Need ideas for easy and fun at-home music learning? Here's our daily Classical Kids Music Lesson.
Today we will listen to several pieces of music inspired by fireworks.
Target age range: All ages
1. Think about fireworks. Do they all look and sound the same?
2. The chart below shows six different kinds of fireworks–a sparkler, a Catherine wheel, and a spider, to name just a few. Look at each picture and imagine how a composer might turn that image into music.
3. Let's listen to six pieces inspired by fireworks.
4. First, listen and watch Feux D'artifice (Fireworks) by Claude Debussy.
Can you hear how the composer uses the piano to create some explosive sounds? He also includes several glissandi (plural of glissando), where the pianist must sweep their hand across a bunch of notes to make a sliding, swooping sound. How many glissandi do you hear in this piece?
5. Next is Flourish with Fireworks, by Oliver Knussen. What words would you use to describe this music? Would you use some of the same words to describe fireworks that you watch?
6. Igor Stravinsky wrote a piece with the same title as the Debussy piece above- "Feux D'artifice" is how you say "Fireworks" in French. Here is Stravinsky's version.
7. G.F. Handel wrote a whole suite, or set of pieces, called Music for Royal Fireworks. Here is just one part–the minuet–along with some video footage of a fireworks display.
8. Would you describe fireworks as explosive and exciting? Would you use those same words to describe this music? It's Fireworks, from the soundtrack of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by Nicholas Hooper. Listen to hear an unexpected instrument come in with a solo about a minute in. Can you name the instrument?
9. Finally, this song has lyrics (and a title) that point to a very clear inspiration. Listen to Firework, by Katy Perry
Have a question or suggestion? Contact Katie Condon, music education specialist.