Musical Interpretation

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Discover how musicians use musical elements to interpret and play music in different ways.

In the performance, the pianist expressed his feelings by interpreting and playing the music in different ways.

1. As a class, review the definition of interpretation.

Interpretation: to perform in a way that shows your thoughts and feelings about something.

2. Using some of the moods and feelings from your class brainstorm list, have students practice interpretation by playing this guessing game:

  • Go around the room and have each student say their name in a monotone voice with no emotion or interpretation.
  • Then have students say their name again, this time changing their voice, facial expression, and/or movement to communicate a feeling. Let other students guess which feeling is being communicated.

3. Sing a known song together as a class. Have students take turns offering a specific feeling or mood interpretation. Then sing the song together again to communicate that feeling.

Further Exploration

In 1946, composer and band leader Jack Fina created his interpretation of Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumble Bee” and titled it, “Bumble Boogie”. Then in 1948, Disney added a visual interpretation of the song in the animated film Melody Time.

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