Week 10 – Hands Free
Composer: Anna Meredith (1978 - )
Title: Hands Free
Genre: Contemporary Canon
Background: Anna Meredith is a young, Scottish composer, and writes all sorts of music, in many different genres. When Anna was asked to write this piece, she chose to use the canon structure as the foundation. A canon is where two or more instruments, voices or sounds play the same music, but starting at different times. This compositional technique has been around for more than 500 years, but is still widely used in contemporary music. This piece involves aural and visual elements, and invites children to explore the sounds that their bodies are capable of making. In this piece, human beings are the instruments – a human orchestra has been created.
The Music Today: This piece of music is extremely modern and has been composed recently; therefore we call it contemporary music. The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain have performed this piece at the Proms and some of our teachers had a go at performing extracts from it at our staff meeting last week!
Things to do:
- Listen carefully to the music. How many different ways are the orchestra using their body to make a sound?
- At the beginning, how many times does the orchestra clap before changing to tapping their knees? Count carefully!
- This piece of music is called ‘Hands Free’. Why do you think it has this name?
- What other items in your house could you use as percussion instruments?
- Do you this is more difficult to play than an instrumental piece of music? Why / why not? What are the challenges?
Find the music on YouTube.