Educational Focus
Students compare and contrast two compositions and look for the ways visual images and music inspire each other.

Materials
Text asset: Composer Melissa Hui describes Inner Voices
Text asset: Garant: Plages
Flash asset: Inner Voices and Plages Comparison Chart (provide student copies)
Audio assets: Excerpts I to III of Inner Voices by Melissa Hui
Audio assets: Excerpts I to III of Plages by Serge Garant
Flash asset: Page 22 of Score of Plages by Serge Garant (provide student copies)
Flash asset: Page 35 of Score of Inner Voices by Melissa Hui (provide student copies)

I. Listen and Compare
• In pairs, students make a large chart for comparing Read More
Educational Focus
Students compare and contrast two compositions and look for the ways visual images and music inspire each other.

Materials
Text asset: Composer Melissa Hui describes Inner Voices
Text asset: Garant: Plages
Flash asset: Inner Voices and Plages Comparison Chart (provide student copies)
Audio assets: Excerpts I to III of Inner Voices by Melissa Hui
Audio assets: Excerpts I to III of Plages by Serge Garant
Flash asset: Page 22 of Score of Plages by Serge Garant (provide student copies)
Flash asset: Page 35 of Score of Inner Voices by Melissa Hui (provide student copies)

I. Listen and Compare
• In pairs, students make a large chart for comparing Inner Voices and Plages.
• Note: Provide student copies of the Inner Voices and Plages Comparison Chart. Students can use this as their reference for setting up the large chart they will share with a partner. If you have SMART board technology, use it for a class version of the chart.
• Listen to Excerpt I of Inner Voices and model how to fill in the chart for the first excerpt. Listen to the remaining excerpts of Inner Voices and continue filling in the chart. (Give students more independence as they listen to the excerpts several times and fill out the chart for each excerpt.)
• Do the same with the excerpts from Plages.
• Provide time for the pairs to discuss their responses, and encourage them to use the Visual and Music Word lists created in the Guided Listening #1: Shape Up! for descriptive vocabulary.

II. Score Study
• Distribute student copies of page 35 of the Inner Voices score which shows several ‘fields of colour’ that softly enter and exit. Note how the moving eighth rhythms of the trombone and cello parts contrasts with the long sustained notes of the bassoon, contrabass and percussion.
• Distribute student copies of page 22 of Plages. On this page of the score, each ‘band’ of colour, is played by an orchestral family: brass, strings and percussion. Note that the score instructs the bells and harp to dialogue with one another, and gives other players the freedom to choose from the given pitches, rhythmic durations of notes, and playing techniques.
• Using the information from the chart, and from looking at the examples from the scores, compare and contrast the two compositions using a Venn diagram.

III. Read and Share
• Read text assets: Composer Melissa Hui describes Inner Voices and Garant: Plages. Add any new descriptive words to the Venn diagram, using a variety of colours, if possible.
• Partners join to make groups of four or six, and share diagrams. Discuss how successful the composers were in communicating their own thoughts, feelings and ideas through their compositions. When did you hear bands of colour in the excerpts?
• Exit pass: Summarize some of the ways visual images and music inspire each other. (e.g., refer to the terms on the completed chart)

IV. Extend
• Listen to the compositions in their entirety at www.nacmusicbox.ca
• Do a net-search for works of art that have a style connection to the music:
     o For Garant’s Plages and his use of bands of colour, look for artworks by Guido Molinari (Untitled, 1964) or Jack Bush (Big A, 1968).
     o For Hui’s Inner Voices and her use of fields of colour, look for artworks by Mark Rothko (No. 10, 1950).

© 2010, National Arts Centre. All Rights Reserved.

Garant lived from 1929-1986, and was a Québec composer, conductor, pianist, teacher and critic. From an early age, he learned to play the clarinet and piano, and was particularly attracted to jazz. He later played clarinet with the Sherbrooke Symphony Orchestra, the saxophone with various jazz groups and later studied composition with composers in various parts of the world. In Québec, Garant, as a leading Canadian musician, vigorously promoted 20th century music and contemporary creative musicians.

Plages, Garant’s final work, was commissioned by the Youth Orchestra of Québec, written and premiered in 1981, and conducted by the composer. It is a single movement work in five sections plus coda, and represents bands (plages) of musical time and orchestral colour, and can be compared to paintings that consist of bands of different colours. Note the frequent use of bands of silence.
Garant lived from 1929-1986, and was a Québec composer, conductor, pianist, teacher and critic. From an early age, he learned to play the clarinet and piano, and was particularly attracted to jazz. He later played clarinet with the Sherbrooke Symphony Orchestra, the saxophone with various jazz groups and later studied composition with composers in various parts of the world. In Québec, Garant, as a leading Canadian musician, vigorously promoted 20th century music and contemporary creative musicians.

