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Viennese Musical Clock (Kodaly) | Free Music Lesson Plan (Rondo Form)

from the Lesson Zone

Students become a Viennese musical clock, with dancers, knights, and more, to learn about rondo form.


Grade 2-3


Students will learn seven part rondo form through movement. This lesson is designed to fulfill Standard #6 of the National Standards for Music: Listening to, analyzing, and describing music.


A recording of Zoltan Kodaly's Viennese Musical Clock from 'Hary Janos Suite'
Herald Trumpets
Crowns for King and Queen
Stick Horses for Knights
Shields for Knights
Silk/Paper Flowers or Ribbons for Girl Dancers

(Optional props may be made of laminated butcher paper supported by cardboard. The stick for the stick horse can be made from a 3' length of PVC pipe.)


Step 1
Tell students, "Today we will be learning about rondo form. Let's start by building a giant sandwich." Draw the sandwich on the white board from bottom to top. Label each section as you go.

Here's a simple line drawing that you can reproduce on the white board for your students:

Step 2
Tell students, "Let's compare this giant sandwich to rondo form. The parts of a seven part rondo are labeled ABACADA. A rondo may also have a Coda. A Coda is extra music at the end. It doesn't have to be there, but can be, if the composer would like to add a special ending.

After you have drawn the sandwich, label the parts from bottom to top:

Tell students, "The shape of the bun changed three times, though it always remained a bun. Sometimes it was flat with rounded edges on the bottom. Sometimes it was flat on the top and the bottom with square edges. Sometimes it was round on the top with sesame seeds. Music can change like that too."

Step 3
Tell students, "Let's listen to a recording of Viennese Musical Clock by Zoltan Kodaly. As you listen to the recording I will show you how the music is put together. Each time a new section begins I will point to the alphabet letter next to the sandwich. Each time A repeats, I would like for you to raise your hand.

Start recording.

Step 4
Ask students, "How many of you have see a musical clock in the center of a European city? Perhaps you have seen the one outside Small World at Disneyland. I brought a picture of one from Vienna, Austria." (Show picture.) You might consider showing your students a video of a musical clock tower as it chimes at 12 o'clock.

Step 5
Tell students, "Now let's be the musical clock. Each one of you will have a special part to play. Some will be dancers. Others will be the clock, trumpet players or knights. Two of you will have the special privilege of being the king and the queen."

Step 6
Tell students, "The student that is the clock will announce that it is twelve o'clock in Vienna. The dancers will dance during the A section. The B section will be the trumpet players. The C section with be the the king and queen. The D section will be the knights. The Coda will be the big finish including dancers and trumpets." As you tell the students, write it on the white board.

Step 7
Tell students, "I'm going to do the best I can to make sure that everyone gets the part that they want. Raise your hand if you will have a good attitude even if you don't get the part that you want. Great! Let's choose parts.

Who would like to be the clock? (1 Student)
Who would like to be the trumpets? (4 Students)
Who would like to be the king? (1 Student)
Who would like to be the queen? (1 Student)
Who would like to be the knights? (2 Student)

"The rest of you will be the dancers. If you listen well and try hard there will be time to switch parts."

Step 8
Tell students, "I'm going to teach the dance section by section. We will begin with the dancers."

Movement for each group of students:

Clock - Stands in the center of the large circle. During the introduction and prior to the beginning of the A section, the clock announces, "It's 12:00 o'clock in Vienna".

Dancers - Spin while rotating clockwise around the large center circle during section A. They exit the circle each time their section ends.

King and Queen - Start at the back of the large center circle. The king walks to the left while the queen walks to the right. They meet at the front, wave to their loyal subjects, and return to the starting position where they exit the circle.

Trumpets - One trumpet player walks left to the front of the circle while the second trumpet player walks right to the front of the circle. They raise their trumpets, pretend to play, and return to their starting position when the section ends. Movement is repeated for Coda.

Knights - One knight rides clockwise around the circle while the other rides counterclockwise around the circle. They should be able to ride around the circle twice bumping shields each time they pass each other. They exit the circle when their section ends.

Consider this a starting point. Your students may have great ideas of their own.


Step 9
Tell students, "Let's perform the musical clock all the way through. I'll help you to know where we are by pointing to the sections on the white board." Pass out props. Start recording.

Step 10
Allow the students who tried the hardest to try another part. Perform the musical clock again.

Step 11
Ask students, "Who can name the parts of a seven part rondo?"

Step 12
Repeat the performance for their teacher when he/she arrives at the door to pick them up. Tell the homeroom teacher, "We would like to take you on a trip to Vienna, Austria. Your first stop will be to see the beautiful musical clock tower. It is twelve o'clock." You may also wish to ask the students to tell the homeroom teacher what they learned today and the name and composer of the work. Perform the musical clock again.