For this Guided Listening you will need the following:

A copy of these teaching steps
Text asset: R. Murray Schafer, East
Audio asset: Excerpt of East by R. Murray Schafer

Audio excerpts and textual information are provided below the Guided Listening.

I. Listen
• Share the following:
     R. Murray Schafer is a composer who has broken many rules of traditional composition such as seating the orchestra in different spots throughout the hall, bringing a snowmobile in as an instrument, and writing operas to be performed in the forest by a lake. As you listen to the following excerpt from East, try to determine what non-traditional technique Schafer is using.
• Listen to the audio asset excerpt of East by R. Murray Schafer.
• Discuss, asking students to describe what they have noticed. Can they identify any non-traditional techniques used? Of note Read More
For this Guided Listening you will need the following:

A copy of these teaching steps
Text asset: R. Murray Schafer, East
Audio asset: Excerpt of East by R. Murray Schafer

Audio excerpts and textual information are provided below the Guided Listening.

I. Listen
• Share the following:
     R. Murray Schafer is a composer who has broken many rules of traditional composition such as seating the orchestra in different spots throughout the hall, bringing a snowmobile in as an instrument, and writing operas to be performed in the forest by a lake. As you listen to the following excerpt from East, try to determine what non-traditional technique Schafer is using.
• Listen to the audio asset excerpt of East by R. Murray Schafer.
• Discuss, asking students to describe what they have noticed. Can they identify any non-traditional techniques used? Of note:
o The string and woodwind players are doing the shushing and whistling. These vocalizations are written into their parts. At times these players must match notes played by various gongs.
o Many of the instruments have to play notes that lie between the regular twelve semitones. These notes between notes have not had much place in Western Music for hundreds of years. Schafer often makes uses of the infinite number of pitches by writing parallel glissandos in two or more instruments. Listen to an example like this at 5:03.
• Read the text asset: R. Murray Schafer, East, and confirm the non-traditional techniques used in East.

II. Create
• Ask: What possibilities are opened up by using the notes between the traditional 12 semitones?
• Have students try composing a short melody that uses these notes. What instruments can play these notes and which ones cannot?
• Suggest that if they create a melody they like, they may want to try composing some harmony to go with it.

© 2010, National Arts Centre. All Rights Reserved.

R. Murray Schafer (b. 1933) has long had a reputation of “breaking the rules” of composition and has at times done so largely for the purpose of challenging listeners and performers. Even then his creativity and compositional skill are always present. East is no exception, containing non-traditional techniques often used by Schafer such as slow harmonized glissandos and also challenging performers by asking instrumentalists to sing and hum while also playing. East was composed in 1972 and first performed in 1973 by the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Bath, England.
R. Murray Schafer (b. 1933) has long had a reputation of “breaking the rules” of composition and has at times done so largely for the purpose of challenging listeners and performers. Even then his creativity and compositional skill are always present. East is no exception, containing non-traditional techniques often used by Schafer such as slow harmonized glissandos and also challenging performers by asking instrumentalists to sing and hum while also playing. East was composed in 1972 and first performed in 1973 by the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Bath, England.

© 2010, National Arts Centre. All Rights Reserved.

An excerpt from East by R. Murray Schafer (4:00-7:39).

R. Murray Schafer

© 1972, R. Murray Schafer.


Learning Objectives

Breaking the Rules: Non-Traditional and Extended Techniques is designed for students and educators to meet the following objectives:

• Learn about and experience non-traditional compositional strategies composers use to create new and distinct music.
• Consider the role of “breaking the rules” in music as a way to encourage important questioning of how we hear and of personal taste and interest.
• Make a personal connection with the challenges and enjoyment of non-traditional listening, composing, and performing.

Breaking the Rules: Non-Traditional and Extended Techniques begins with a series of exercises, each of which focuses on a non-traditional technique used by a composer to explore new ways of music making.

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