Activity: Backyard Composition
- Find an area outside your home (your patio, backyard, balcony, front yard, or common area) where you’ll be able to sit, undisturbed, for approximately 10 minutes.
- Listen to the sounds in front and to the sides of where you’re sitting, paying close attention to their timbre, dynamic level, and placement of each sound you hear.
- Name the sounds and list their occurrence according to presentation order, location, and duration, using the graphic, below, as your template.
For instance, if you hear birds singing quietly to the center-right of your location, indicate that in your diagram in area D, also noting when the sound occurred and for how long it occurred. If a moment later you hear a car horn to your far left, indicate that in area A. Also indicate the sound’s dynamic level.
- Collect sounds for approximately 10 minutes.
- You can go inside now. Your task at this point is to (a) decide what different musical instruments found in the typical swing band of the 1930s best match each sound you heard, and (b) what performance direction you could provide for each instrument to suggest the qualities of each sound you heard. You should use a chart similar to the example below to help you organize your thoughts.
We’re surrounded by sound and new sounds enter our environment all the time. You should have 15 or more sounds indicated in your composition (some of them may repeat, if that’s what happened when you were collecting sounds). Sound Location Time it Occurred Duration Musical Instrument(s) Performance Instructions
1 Air conditioner A 1:15pm Ongoing Ride cymbal Soft Ride rhythm played with brushes
2 Car starting E 5 seconds later 2 seconds Trombone Quick ascending notes starting low and ending high.
3 Parrots squawking Start at A, sweep to C 1:17pm 6 seconds Saxophones Rhythmic dissonant sounds that decrescendo
- Give your composition a title.
- Use the worksheet below to record your observation.
- Upload the worksheet to the Backyard Big Band drop box.
Your experience is very similar to the creative experience that many composers complete. Beethoven often walked in the forest and listened to sounds for inspiration. Many jazz performers were inspired by city sounds, industrial sounds, or the sounds of the countryside. For example, can you hear the sounds of the city in Taxi War Dance or Harlem Air Shaft, from CD 1 tracks 8 & 9 from your Jazz Classics disk?
Sound Location Time it Occurred Duration Musical Instrument(s) Performance Instructions
Example Air conditioner A 1:15pm Ongoing Ride cymbal Soft Ride rhythm played with brushes
One of the main reasons of the collapse of the Roman Empire was the over expenditure on the military to constantly fund wars abroad. In order for the Romans to invade and conquer other provinces they had to spend heavily on their legions. The Roman armies and supply lines became over-stretched resulting in thousands of soldiers being recruited and deployed from Rome into other territories as invaders or defenders. They also depended on soldiers to defend the borders of the lands they had conquered from barbarian attacks which resulted in the increased manufacturing of weapons and more money being spent on soldiers. High military spending left the Romans with very limited resources for other essential government projects such as the building of more public houses and the development of roads and aqueducts as well as leading to inflation. The over-expenditure on the military led the citizens of Rome to refuse the policies and laws enforced by the government and riots were commonplace in Rome during its last century. Due to the Roman citizens growing distrust of the Empire less people volunteered to join their armies which forced the military to hire common criminals and non-Roman mercenaries. The government raised taxes to aid their military expenditure which added to the low morale of the Roman population with every citizen losing a third of their weekly wage. The money raised to spend taxes was wasted on soldiers who constantly had to be replaced until the Romans could no longer afford to send large garrisons of troops abroad leaving their own borders poorly defended and vulnerable to attacks. The non-Roman mercenaries were too proud to serve a weakening empire and they began to conquer parts of the Empire as the Romans were unable to afford to send detachments and reserves to reclaim these areas. The city of Rome was left very poorly defended due to the deployment of troops to other provinces within the Empire which were defeated and taken by the barbarians making it considerably easier for them to conquer Rome. In order to ensure their loyalty, the wages of the soldiers were doubled and they were often promised discharge payments such as land or money. The military also spent loads of money on the transport of food and grai>GET ANSWER