Plages, Garant’s final work, was commissioned by the Youth Orchestra of Québec, written and premiered in 1981, and conducted by the composer. It is a single movement work in five sections plus coda, and represents bands (plages) of musical time and orchestral colour, and can be compared to paintings that consist of bands of different colours. Note the frequent use of bands of silence.

© 2010, National Arts Centre. All Rights Reserved.

A comparison chart for Melissa Hui's Inner Voices and Serge Garant's Plages.

A comparison chart for Melissa Hui's Inner Voices and Serge Garant's Plages.

Connexionarts
Jane Wamsley and Alison Kenny-Gardhouse

© 2010, National Arts Centre. All Rights Reserved.


An excerpt from Inner Voices by Melissa Hui (0:00-1:50).

Melissa Hui

© 1995, Melissa Hui.


An excerpt from Inner Voices by Melissa Hui (2:30-4:20).

Melissa Hui

© 1995, Melissa Hui.


An excerpt from Inner Voices by Melissa Hui (9:00-10:41).

Melissa Hui

© 1995, Melissa Hui.


An excerpt from Plages by Serge Garant (0:00-1:50).

Serge Garant

© 1981, Serge Garant.


An excerpt from Plages by Serge Garant (3:30-4:25).

Serge Garant

© 1981, Serge Garant.


An excerpt from Plages by Serge Garant (9:00-10:30).

Serge Garant

© 1981, Serge Garant.


In composing Inner Voices, I set out to juxtapose "fields" of colour in a way very similar to that of some abstract paintings or photographs. The subject of the work is therefore not a figurative or narrative idea but is rather about the interactions and proportions of the "colour fields" themselves. Just as I have chosen to elevate one aspect of music -- colour -- to predominate as a work’s focus, I have also chosen to present these colours upon a flat aural plane. This is analogous to a painting without perspective, where there is no background or foreground, and where the flat canvas does not depict an illusory three-dimensional world.

In Inner Voices, there is no hierarchy represented by melody and accompaniment. Each colour field has its own unique instrumental colour (quite often that of one family or kind of instrument) and musical material. This is presented successively or simultaneously with other colour fields. Even when two fields are sounding together, each field’s internal rhythm and phrase structure remain independent of each other, with neit Read More
In composing Inner Voices, I set out to juxtapose "fields" of colour in a way very similar to that of some abstract paintings or photographs. The subject of the work is therefore not a figurative or narrative idea but is rather about the interactions and proportions of the "colour fields" themselves. Just as I have chosen to elevate one aspect of music -- colour -- to predominate as a work’s focus, I have also chosen to present these colours upon a flat aural plane. This is analogous to a painting without perspective, where there is no background or foreground, and where the flat canvas does not depict an illusory three-dimensional world.

In Inner Voices, there is no hierarchy represented by melody and accompaniment. Each colour field has its own unique instrumental colour (quite often that of one family or kind of instrument) and musical material. This is presented successively or simultaneously with other colour fields. Even when two fields are sounding together, each field’s internal rhythm and phrase structure remain independent of each other, with neither being subservient. Thus they exist as parallel ideas, sometimes intersecting and creating friction, sometimes existing in harmony.

The title of the work, Inner Voices, suggests two ideas. The first highlights what I think is a third aspect of the work: the often intertwining lines within the colour fields. The variation of rhythm and/or instrumental colour of these lines adds richness to the texture and makes the colour vibrate with subtle nuances of the same hue. The second and more immediate allusion of Inner Voices, relates to the spirit of the work, more readily identifiable in the ebb-and-flow of the colour fields as they sound to me -- drifting in and out of consciousness, sometimes conflicting, sometimes confirming.

Inner Voices was commissioned by the National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa), Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, and the Saskatoon Symphony, where I was composer-in-residence for the 1995-96 season”.

© Melissa Hui

Page 22 of Score of Plages by Serge Garant

On this page of the score each 'band' of color is played by an orchestral family: brass, strings and percussion. Note that the score instructs the bells and harp to dialogue with one another, and gives other players the freedom to choose from the given pitches, rhythmic durations of notes, and playing techniques.

Serge Garant
Canadian Music Centre

© 1981, Serge Garant


Page 35 of Score of Inner Voices by Melissa Hui

This page of the score shows several 'fields of colour' that softly enter and exit. Note how the moving either rhythms of the trombone and cello parts contrasts with the long sustained notes of the bassoon, contrabass and percussion.

Melissa Hui
Canadian Music Centre

© 2010, National Arts Centre. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

Visually Inspired! is designed for students and educators to meet the following objectives:

• Examine the role of music in connecting what we see to what we hear
• Explore the strategies composers use to create music inspired by visual images
• Compose a piece of music inspired by an artwork, or create a piece of artwork inspired by music

The collection begins with a series of listening exercises, each based on a Canadian composition inspired by a visual image.

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