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Exploring ways to develop musical ideas
Variations Scheme of Work and Lesson Pathways
Variations Scheme of Work and Lesson Pathways
Variations Scheme of Work and Lesson Pathways

Key Words, Concepts, Musical Knowledge and Theory

Melody, Theme, Variation, Variation Form, Augmentation, Diminution, Canon/Round, Ground Bass, Inversion, Retrograde, Retrograde Inversion, Pedal (Pedal Note, Pedal Point), Drone, Melodic Decoration, Ostinato, Tonality, Major, Minor.

Variations Knowledge Organiser
Variations Knowledge Organiser
Variations Knowledge Organiser
The Variations Lucky Dip Machine
The Variations Lucky Dip Machine
Variations DOITNOW Presentation
Variations DOITNOW Presentation
Variations DOITNOW Presentation
Variations Plenary Review Activities
Variations Plenary Review Activities Presentation
Variations - Variation Techniques Progressive Case Studies Resources

These themes can be worked through progressively over a number of lessons or ‘mixed and matched’ to provide variety when exploring different variation techniques.

Frere Jacques Theme

(single line melody - C Major)

Theme from "Faded" - Alan Walker

(2-part melody and accompaniment - E minor)

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Theme

(single line melody and chord I, IV and V markings - F Major)

Stage 1: Changing and Adding

Changing: pitch (octave, timbre and sonority, articulation, tempo, dynamics, rhythm.

Adding: pedal, drone, ostinato, rhythm, decoration (passing notes).

Changing and Adding Variation Techniques to Frere Jacques Theme
Changing and Adding Variation Techniques to Frere Jacques Theme
Changing and Adding Variation Techniques to Faded Theme
Changing and Adding Variation Techniques to Faded Theme
Changing and Adding Variation Techniques to Twinkle, Twinkle Theme
Changing and Adding Variation Techniques to Twinkle, Twinkle Theme

Stage 2: Augmentation, Diminution, Canon/Round and Counter Melody

Frere Jacques Theme Variations Sheet 2
Frere Jacques Theme Variations Sheet 2
Faded Theme Variations Sheet 2
Faded Theme Variations Sheet 2
Twinkle, Twinkle Theme Variations Sheet 2
Twinkle, Twinkle Theme Variations Sheet 2

Stage 3: Changes in Tonality

Major to minor, Scales, Semitones.

Changing the Tonality of the Frere Jacques Theme
Changing the Tonality of the Frere Jacques Theme

(There is no resource for this as the theme is in a minor key)

Changing the Tonality of the Twinkle, Twinkle Theme
Changing the Tonality of the Twinkle, Twinkle Theme

Stage 4: Advanced Variation Techniques

Retrograde, Inversion, Retrograde Inversion

Frere Jacques Theme Advanced Variation Techniques
Frere Jacques Theme Advanced Variation Techniques
Faded Theme Advanced Variation Techniques
Faded Theme Advanced Variation Techniques
Twinkle, Twinkle Theme Advanced Variation Techniques
Twinkle, Twinkle Theme Advanced Variation Techniques
Variations - Critical Engagement (Listening and Appraising) Resources
Listening to Theme and Variations and Ground Bass Listening Pack A range of Critical Engagement (Listening and Appraising) audio and video activities from a range of music based on Theme and Variation and Ground Bass Forms.  Contains answers.
Listening to Theme and Variations and Ground Bass Listening Pack A range of Critical Engagement (Listening and Appraising) audio and video activities from a range of music based on Theme and Variation and Ground Bass Forms.  Contains answers.
Variations Audio 1 - Adagio (Funeral March) from Third Movement of Symphony No.1 (Mahler)
Variations Audio 2 - Variations on ‘America’ (Charles Ives)
Variations Audio 3 - Theme and 4 Variations on ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” (Mozart)
Variations Audio 4 - Theme and Variation 1 from ‘The Trout Quintet’ (Schubert)
Variations Audio 5 - Chaconne from Suite No.1 in E flat for Wind Band (Holst)
Variations Video 1 - 10 Variations on Happy Birthday for Solo Violin
Variations Video 2 - Theme and Variations on ‘Frere Jacques’ (The Motor City Brass Quintet)
Variations - Media Theme and Variations Extended Project Resources
“Go Compare” Theme and Variations 2-part arrangement of the “Go Compare” TV advert theme for pupils to produce one or more musical variations which could be used for a new “Go Compare” TV advert in a different place, time or context.
“Go Compare” Theme and Variations 2-part arrangement of the “Go Compare” TV advert theme for pupils to produce one or more musical variations which could be used for a new “Go Compare” TV advert in a different place, time or context.
“The Simpsons” Theme and Variations Single line melody of “The Simpsons” TV theme for pupils to produce one or more musical variations which could be used for a new episode of “The Simpsons” in a different place, time or context.
“The Simpsons” Theme and Variations Single line melody of “The Simpsons” TV theme for pupils to produce one or more musical variations which could be used for a new episode of “The Simpsons” in a different place, time or context.
Variations - Ground Bass Variations Resources
One Ground Bass: A Canon, and Three Popular Songs Performing/singing arrangements of: “Canon in D” - Pachelbel “C U When U Get There” - Coolio “Altogether Now” - The Farm “Go West” - The Pet Shop Boys all in C Major.
One Ground Bass: A Canon, and Three Popular Songs Extracts from: “Canon in D” - Pachelbel “C U When U Get There” - Coolio “Altogether Now” - The Farm “Go West” - The Pet Shop Boys
Performing Pachelbel’s Canon 4-page performing pack containing Ground Bass, Counter Melodies in progressive difficulty, Coolio, The Farm and The Pet Shop Boys vocal/instrumental Counter Melodies, Chords, “Smooth Chords” and an opportunity for pupils to create their own 8-bar Counter Melody based on notes of the chords and including the use of Passing Notes.
Pachelbel's "Canon" Audio File
Variations - Cover and Homework Activities
Variations Key Words Word Search The answer to questions on variation techniques are contained within a word search grid. Contains answers.   Can be done without using ICT.
Variations Key Words Word Search The answer to questions on variation techniques are contained within a word search grid. Contains answers.   Can be done without using ICT.
Variations Key Words  Crossword The answer to the questions/clues on variation techniques all fit into the crossword grid.   Contains answers.   Can be done without using ICT.
Variations Key Words  Crossword The answer to the questions/clues on variation techniques all fit into the crossword grid.   Contains answers.   Can be done without using ICT.
Variations - Forms Quizzes (available via the Shop & Add-On Extras page)
Variations Forms Quizzes
Variations Forms Quizzes

Variations (Exploring ways to develop musical ideas) unit is supported by TWO Forms Quizzes (in both MS-Forms and Google Forms formats) available as part of the Secondary/KS3 Year 8 Units Quiz Bundle from the Musical Contexts Shop & Add-On Extras page.

Each multiple choice quiz is self-marking and worth 25 points and cover Knowledge and Understanding (Part A) and have a Critical Engagement: Listening and Appraising section (Part B) with listening questions linked to YouTube videos.