the grandeur of Jerusalem, the whirlwind of Holy Week, and the pageant of the Triduum.  I can hardly believe that after today there will be only one week left in this year’s Lenten journey together.

If you are just finding us, don’t be discouraged or feel as though you missed out. There is still time to jump in and benefit from this devotion with your family. Start today by listening to the two movements of Dvořák’s Stabat Mater selected for this week’s listening and participate in the music appreciation lesson below. Each lesson is independent from the last, so there is no need to add undue stress by trying to catch up in a week. You are invited to return to previous weeks at your family’s convenience, should you choose. You can also find more ideas for employing this Lenten devotion at the Overview post.

For your family’s free listening pleasure, here is the whole work:

Dvořák’s Stabat Mater

The Story of Dvořák in Music and Words can be found in the following playlist. We use these tracks of his biography read over his works as part of our family’s free listening.

Week 6

8. “Fac, Ut Portem Christi Mortem” – Soprano and Tenor Duet

Latin Text:

Fac ut portem Christi mortem
Passionis eius sortem
Et plagas recolere

Fac me plagis vulnerati
Cruce hac inebriari
Ob amorem Filii

English Translation:

Thus Christ’s dying may I carry
With him in his Passion tarry
And His wounds in mem’ry keep

Wound me with thy Son’s affliction
Kindle through this crucifixion
Zealous love within my soul

9. “Inflammatus Et Accensus” – Alto Solo

Latin Text:

Inflammatus et accensus
Per te, Virgo, sum defensus
In die iudicii

Fac me cruce custodiri
Morte Christi præmuniri
Confoveri gratia

English Translation:

Thus aflame with fire of love
Shield me, virgin, from above
When I hear the Judgment call

Let the cross now guard and shield me
Death of Christ my ward and plea be
Let me die in your embrace

For our lessons this Lent, we will be using our family’s easy ABC method for listening with purpose. It is a simple three step process that can be used with the whole family and all ages. Your family will be listening to the piece with purpose at least once with specific actions in mind. The whole lesson typically takes around 15 minutes to complete if you include all three steps. It can be expanded based on length of pieces and the extent of conversation. This method is intentionally adaptable to fit all families in hopes that it will aid in fostering a love of music and meaningful connections in your home. Read through the lesson beforehand, then pull out and use what you know will work with your child(ren). Don’t be afraid to include the youngest of children too! My 1 year old daughter and goddaughter just dances around while listening and that is perfect!

Our Easy ABCs for Music Appreciation

Begin by printing this week’s listening maps at the bottom of this post and gathering everyone together for your family listening time. Our family reads the text and translation then participates in the lesson.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to leave a comment. I want these lessons to be as user friendly as possible!

You can share what you like from the following or use it as an easy script:

Our music lesson today will focus on the first of our two pieces for this week, Fac, Ut Portem Christi Mortem”. Written as a duet for Soprano and Tenor, this 8th Movement of of Stabat Mater has no choral accompaniment. In it’s ABA form, the music from the first section returns after a short instrumental break, but with different words. The piece begins with a legato (flowing, smooth) introduction by the woodwind family, the bassoons and oboes then the flutes. Next the Soprano (higher female voice) enters with the string family (violin, cello, etc) and introduces the whole first half of the text’s stanza alone. The same melody is then given to the Tenor (higher male voice) while harmony is provided by the Soprano. Strings usher in the short B portion of the piece and the same part of the text is sung for the third time. The words are the same but the melody is different. Another short introduction by the woodwinds family signals the return of the A portion. Here the music is the same but the text is the second half of the stanza beginning with “Fac me plagis vulnerati”. The piece ends with one last appearance of the first half of the text.

Now onto the main processes of our Listening ABCs.

A – Attentive Listening

Before you play the piece for the first time, ask your family to close their eyes and listen silently. Ask them to try and get a feeling, picture, or story in their mind of what the music reminds them of. They may remember some of the text translation read earlier. We really want them to get their imaginations running for this first listening. Ask them to share what they saw in the music. There is no right or wrong answer.

B – Bodily Movement

Now we’re going to add a bodily movement to help our brains connect our memory and the music.  Following the listening map below, have your family listen to the piece for a second time. You may count each section aloud or just in your head as you guide your students through the map. It is quite alright to do it more than once to get more practice and understanding. Remember, the treasure at the end of a listening map is the time spent together on the musical journey. Younger students may also draw what they hear in the music. If drawing is chosen, the picture may be whatever the children imagines, however detailed or abstract.

