Improvise Basic Harmonic Accompaniments
Working in small groups, students will be assigned a three-chord folk song (I, IV, V) that is approximately 8-16 measures long. The teacher may use the example folk song, “Ally Bally,” or an appropriate song of his or her choosing. This assessment has three parts to it. Each part is summarized below:
Part 1–Sing a Melody with Chord Roots—Students will figure out the chord roots and changes by singing. Some of the students in the group will sing the melody while the remaining group members will determine and sing the chord roots using the solfège syllables “do” (tonic), “fa” (subdominant), and “sol” (dominant).
Once students have determined the correct chord roots and changes, each student will write the tonic, subdominant, and dominant chord changes in his or her Student Booklet. Students will do this by writing beneath the song lyrics “do” to indicate tonic chords, “fa” to indicate subdominant chords, and “sol” to indicate dominant chords. This will be used as a framework for their accompaniment improvisation. Students should practice singing the folk song with the chord root accompaniment, taking turns singing both the melody and the chord roots.
Part 2–Improvise an Accompaniment—When students can confidently sing both the melody and the chord roots, they are ready to move on to the next part of this assessment. Students will use the work from Part 1 as a framework to improvise variations of their accompaniment. Students can either vary the rhythm or replace chord roots with other chord members.
Part 3–Recording—Individual students will take turns improvising an accompaniment while the other group members sing the melody. Student performances of the improvised accompaniments will be audio recorded and scored using the Teacher Scoring Rubric.
This item has not been field-tested by Michigan teachers.
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