Occasionally I get overwhelmed by a desire to help teachers – probably owing to the fact that my mother was a teacher, and my wife is a teacher. When this hits me, I simply go with it and see if I can find anything that might be a help.
So today’s offering will take the form of several static images that I feel might spark off a stream of creative writing, a curious and powerful video that might equally give rise to some ideas worth putting on paper, and as the cream on the cake, a piece of music that will assuredly get under your skin and make it unavoidable that your students will be moved into a totally different plane of experience when they hear it… and thus cause them to produce such flights of fantasy that you will be astounded. Or at least that is my fervent hope.
So let us begin with the static images. I have selected three types in the hope that one at least will give your students the start they need to create a story that will take off and be fun to read and consider…..
I thought I would have a look at polyphony this morning, as I have stumbled across no end of videos of people singing polyphonically, and to be honest, I didn’t really know what it meant.
Well, specifically, this is what polyphony actually means:-
polyphony is a texture consisting of two or more simultaneous lines of independent melody, as opposed to a musical texture with just one voice which is called monophony, and in difference from musical texture with one dominant melodic voice accompanied by chords which is called homophony.
So, now we know, and for those of us who refer to learn from experiencing things, here is a rather neat little video that illustrates the principles rather well I thought.
or if you prefer it in words, well here you go……
And as a last bit of theory, here is a rather neat little webpage from the BBC:-
OK, so now we have seen and heard a load of theoretical stuff about polyphony, so now the interesting bit is where is it used?
This is why I started in on this discussion, since I kept coming across polyphony all over the place as I was wandering around the web looking for music of various sorts and origins. From the middle ages through pygmy tribes in Africa to Estonia and the Balkans, the whole world uses it, in all manner of different ways. Paradoxically, by and large Anglo-Saxons whenever they get together and sing (such as in pubs or football matches, seem to avoid polyphony like the plague and stick firmly to singing in unison (monophony).. boring.
So to start with a rather beautiful example of polyphony, here we have some Caucasian cossacks…… Such peaceful sounds. Bliss to listen to with your eyes closed.
As you will have noticed, they also seem to go in for a sort of yodelling sound, this type of polyphonic singing is beautifully demonstrated by this bunch of pygmy women (who also in passing, demonstrate a serious need for dentists).