Age Range: Elementary, Middle School
Learning Objective: Students will learn some defining features of the nocturne and listen to musical examples.
SAY. “Today we will listen to some music inspired by nighttime. There is a very special kind of musical piece inspired by nighttime called a "nocturne." Practice saying that word: nocturne.
“Many different composers have written nocturnes. Some nocturnes are written for orchestra, voice, or several different instruments, but most often, they are for solo piano. Today we will listen to a few and notice common features.”
DEFINE. “Every nocturne is unique, just like every musical composition. But they often have three defining characteristics:
A legato (or smooth) melody. Sometimes the melody in a nocturne is called "cantabile" (cahn-TAH-bee-lay). Cantabile means "singing" in Italian. Even though the melody in a nocturne is played on piano, it often sounds like singing.
Arpeggiated chords in the lower register. This means the notes underneath the melody smoothly roll up and down.
A calm, peaceful feeling.”
LISTEN. Have students use the listening chart to see if they hear the three main characteristics of a nocturne. Some nocturnes might only have one or two of these characteristics. Videos for each piece are below the chart.
Choose one or more of the following pieces to extend learning.
LISTEN. Here are some more examples of nocturnes!
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