Charles Ives grew up in Connecticut, and he often drew inspiration from the sites, sounds, and celebrations of his life in New England. Here in his 5th Sonata for violin and piano, he describes the Thanksgiving holiday in music. Listen for the slow, simple melody at the beginning of the piece and then an upbeat section in the middle. Why do you think Ives chose these sounds to represent Thanksgiving? What do the different sections make you think of?
Welcome to our Lifelong Listening Center!
This month we are celebrating Thanksgiving and the fall season by exploring
music with an autumn theme. We will hear an examples of autumn pieces
written for each instrument that we teach at Music 101, and explore how
different composers chose to represent this season in sound.
You may think of Tchaikovsky at Christmas time because of his famous Nutcracker ballet, or around the 4th of July because of his 1812 Overture. However, Tchaikovsky wrote all kinds of music appropriate for all seasons of the year. This piece is from a larger collection of solo piano pieces, each depicting a different month of the year. This “November” movement is subtitled “Troika”, which is a Russian sleigh pulled by three horses. While you listen, imagine a ride in a horse-drawn sleigh on a cold November day.
Violin: “Thanksgiving” from New England Holidays
By: Charles Ives
Performers: Diamanda La Berge Dramm (violin),
Aaron Likness (piano)
Fall isn’t just a holiday celebrated by classical composers. Here we have an example of a pop song which later became a jazz standard. In the original song, the singer talks about Autumn leaves floating by his window and reminisces about spending the summer time with a woman he loves. Listen to how this guitarist represents the sounds of a whole jazz band just with a single guitar. You can hear a bass line, percussion, melody, and accompaniment all coming from just one player! (Use worksheet 1 & worksheet 2)
By: Franz Schubert
Performers: Francisca Prudencio (Soprano),
Volker Link (piano)
Franz Schubert wrote music for many different instruments, but he is very famous for writing art songs like this one. Art songs are pieces of poetry illustrated in music. “Herbst” means Autumn in German, and during the song the singer talks about cold winds rustling through dead leaves. Listen to the piano part and see if you can hear anything that reminds you of cold fall winds or rustling leaves.
Piano: “November” from The Seasons
By: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer: Valentina Lisits (piano)
Download & Print
How to earn
Using the content in the Listening Center, complete the Listening Worksheets and
discuss your work with
Hand in your completed worksheets to the front desk.
Each worksheet is worth
Students will get
back and achievements
will be recognized at
the annual recital.
Which worksheets should
I be using?
use worksheets #1 and #2
use with worksheet #4
Harvest Music Radio Show
Research on your own!
use with worksheet #5
Guitar: “Autumn Leaves”
By: Johnny Mercer
Arranged and Performed by: Sungha Jung (guitar)