Musical Contexts - Primary/Key Stage 2 Unit 6 - Ancient Greece

Learning, Listening, Composing & Evaluating Activities
Performing Activities - Songs & Scores
Starter & Plenary Activities

Exploring Triple Time, the Pentatonic Scale and the Leitmotif

About the Unit: his unit contains a variety of ideas suitable for KS2 classes that wish to link their music with the history unit based on Ancient Greece.  The activities all have a clear music focus and draw upon a history element as a starting point or stimulus.  Like Unit 5 “Ancient Egypt”, this unit does not attempt to explore music of the time, since at KS2 level, the historian would be relying heavily on supposition based upon wall paintings, artefacts and such like to ascertain what the music may or may not have sounded like!  Rather, the activities open up opportunities for the creation of pupil’s own music as a response to some of the stimuli associated with Ancient Greece.  The unit begins with an exploration into triple time - inspired by the three prongs on Poseidon’s trident.  Pupils use the repeating sequence of the border from a Greek plate to perform and compose rhythms in triple metre.  Pupils then move onto explore the Pentatonic Scale (made up of two Greek words in itself! - “pente” (five) and “tonic” (tone)), creating and performing pentatonic melodies, again using the border pattern of a Greek plate to structure their pieces.  Pupils then move onto explore the leitmotif, used to represent a certain character.  Using the features, attributes, associations and characteristics of various Greek gods and goddesses, pupils create their own leitmotifs to represent these through music and sound.  Finally, pupils explore the Greek myth of “Perseus and Medusa”.  Firstly, pupils hold a class competition to create a leitmotif for the hero, Perseus, using the Pentatonic Scale and Triple Time.  Next, they create leitmotifs for other characters within the myth and sound effects for different situations, while the “winning Perseus leitmotif” group adapt their leitmotif to respond to the different situations the hero finds himself in.  This culminates in a class performance – a narrated tale with leitmotifs and sound effects being performed at the appropriate points.  The unit ends with pupils exploring “Greek-inspired” music from a range of different times and places.

Element Focus - Rhythm, Pitch, Timbre & Dynamics, Structure & Form

Ancient Greece from Musical Contexts provides a range of fun and exciting music activities and learning opportunities combining singing, performing, composing and listening and appraising with all of the resources you’ll need in one place!  Ideal for non-specialist music teachers (with a wealth of supporting media files to model tasks and a detailed scheme of work and lesson plans) and a wealth of fresh inspiration for music specialists.  Whether you’re exploring the popular primary history topic of Ancient Greece or The Greeks, there’s something within this unit that will hopefully inspire both you as a teacher and your pupils  Scroll down to see the variety and range of resources and activities on offer. 

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Frequently Asked Questions



Lesson Plan (PDF)

Lesson Plan (DOC)

Lesson Bundles (ZIP)

Download all the resources you need for each lesson (excluding video files) in a ZIP file.

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Lesson 1

Exploring Triple Time Rhythms

Lesson Plan 1

Lesson Plan 1

Lesson 1

Resource Bundle

Lesson 2

Exploring The Pentatonic Scale


Lesson Plan 2

Lesson Plan 2

Lesson 2

Resource Bundle

Lesson 3

Exploring Leitmotifs for the Greek Gods

Lesson Plan 3

Lesson Plan 3

Lesson 3

Resource Bundle

Lesson 4

Exploring a Leitmotif for Perseus

Lesson Plan 4

Lesson Plan 4

Lesson 4

Resource Bundle

Lesson 5

Exploring the Myth of Perseus and Medusa

Lesson Plan 5

Lesson Plan 5

Lesson 5

Resource Bundle

Lesson 6

Exploring Greek-inspired Music

Lesson Plan 6

Lesson Plan 6

Lesson 6

Resource Bundle






Worksheet 1

Greek Gods

Leitmotif Composing Cards

Worksheet 2

Greek Gods and Goddesses Rhythm Matching

Worksheet 3

Greek Plate Composing Sheet

Worksheet 3a- Example Greek Plate Composition 

(example on MIDI 5)


MIDI 5 - Example Greek Plate Composition

Worksheet 4

Evaluating Greek Plate Compositions





Audio 9 - The Myth of Perseus and Medusa

Worksheet 5

Composing a Leitmotif for Perseus

Worksheet 6

The Myth of Perseus and Medusa Transcript

(given on Audio 10)


Audio 10 - The Myth of Perseus and Medusa Narration

Worksheet 8

Evaluating Greek God Leitmotifs





Worksheet 7 - The Myth of Perseus and Medusa Performance Plan

(given on Presentation 3)


Presentation 3 - The Myth of Perseus and Medusa Performance Plan

Worksheet 9

The Myth of Perseus and Medusa Composing Cards

Worksheet 10

The Myth of Perseus and Medusa Evaluation Sheet

Worksheet 11 - Listening to “Greek-inspired” Music

(uses Audio 12)


Audio 12 - Listening to “Greek-inspired” Music


Song Sheet 1 - Songs and Rounds in Triple Time

Audio 1 - Music is Fun        MIDI 1 - Music is Fun (as a 4-part round)

Audio 2 - Kite Flying High (with ostinato)       MIDI 2 - Kite Flying High (as a 3-part round)

Audio 3 - Trav’lin’ Round (with ostinato)       MIDI 3 - Trav’lin’ Round (as a 4-part round)




Score 1 - Poseidon’s Greek Plate Rhythm Score

(given on Presentation 1)


Presentation 1 - Poseidon’s Greek Plate Rhythm Score

Score 2 - The Pentatonic Scale

(given on Presentation 2)


Presentation 2 - The Pentatonic Scale

Score 3 - Knock Knock!

(example on MIDI 4)


MIDI 4 - Knock Knock! Example






Starter/Plenary 1 - Poseidon and his Trident

(given on Presentation 1)


Presentation 1 - Poseidon and his Trident

Audio 4 - Slow Waltz - Don’t Close your Eyes

Audio 5 - Moon River - Andy Williams

Audio 6 - Sleeping Beauty Waltz - Tchaikovsky

Audio 7 - Two Beats or Three Beats?





Audio 8 - Introducing Leitmotifs

Starter/Plenary 2 - Listening to Music describing the Greek Gods

(uses Audio 11)


Audio 11 - Listening to Music describing the Greek Gods

Video 1 - Clash of the Titans (Original and Remake Comparison) - “Perseus slays Medusa” Scene

Starter/Plenary 3

My Ancient Greece Learning