Aim: How can we use accents to create musical expression?
Summary: Students use language and movement to explore accents in music.
Standards: US 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8; NYC 1, 2, 3
Modality: performing, creating
Materials: Teacher Worksheet
Time Required: 15 minutes
- Review the definition of an accent in music and in speech.
- Using one name as an example, have students determine the number of syllables. Then practice saying that name by accenting different syllables.
- Go around the room and have each student speak his or her name in rhythm with at least one syllable accented.
- Play a major scale with a variety of rhythms and accents. As students listen, have them throw their fists in the air every time they hear the accent.
Download Teacher Worksheet
- Create new movements and practice identifying accents while listening to a variety of musical excerpts.
- Sing a known song, such as “Simple Gifts,” and practice performing it with and without accents.
- Divide the class into two groups and assign each group a different version of “Simple Gifts.” Perform the two versions at the same time.
Why do you think composers use accents?
- How does an accent change the feeling of the music?
- Have students take turns conducting the class in singing a known song, while adding directions for articulation of accents, legato, and staccato.