Year 8 / 8.3
Title / Understanding the conventions of Music for Theatre
Stage and objective of understanding / Identify and relate. Understanding that musical choices will influence the audience reaction to a dramatic scene.
Context / Pupils understand a range of styles and genres of music used for dramatic purpose [in film and theatre]. They begin to explore how conventions can be used to enhance the dramatic impact of a scene. They explore how the use of different types of music can affect how the audience reacts to a situation – amplifying or counter-pointing the drama.
Conventions, processes and procedures / Learning how music for theatre uses:
  • Simple ideas to express a general mood
  • Economy of means – music has to convey much with very little or in a short time.
  • Melodic motifs to enhance characterisation
  • Use of dynamic and silence to enhance the dramatic effect.

Focus of practical experience / Composing – To experiment with different solutions to the tunnel sequence in Darkwood Manor.
Features of musical elements / Pitch: P19 harmony. Can discuss how harmony can colour expressiveness
Dynamic: D5-7 Can balance the dynamics of an ensemble. Can use dynamics appropriately with reference to the material. Can use dynamics and expression markings as a means to creating a more expressive performance
Combining harmony and dynamic to increase tension. Exploring different effects e.g. comedic, horror, characterisation.
Development of skills / Composing: using discordant harmony and dynamics to create music expressing increasing tension. Developing themes or motives to portray the two characters involved in the drama.
Expected outcome of understanding / Pupils will have already explored how to convey a basic mood [love, fear, war] in music. They will show greater understanding of how to build tension over a longer period of time. Some pupils will be able to discuss how elements of characterisation could be introduced in the music. A few pupils will be able to explain how music can amplify the action in the play/film but it can also counter-point what we are seeing to create a conflict of expectation.
Expected outcome of knowledge and skills / Elements
All pupils will understand that the harmonic and dynamic choices made will have a direct impact on the audience.
Some pupils will make changes to enhance the required effect.
A few will compare and contrast two or more different solutions and be able to justify which is more effective and why.
All pupils will explore use of discord in creating tension
Some pupils will combine the use of a broad ‘mood’ picture with more individual characterisation.
A few pupils will explore ways of amplifying the drama through appropriate musical choices and will contrast this with ways of counter-pointing the action.
Sequence of learning
Understand the role of music in film and drama.
Understand the use of cliché as a short-hand method of supporting the drama from silent films to modern blockbusters.
Explore ways of creating tension.
Understand that different approaches to setting the same scene can lead to a different interpretation.
Understand how music can help create characterisation
Explore ways of developing motifs for the two characters.
Develop music to support the tunnel sequence in Darkwood Manor.
Refine ideas after feedback from the audience.
Evaluate how successful the music was in setting/counter-pointing the tunnel sequence. / Essential activities
What does the use of music add to film/drama? Is it essential?
Have you seen films without a musical soundtrack? Does music play throughout? Can we have too much/too little music?
Use Backtracks 1 video to encourage debate about the use of music in film.
Combine musical features such as drone, chord, chord cluster, ostinato and dynamic to develop a piece that increases in tension. How can this be sustained over 1 to 3 minutes?
Use Pitch Fever video to illustrate how different approaches can lead to varying interpretations of the same scene.
Listen to model themes/motifs. What emotion or mood do they express?
Develop a motif for each character.
Combine ideas for the ‘tension’ music with the ‘character motifs’. What is going on in the drama – how will the music support/counter-point this?
Make a working recording. If possible put it with the drama. Get feed back from the rest of the group. What will you need to ask your audience? Focus on one or two areas to improve.
Record the soundtrack onto CD for use in the finished drama piece. If possible video the performance. Ask the same questions from the earlier feedback. How successful was the final version?