from The Four Seasons
First Movement ‘Allegro’
Ballo e Canto di Villanelli
The Dancing and Singing of Villagers
This project is based around aspect of the music of Vivaldi’s famous violin concerto ‘Autumn’. It provides materials for widely differentiated teaching, with some very simple tasks and others which are quite sophisticated. Students will need guidance from a teacher as to how to use the materials most constructively. Vivaldi’s score is prefixed by a short Sonetto Dimostrativo – a short poem depicting the ‘action’ of the music. This clearly indicates that the ritornello theme represents the the dancing and singing of villagers to celebrate the harvest and that the episodes, which feature the solo violinist, represent those villagers who succumb to the influence of the wine and eventually finish their revelries in a deep slumber. Our ear is led back and forth from dancing of the whole village to scenes of individuals’ merriment, as if the scene were being filmed for television. A far-reachingly modern concept for 1730!
In order to study and draw lasting musical skills from this piece, the project Autunno I covers techniques of both the ritornelli and the episodes: Simple ensemble playing (ritornello); understanding, identifying and composing with sequence (episodes); large-scale improvisation and composition from small musical germs (ritornelli & episodes). There is much useful support material and extension materials, including introducing how to read and analyse a musical score .
Age range: 2-5 No: 6-8 No; 9-11 possible, in part; 12-13 maybe;14-15 works well; 16-17 very useful; 18+ very useful.
Expected prior achievements of students
Reading and playing simple melodies in the treble clef essential (alto and bass clef options, too) ; some experience of working in F major with I, IV & V chords desirable; building melodies from sequences (practical preparatory worksheets included in this project)
Goals and aims of project
By the end of this project students will: (a) have developed ensemble performance skills in a short rendering of the opening theme; (b) have developed improvisational and composing skills by both learning to work with sequence (melodic and harmonic) and form (rondo/ritornello); (c) have developed confidence in writing melodies; (d) be able to follow a score with understanding of the musical content; (e) be well informed about the baroque concerto.
Project materials in text & media form
Project materials in adaptable musical formats
The Villagers’ Dance – MIDI-file: full opening 13 bars of Vivaldi’s “L’Autunno” AutumnRitFull; simplified version (using repeat signs, each phrase in same octave) Autunn01
Project materials in musical notation
Opening ritornello in gif format – full version – simplified version
Opening ritornello (simplified) in Opening theme in pdf format Villagers’ Dance (simplified); full version Villagers Dance
Suggestions for working with the materials (including essential preparation)
Preparatory notes for the teacher
Further materials and useful background information to the music of the project
The Rise of the Concerto in Italy in the 17th and early18th Centuries
Information sheet with links and illustrations – Also used in Basso Continuo (Vivaldi’s L’Autunno II) project html format ; . pdf.format (with illustrations, no links): concerto origins
Information sheet with links and illustrations – Also used in Basso Continuo (Vivaldi’s L’Autunno II) project html format; . pdf.format (with illustrations, no links) violin-viol
Suggestions for following up the project including links to related music, books, sites etc.
Link to Amphionmusic’s Autunno II to understand the idea of contrasting movements and to develop a much more in-depth understanding of basso continuo.
© John Mason