C – Conversation

This concluding segment is where we talk about the elements we hear in the music. Each time your family listens with purpose using these ABCs, they will hear and be able to verbalize more and more. Any observation is welcome and should be praised during this listening. In this section you may choose to have your family listen to the piece one last time while pointing out the elements of the music they recognize. Your family may also go straight on to the discussion. Can anyone point out similarities or differences between the A and B portions of the music? Which Themes (musical sentences) did your family members like the best? Did anyone have a preference for one of the vocal parts over the other? Were any instrument families or individual instruments recognized in the piece from hearing or following the listening map? The mood of the piece can also be discussed here by asking how the music made your family feel and sharing your own response.

(Just click on the picture to download)

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5 St. Thomas Aquinas Poems for April

Poetry and hymns are a carry over from my childhood homeschool days. My mother encouraged us to memorize the works of poets like Joyce Kilmer and Strickland Gillilan, and also took the time after lunch to serenade us at the piano with Blessed Assurance and other traditional hymns of the south. Now in my home, both forms are used in several similar ways. This is not at all surprising when we consider that hymns are poems of praise set to music. I hope to elaborate on how we incorporate poetry and hymns into the the liturgy of our family life in a later post, so they are simply listed for reference and ideas here.

  • Catechesis
  • CelebraTeas
  • Commonplacing – Florilegium entries
  • Dictation
  • Handwriting
  • Liturgical Living
  • Memorization – a couple stanzas of large works
  • Narration
  • Reading/Singing for beauty and enjoyment
  • Vocabulary enrichment

How does your family delight in poetry and hymns? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. 

Since April is National Poetry Month and also the month that the Church has dedicated to the Most Blessed Sacrament, I want to share with your family the five Eucharistic Hymns of St. Thomas Aquinas that our family will be looking at for April, and especially Maundy Thursday. I have pulled out some excerpts below as each poem/hymn is at least four stanzas, but I have also provided them in their entirety within the the printable document at the end of this post.

After Pope Urban IV instituted the Feast of Corpus Christ as a Solemnity in 1264, he commissioned St. Thomas Aquinas to pen a new Office (prayers for the monastic daily prayers, liturgy of the hours) for its commemoration. This Office included the following hymns:

1. Adore Te Devote – Hidden God

A hymn of Thanksgiving

On the cross was veiled Thy Godhead’s splendor,
here Thy manhood lies hidden too; unto both
alike my faith I render, and, as sued the contrite
thief, I sue.

Though I look not on Thy wounds with Thomas,
Thee, my Lord, and Thee, my God, I call: make
me more and more believe Thy promise, hope in
Thee, and love Thee over all.

O memorial of my Savior dying, Living Bread,
that gives life to man; make my soul, its life from
Thee supplying, taste Thy sweetness, as on earth
it can.

Deign, O Jesus, Pelican of heaven, me, a sinner,
in Thy Blood to lave, to a single drop of which is
given all the world from all its sin to save.

 

2. Lauda Sion – Laud, O Zion

The Gospel sequence

What at Supper Christ completed
He ordained to be repeated,
in His memory Divine.
Wherefore now, with adoration,
we, the Host of our salvation,
consecrate from bread and wine.

Words a nature’s course derange,
that in Flesh the bread may change
and the wine in Christ’s own Blood.
Does it pass thy comprehending?
Faith, the law of light transcending,
leaps to things not understood.

 

3. Pange Lingua – Sing, My Tongue

For Vespers. This Tantum Ergo excerpt is now sung at Benediction

Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail;
Lo! o’er ancient forms departing,
newer rites of grace prevail;
faith for all defects supplying,
where the feeble sense fail.

To the everlasting Father,
and the Son who reigns on high,
with the Holy Ghost proceeding
forth from Each eternally,
be salvation, honor, blessing,
might and endless majesty.
Amen. Alleluia.

 

4. Sacris Solemniis – At This Our Solemn Feast

For Matins. Panis Angelicus excerpt

Thus Angels’ Bread is made
the Bread of man today:
the Living Bread from heaven
with figures dost away:
O wondrous gift indeed!
the poor and lowly may
upon their Lord and Master feed.

Thee, therefore, we implore,
O Godhead, One in Three,
so may Thou visit us
as we now worship Thee;
and lead us on Thy way,
That we at last may see
the light wherein Thou dwellest aye.

 

5. Verbum Supernum Prodiens – The Word of God

For Lauds. O Saving Victim excerpt also sung at Benediction

O saving Victim, opening wide
the gate of heaven to all below
our foes press on from every side;
Thine aid supply, Thy strength bestow.

To Thy great Name be endless praise,
immortal Godhead, One in Three!
O grant us endless length of days
in our true native land with Thee. Amen.

