Ode To Composers
by Ludwig van Beethoven/adapted/arr. by Teresa and Paul Jennings
Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.
The idea for this tune was simple and a lot of fun, we think: Take the joyous and well-known "Ode To Joy" and use the names of lots of famous composers as the lyrics. To really do it up right, we decided to set it to full orchestra playing parts of the last movement to Beethoven's 9th Symphony which is where the Ode originates. Of course, that movement is at least 17 minutes long, and the Ode is dropped in here and there with lots of other material. So the challenge was boiling it down to a believable intro and an ending reminiscent of the symphony. Given that we wanted to keep this fairly short and that we didn't have a huge orchestra, we are pleased with the results.
We are presenting this song as a part of the musical revue, We're Making Music!, because its topic is perfectly in keeping with that of the revue. (There's no arguing that all of these folks made music!) Of course, it is one of those songs that can be used in any context outside of the revue you like as well. Just as a teaching tool for your music classes, it's pretty neat and will help kids remember the names of many famous composers.
As you might expect, we encourage you to update the lyrics by changing any of the names to any of your own favorites. We could only fit so many, so we had to choose. But if you feel we have omitted more highly deserving names than any we have selected, by all means, substitute away! You might also challenge your students by having them do the lyric rewrite by using specific criteria, such as composers by era. For example, the first verse can be all Baroque composers.
The song is written as a two-part. But you can certainly do it in unison if the second part is not yet within the reach of a given class using it. We used our older singers for the second part.
We used the "Americanized" pronunciations of the composers' names that we were most familiar with. But we know that there are different ways of saying many of these names. Feel free to use whatever you think is best. To really hear our pronunciations, consider listening to our free online versions of the vocals. (See note below.)
Online extras - We have isolated part 2 and put it online as a free MP3 for your students to use when learning this song. We have also included an a cappella version of both parts. You will find these under the "Graphics and Extras" for Volume 16, No. 2 at MusicK8.com