Guided Listening #1: A Viola Solo

For this Guided Listening, you will need the following:
A copy of these teaching steps
Image asset: Viola
Audio asset: Sound of viola
Text asset: Concerto Conversations
Audio asset: Excerpt from Ballade for Viola and Strings by Godfrey Ridout

I. Discuss
• Ask: The viola is not often used as a solo instrument. Why might this be?
• Show the image asset of the viola and play the audio asset of the sound of a viola.
• Discuss: Describe the sound of the viola. Does it sound bright or dull? Does it sound low or high?
• Ask: How might it be a peculiar sound? (unassuming, yet rich in tone)
• Read aloud Concerto Conversations, the text asset that describes concerto form.
• Ask: What might the accompaniment to a viola solo sound like? What do you think would sound nice as a conversation between a string group and the viola solo?

II. Listen
• Listen to the audio asset Excerpt from Ballade for Viola and Strings by Godfrey Ridout.
• Ask: Is this what you expected the viola solo to sound like? Is this what you expected the string accompaniment to sound like?
• Share with students:
This section begins with a viola solo, which is responded to by a short orchestra passage. The focus on solo and strings goes back and forth.
• Ask: What kind of conversation do you hear happening between the viola and the orchestra?
• Listen at 1:00. What might the lower strings be saying? Are they agreeing or disagreeing with the viola?
Doug Friesen, Dr. Elaine Keillor and Alison Kenny-Gardhouse

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