For this Guided Listening, you will need:

A copy of these teaching steps
Text asset: Oskar Morawetz, Overture to a Fairy Tale
Audio asset: Excerpts I-V of Overture to a Fairy Tale by Oskar Morawetz

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

I. Listen and Relate
• Listen to Excerpt I from Overture to a Fairy Tale by Oskar Morawetz without providing any information about the music.
• Challenge the students: what do you think this music is about? With luck, someone will guess ‘fairy tales’.

II. Adapt
• Reveal the title, then brainstorm a short list of fairy tales with the class (The Frog Prince, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs, Jack and the Beanstalk etc.).
• Each small group of students adopts one fairy tale and charts a plotline of the Read More
For this Guided Listening, you will need:

A copy of these teaching steps
Text asset: Oskar Morawetz, Overture to a Fairy Tale
Audio asset: Excerpts I-V of Overture to a Fairy Tale by Oskar Morawetz

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

I. Listen and Relate
• Listen to Excerpt I from Overture to a Fairy Tale by Oskar Morawetz without providing any information about the music.
• Challenge the students: what do you think this music is about? With luck, someone will guess ‘fairy tales’.

II. Adapt
• Reveal the title, then brainstorm a short list of fairy tales with the class (The Frog Prince, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs, Jack and the Beanstalk etc.).
• Each small group of students adopts one fairy tale and charts a plotline of the main events in the storyline.

III. Reflect
• Listen to audio excerpts I-V, first sharing the information in the text asset: Oskar Morawetz, Overture to a Fairy Tale.
• Listen once to the music, noting what the music does during each minute. Listen again. Each group assigns times in the music to their fairytale plot line already created.
• Ask each group to figure out: Does the generically generated music fit your story? Where does it work best, and what is it about the music that makes it work so well? Summarize conclusions on the plot chart.
• Each group presents its findings to the class. Post the charts.

IV. Reflect
• Ask: This is a very popular and frequently performed piece of orchestral music. Why do you think we like fairy tales so much? Why does this music about fairy tales please so many people?

© 2010, National Arts Centre. All Rights Reserved.

Oskar Morawetz (1917-2007)

Morawetz (1917-2007) was born in what is now the Czech Republic and came to Canada in 1941. He had a distinguished career as a composer and died in Toronto. This short piece is one of the most popular Canadian orchestral compositions, and was first performed in 1957. The music does not follow the storyline of a particular fairy tale but instead evokes characteristics typical of any fairy tale. Morawetz describes the exposition as containing three types of themes: elfin, mysterious and gay/dance-like. These themes evolve through the use of orchestral colours, different rhythmic combinations, and by being combined with each other. The music becomes menacing, then very quiet and gentle. Finally the coda builds to a joyful ending.
Oskar Morawetz (1917-2007)

Morawetz (1917-2007) was born in what is now the Czech Republic and came to Canada in 1941. He had a distinguished career as a composer and died in Toronto. This short piece is one of the most popular Canadian orchestral compositions, and was first performed in 1957. The music does not follow the storyline of a particular fairy tale but instead evokes characteristics typical of any fairy tale. Morawetz describes the exposition as containing three types of themes: elfin, mysterious and gay/dance-like. These themes evolve through the use of orchestral colours, different rhythmic combinations, and by being combined with each other. The music becomes menacing, then very quiet and gentle. Finally the coda builds to a joyful ending.

© 2010, National Arts Centre. All Rights Reserved.

An excerpt from Overture to a Fairy Tale by Oskar Morawetz (0:00-2:00).

Oskar Morawetz

© 1957, Oskar Morawetz.


An excerpt from Overture to a Fairy Tale by Oskar Morawetz (2:00-4:00).

Oskar Morawetz

© 1957, Oskar Morawetz.


An excerpt from Overture to a Fairy Tale by Oskar Morawetz (4:00-6:00).

Oskar Morawetz

© 1957, Oskar Morawetz.


An excerpt from Overture to a Fairy Tale by Oskar Morawetz (6:00-8:00).

Oskar Morawetz

© 1957, Oskar Morawetz.


An excerpt from Overture to a Fairy Tale by Oskar Morawetz (8:00-8:58).

Oskar Morawetz

© 1957, Oskar Morawetz.


Learning Objectives

From Words to Music is designed for students and educators to meet the following objectives.
  • Gain an understanding of how music can be used to capture the spirit of a story, heighten the telling of a story or to inspire the mood of a musical composition.
  • Consider why literature is an important source of inspiration to composers.
  • Create compositions in response to a literary stimulus.

Teachers' Centre Home Page | Find Learning Resources & Lesson Plans