Compose a Concerto

Group Performance and Composition

Villagers’ Dance and Villagers’ Concerto

Stage 1

The music for the Villagers’ Dance shown below  can easily be learned and performed as a group – just like an orchestra.
See if you can master one of the parts of the score. If this goes well you might try to play two parts at the same time if you play an instrument which enables you to do this. These pdf files print easily, if you are working away from a computer:
Villagers’ Dance (simplified):    Villagers Dance  (extended with octave transpositions on repeats)

When you learn the music, be aware that bars 4 and 5 are technically more difficult than the rest, so they will require more practice to become fluent. But they also use a sequence. This should help to simplify any technical difficulty you may have in playing these bars.

Note, too, that when the music of the opening returns at the end it has been subtly changed rhythmically. All the 1/4-notes/crotchets have gone!

Vildansrpt21

Stage 2

When everyone can play at least one part fluently, perform the whole of Villagers’ Dance as a group together. Try performing with and without the repeats. This will improve your concentration.
(If you are working alone with a computer you could play in and record all the parts as synchronized tracks. Alternatively open this midi file AutumnRitFull in your sequencer software go to file>import/ open…>midifile>[this linked file…] and mute any tracks you do not want to hear for playback [select track> mute / hide]. Don’t forget that you can easily change the beat or tempo to give you more time to synchronise your playing accurately)

Stage 3

Work individually again – or possibly in pairs. Think back to the work you have done using sequence. Now  make up a melody which  makes lots of use of sequence and which continues on from the Villagers’ Dance. Use some of the ideas in the ‘composing with sequences’ page, if you like.

This should start on F (Villagers’ Dance, you will have noticed was in F major, i.e. with all Bs changed to Bb) and you should aim to finish on F too.
• You can use ascending or descending sequences
• You can invert your main idea if you want
• You can create several balancing phrases

If you are not sure about these terms see ‘sequence examples


Stage 4

Now the whole group can produce a magnificent piece of music.
We’ll call it Villagers’ Concerto. It will contrast the solos made up in Stage 3 from the individual members of the group with “tuttis” when everyone plays Villagers’ Dance from Stage 2 together. Just like a concerto!
• To begin the whole group plays Villagers’ Dance with all the repeats…..
• Then Soloist no. 1 plays his/her sequence-based interlude…..
• Followed directly by a shortened version (maybe without repeats or with just some of the music) of the Villagers’ Dance…..
• Then Soloist no. 2 plays his or her sequence-based interlude…… then (shortened) Villagers’ Dance ……soloist 3 ……. Dance etc. until everyone has performed as a soloist….
• Then to finish the full Villagers’ Dance as played at the beginning.
This will need practice, clear direction and concentration. Once you have got used to switching between group playing and solo playing, you should record your Villagers’ Concerto.


Stage 5

Listen to the recording of your Villagers’ Concerto . Then listen to the first movement of Vivaldi’s Concerto “Autumn” showing above. Discuss the musical differences.
In your discussions you may find the following words useful to define:
• rondo
• ritornello
• modulation
• programme
• solo
• tutti
• ripieno
• virtuosity
Remember that when Vivaldi composed the concerto ‘Autumn’ he had in mind the following poem he made up for the music. The colourful pictures on this video are a little misleading.

With dancing and singing the villagers celebrate
The pleasure of a bountiful harvest
And many succumb to the wine of Bacchus
Finishing their merry-making in sleep

A
(A)
B
C

Celebra il Vilanel con balli e Canti
Del felice raccolto il bel piacere
E del liquor di Bacco accesi tanti
Finiscono col Sonno il lor godere


The lines marked A represent the the music which features the ‘tutti’ of the Villagers Dance, while the lines marked B & C represent the music which features the soloist.

Stage 6

Listen to the first movement of Vivaldi’s “Autumn” following the music in the printed score. Observe how all the points the group raised in Stage 5 are written down by the composer to be performed by the players. If you feel confident enough, write down the composition you made up as a musical score.

Check this link to see the available various editions of the full score of the music.