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Rhinegold Education Key Stage 3: Lesson 8

From Rhinegold Education, Key Stage 3: Lesson 8 (ages 11-14) helps you discover Spirituals through performing and listening.

Learning Objective: perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions. create and compose music.

Length: 45 minutes. 

1. Do you remember Call and Response (Lesson 4)?

Here is another Call and Response song:

Chorus: Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home,
Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home.

Call: I looked over Jordan and what did I see?
Response: Coming for to carry me home.
Call: A band of angels, coming after me,
Response: Coming for to carry me home.

(Repeat chorus)

1b. “Swing low, sweet chariot” is often known as the English rugby team’s anthem.

But it was first composed by Africans, working as slaves in America. Watch this video that explains spirituals:

2. Watch this video again and try singing with the response.

If you can, harmonise with the melody!

3. Now listen to “Joshua fit the battle of Jericho” and answer the questions below the video.

Follow this plan as you listen:
Intro – Chorus (x2) – Verse – Chorus

a) What words are sung by the choir during the intro?
b) Look carefully at the patterns below (A, B, C, D). What are the differences between them? Which pattern is played by the in the intro?
c) When does the chorus start – 0:05, 0:15 or 0:25?
d) In the chorus, what does the choir do: clap, click fingers, stamp or sing?
e) What word does the lead singer sing between the first and second chorus?
f) Here are the lyrics of the verse. Can you fill in the missing words?
You may ____ about the men of Gideon
You may ____ about the men of Saul
But there’re none like ____ ___ Joshua
At the _____ of Jericho.
g) How many times is the second chorus sung?


3b. Check your answers here!

4. Listen again and follow the score of the chorus as you listen.

5. Using whatever instrument you have, try playing (or maybe singing) the chorus.

In Step 4, it is in the key of B Minor. If this is difficult for you, try it in D Minor:

6. When you can play or sing this fluently, practise it with this backing track (in D Minor).

Do it like this:
Intro (2 bars or count up to 8)
Chorus (play once)
Rest (4 bars, count up to 16)

7. Improvise some music to play or sing in the rests.

Using the backing track, play the chorus, improvise, then play the chorus again. Do this three times:

a) Use only the notes A and G:

b) Use only the notes A, C and D: 

c) Use any notes you like from a D Minor scale:

More information about spirituals is available here. The way that the black slaves used spirituals to communicate to each other is described here.

By Tim Cain for Rhinegold Education

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