Bells of Great Britain
Lesson Book page 59
- Playing a tie with added notes in the opposite hand
- Exploring pedal and dynamics across the keyboard range
- Double tie
- Good forte and piano contrasts
- Moving the RH gracefully
let's get started
- Listen to the bells! (Play the piece for the student.)
- Let's pretend we're ringing bells! Use big gestures for loud bells, small gestures for soft bells, and big, slow circles for the dotted half notes. (Demonstrate.) (See video)
- When the bells move higher, do they get louder or softer? Prepare the RH moves (gentle lifts) in Mm. 9-11.
- Listen to these bells again while I use the pedal. (Mm. 9-12) How would you describe the sound?
- Bells from many churches often ring at the same time. Keep the pedal down through the whole piece and hear all the bells ring. Hold and listen at the end.
The piano's special effects can be thrilling!
explore and create
To Ring or Not to Ring(Have the student play the piece with the pedal, then without.) How would you describe the difference?
Listen UpClose your eyes. I'm going to play some music, sometimes with pedal, sometimes not. Tell me: Is it with pedal, or without pedal?
Bells in G and FLet's visit some other bell towers. Play the piece with fingers over the G scale, or over the F scale.
If You Have a Grand PianoLet's look inside and see what the pedal does. (Demonstrate and explain.) Now you know what dampers look like and what happens when you hold the pedal down.
Big rhythmic gestures help the student internalize the rhythm.
Technique & Artistry
p. 29 Peaceful Sunset
- Discuss heavy arms (arm weight) for the opening RH notes, and a light touch for the LH.
- For Mm. 3-4, try playing the RH Es up in octaves as the color spreads across the sky.
- Try playing in F and G positions.
p. 28-29 Trumpet Song
- This Baroque theme presents the RH melody against LH sustained notes.
- More complex interplay of steps and skips presents a reading and technical challenge using notes of the C five-finger scale.
There are several new elements that make this piece special. Not only does the right hand play harmonic thirds, but the last third is connected by a double tie while the left hand plays softly on the "tied" notes.
Students love to use the pedal, and holding the damper pedal down throughout this piece creates the ringing sonorities associated with bells. When the right-hand thirds move higher in each measure and begin to fade in the distance, the richness of the sounds is truly pianistic. You might even try that left-hand fifth an octave lower!
Presenting this piece using big rhythmic motions (as in the video) is an ideal way to help ensure that the student experiences the relative lengths of different note values and the change of energy used to make louder and softer sounds.
accompaniments on disk
- CD Tracks 82-83
- MIDI File 41