Lesson ideas

14th March 2003 at 00:00
Probably no natural sounds have stimulated musicians as much as those made by water. Its visual patterns have been equally inspiring. Three French piano pieces represent tiny portions of infinite aural delight. Debussy's Reflets dans l'eau evokes shifting reflections, producing fluid kaleidoscopic designs that shimmer and dissolve between harmony and dissonance. Sometimes troubled, sometimes drowsy, it reveals new colours on each hearing. Another Debussy piece, Jardins sous la pluie, shows a child looking out at the rain that taps, then suddenly gusts, against the window pane, sounding like a Manet come to life. Ravel's Jeux d'eau is a clear and brilliant portrait of a fountain. Its sonorities pit two scales against each other, but technical details are forgotten in the dazzling energy of constant transformation of the theme. Listening to the notes becomes a delight in itself, and each in turn can inspire new classroom compositions.

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