 

(Just click on the picture to download)

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At The Foot Of The Cross: A Musical Journey Through Lent {Week 5}

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We’ve made it to Week 5! I hope this Laetare week gave your family the respite and final push that I know ours needed to finish out Lent with rigor.

If you are just joining us, I’m so glad you are here! Take the plunge and begin this devotion with today’s two listenings and music appreciation lesson. Each week is independent of the last so there is no added pressure to immediately catch up on previously missed weeks. You can find more ideas for participating in this Lenten devotion at the Overview post.

For your family’s free listening pleasure, here is the whole work:

Dvořák’s Stabat Mater

Would you like t more free listening to your week? The Story of Dvořák in Music and Words includes his narrated biography over specific works and  can be found in the playlist below:

Week 5

6. “Fac Me Vere Tecum Flere” – Tenor Solo and Chorus

Latin Text:

Fac me tecum pie flere,
crucifixo condolere,
donec ego vixero.

Iuxta Crucem tecum stare,
et me tibi sociare
in planctu desidero.

English Translation:

Let me mingle tears with thee,
mourning Him who mourned for me,
all the days that I may live:

By the Cross with thee to stay,
there with thee to weep and pray,
is all I ask of thee to give.

7. “Virgo Virginum Praeclara” – Chorus

Latin Text:

Virgo virginum praeclara,
mihi iam non sis amara,
fac me tecum plangere.

English Translation:

Virgin of all virgins blest!,
Listen to my fond request:
let me share thy grief divine;

For our lessons this Lent, we will be using our family’s easy ABC method for listening with purpose. It is a simple three step process that can be used with the whole family and all ages. Your family will be listening to the piece with purpose at least once with specific actions in mind. The whole lesson typically takes around 15 minutes to complete if you include all three steps. It can be expanded based on length of pieces and the extent of conversation. This method is intentionally adaptable to fit all families in hopes that it will aid in fostering a love of music and meaningful connections in your home. Read through the lesson beforehand, then pull out and use what you know will work with your child(ren). Don’t be afraid to include the youngest of children too! My 1 year old daughter and goddaughter just dances around while listening and that is perfect!

Our Easy ABCs for Music Appreciation

Begin by gathering everyone together for your family listening time. Our family reads the text and translation then participates in the lesson.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to leave a comment. I want these lessons to be as user friendly as possible!

You can share what you like from the following or use it as an easy script:

Our music lesson today will focus on the first of our two pieces for this week, Fac Me Vere Tecum Flere”. This 6th Movement of Stabat Mater is a solo for Tenor with chorus. It has an AA’ form where the original theme is repeated, but with a few changes. After the an instrumental introduction, the soloist enters with the first motif (musical idea) on the title text followed by the echoing choir. This pattern of call and response continues throughout most of the piece. The Tenor is the higher of the two typical male vocal parts. (You can choose to further explain the remaining three vocal parts with the following:) The lower male vocal part is Bass which were heard in last week’s first listening, “Fac, Ut Ardeat Cor Meum”. The two female vocal parts are called Soprano and Alto, with Soprano having the higher vocal range and Alto the lower.

Now onto the main processes of our Listening ABCs.

A – Attentive Listening

Before you play the piece for the first time, ask your family to close their eyes and listen silently. Ask them to try and get a feeling, picture, or story in their mind of what the music reminds them of. They may remember some of the text translation read earlier. We really want them to get their imaginations running for this first listening. Ask them to share what they saw in the music. There is no right or wrong answer.

B – Bodily Movement

Now we’re going to add a bodily movement to help our brains connect our memory and the music. Your family may listen to the piece a second time here while raising their hands or standing up when the melody alternates from being sung by the soloist to the choir. Students may also draw what they hear in the music or tap out the 1-4 of the beat. If drawing is chosen, the picture may be whatever the children imagines, however detailed or abstract.

C – Conversation

This concluding segment is where we talk about the elements we hear in the music. Each time your family listens with purpose using these ABCs, they will hear and be able to verbalize more and more. Any observation is welcome and should be praised during this listening. In this section you may choose to have your family listen to the piece one last time while pointing out the elements of the music they recognize. Your family may also go straight on to the discussion. In the language of music who sings or plays a certain part of the music is called “voicing”. Were your students able to hear the change in voicing on their own when the melody swapped from soloist to choir and back? Can anyone share differences between the A and A’ portions of the music? Were any instrument families or individual instruments recognized in the piece? The mood of the piece can also be discussed here by asking how the music made your family feel and sharing your own response. If you know what vocal part you or another family member sings, that may be discussed here as well.