1: Bamboula: The mixing of African music with the music of Europe and
In this lesson students are exposed to a composition by Louis Moreau
Gottschalk, a composer of Creole ethnicity from Ante-Bellum New Orleans. Examining the reading will give the teacher sufficient background to assist the students.
They will hear the selection, respond to it in discussion, read a short
scholarly examination of the influence of African music on Gottschalk, and
perform a short graded activity.
The lesson concerns the influence of African musical traditions on
pre-jazz music in New Orleans. Later lessons will look at subsequent
developments in the genre.
OBJECTIVES: Students will
appreciate the connections between various styles of music.
fact that modern American music developed from earlier forms.
contributions of various ethnicities to the development of American music.
See that African
slaves in America succeeded in maintaining links to their cultural past.
Read a selection
on the Gottschalk and answer question through justification.
CD player or some
other method of playing an audio CD.
The two CD set Songs of the Lower Mississippi Delta
(free from the New Orleans National Jazz Historical Park, http://www.nps.gov/jazz/index.htm
A board or some
means of projecting a document.
One copy for each
student of the reading “Bamboula” .
from Disc 1.
Play the piece
through one time as students listen
take out a sheet of paper. The piece is played again. On the second hearing the
students are to write down at least five adjectives that they feel describe
either the piece or their reaction to it.
They are to do
this at certain times during the piece. On their paper have them number 1
Section 1 is the first 15
seconds. This is a section of driving beat reminiscent of the beginning of the
Section 2 is the next 30
seconds. This section begins to use more European style piano techniques while
continuing the strong African influenced beat.
Section 3 is the next 35
seconds. In this section we hear a more traditional piano piece which makes
less use of driving rhythm, but has a gentle beauty.
Section 4 is the next 15
seconds. It maintains the European theme, but strongly incorporates the African
Section 5 is the remainder
of the song, which totals 1 minute 10.
Move to whole
class discussion as the adjectives are written on the board or typed into a
computer for projection on a screen.
Play the song
At this point the
class could engage in a discussion about the song, and their agreement or
disagreement with the adjectives they have chosen.
could be stopped at the end of each section for discussion. To what extent is
there agreement or disagreement among the students? It might also be
interesting to discuss the extent to which students with musical training react
differently to the piece than students with no training.
At this point the
students will read a selection that discusses the influence of African music on
Gottschalk. The selection is found under READINGS.
the academic level of the students, the reading could be done whole class, in
groups (this site will randomly arrange a list of student names: http://www.random.org/lists/ ) , or individually.
After reading the
selection, students answer the questions given at the end of the reading. The
questions have been designed to use with the system of justification using highlighters in which they highlight text as a
way of answering the questions.. Instructions are included with the reading.
Alternatively, students could simply answer the questions in the usual method
of writing answers.
After grading the
exercise, or after completion and before grading, the song could be played
again for another discussion now that the students have greater understanding.
It might be interesting to play the song again to see if students’ view of the
song has changed.