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Saint-Saëns’s “Danse Macabre”

A presentation by Amelia Duarte, Josh Lovell, and Sarah Miller. Saint-Saëns’s “Danse Macabre”. What inspired this piece?. Based on a poem written by Henri Cazalis. The poem is about an old French superstition.

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Saint-Saëns’s “Danse Macabre”

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  1. A presentation by Amelia Duarte, Josh Lovell, and Sarah Miller Saint-Saëns’s “Danse Macabre”

  2. What inspired this piece? Based on a poem written by Henri Cazalis The poem is about an old French superstition According to the ancient superstition, "Death" appears at midnight every year on Halloween. Death has the power to call forth the dead from their graves to dance for him while he plays his fiddle. His skeletons dance for him until the first break of dawn, when they must return to their graves until the next year.

  3. Read the poem while listening and see if you can imagine what happens… Zig, zig, zig, Death in a cadence, Striking with his heel a tomb, Death at midnight plays a dance-tune, Zig, zig, zig, on his violin. The winter wind blows and the night is dark; Moans are heard in the linden trees. Through the gloom, white skeletons pass, Running and leaping in their shrouds. Zig, zig, zig, each one is frisking, The bones of the dancers are heard to crack— But hist! of a sudden they quit the round, They push forward, they fly; The rooster has crowed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyknBTm_YyM

  4. Musical Themes There are three main themes throughout the piece: Death’s Dance (or waltz) Skeleton Dance The use of the Tritone, which is also known as “Death’s chord”

  5. Activity Time! Now that you know a bit about the themes, raise your hand every time you hear one of them!

  6. And now, for a bit of a challenge… Can you act out the STYLE of the piece? Be sure to include the length , shortness, loudness and softness of the notes in your acting!

  7. Resources • http://imagecache2.allposters.com/images/pic/AQUA/24-645~Alchemy-Danse-Macabre-Posters.jpg • http://atickettohell.com/home/uploads/images/GrimReaperMoon.jpg • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyknBTm_YyM (all background information, including poem) • http://www.dornai.com/images/danza_macabra/Michael_Wolgemut_THE_%20DANCE_OF_SKELETONS_Dornai.jpg • http://www.wmlair.com/Pumpkins2004/Grim_Reaper.JPG • http://www.musiceducationmadness.com/images/danse_macabre.jpg (information on themes) • http://www.cksinfo.com/clipart/holidays/halloween/skeletons/dancing-skeleton.png • http://www.kreativeannouncements.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/grimreaper.jpg • http://www.kennymester.com/tombstone%20006.jpg

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