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The Orchestra Sings

Melodies Are Made of Patterns

Aim: How are melodies constructed?
Summary: We establish an understanding of musical patterns and find them in the Link Up melodies.
Standards: National 1, 2, 4, 7; NYC 1, 2, 3, 5
Vocabulary: contour, form, pattern, phrase

Rhythmic Patterns in the Link Up Repertoire

  • Sing and review the melody for “Ode to Joy.”     
  • Look at the “Ode to Joy” rhythmic patterns in the activity Melodies are Made of Patterns (PDF).
  • Establish a steady beat by tapping your knees. Through call and response, have students echo the “Ode to Joy” rhythms on neutral syllables, such as bah, ta, or ti.
  • For an added challenge, echo rhythms from “Come to Play” and other Link Up melodies.
  • Name That Pattern: Show several patterns on the board. Chant a single pattern and have students hold up the number of the pattern performed. You may also have students take turns leading this activity.
  • Be Your Own Beethoven: Have students arrange and perform their own rhythmic patterns in the activity Melodies are Made of Patterns (PDF).

Melodic Patterns in the Link Up Repertoire

  • Every melody has patterns of shapes or contour. Look at the “New World” Symphony melodic patterns in the activity Melodies are Made of Patterns (PDF). Find these patterns by noticing when the melody moves up, down, up and down, or stays the same.
  • Establish tonality by simply singing from scale degree 5 down to 1 (G–F–E–D–C) on a neutral syllable such as bum.
  • Echo the “New World” Symphony patterns in the activity Melodies are Made of Patterns (PDF) in order on a neutral syllable. When students are comfortable singing patterns on a neutral syllable, you may choose to use solfège or note names.
  • Name That Pattern: Sing a single pattern and have students hold up the number of the pattern performed. You may also have students take turns leading this activity.
  • For an added challenge, have students find more melodic patterns in “Ode to Joy,” “New World” Symphony, and other Link Up repertoire.

Patterns in Form: Decoding “Ode to Joy”

  • Sing and review the “Ode to Joy” melody.
    • A phrase is a short musical segment with a specific melodic contour and rhythm.
    • How many phrases are there in this melody? (4: A–A–B–A)
    • Where do the phrases begin and end? How so you know?
  • Using the “Ode to Joy” Form and Contour Patterns in the activity Melodies are Made of Patterns (PDF), examine each phrase.
    • Where do the phrases begin and end?
    • How can rhythmic and melodic patterns help us identify phrases?
  • Write down or notate any additional patterns your students observe.
  • Listen to the track “Ode to Joy” (vocal part) to confirm your observations.
Literacy Link

“Ode to Joy”

What events, ideas, or memories in Beethoven’s life might have provided the inspiration for “Ode to Joy”?

Ludwig van Beethoven: Musical Pioneer by Carol Greene (ISBN-13: 978-0516442082) allows us to look into Beethoven’s life, from his childhood to his professional successes and challenges. It includes photographs of important places and people in his life, drawings, and portraits.

Using the cut-out made in the activity Meet Beethoven (PDF), have students take pictures of Beethoven in your classroom or in their own homes or neighborhoods. Share your photos with Carnegie Hall at linkup@carnegiehall.org or in our Facebook group (Carnegie Hall Link Up).

Downloadable PDFs

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