A Musical Feast for Thanksgiving Weekend

As I was looking for items for this year’s Thanksgiving post I was drawn to two pieces of music that might invite people to a meal.

Come to the Feast fascinated me. I don’t read music but know enough of the musical notation that I can see the change from quarter notes to eighth notes to sixteenth notes. That makes me think that it’s a really fast piece of music. Also I see that as the song gets closer to the end there are more and more notes on the page and the music seems to go faster and faster. The sheet music includes words such as gallop, brilliante, and furioso which provide hints on the tempo and how the music should be played. Allow time for students to study the music, look up any unfamiliar words, and discuss what they think it might sound like. After the students have thought about the song and how it should be played, bring in the music teacher or a pianist to play the song. Ask students what surprised them and what sounded as they expected.

I was also drawn to another nineteenth-century song with a similar title, Call to the Feast. The preface describes it as an “Indian Folk-song” and mentions Alice Fletcher and Francis La Flesche, researchers who collaborated to record Omaha musical traditions. The Library has recordings they made of Omaha tribal members performing their music in the collection Omaha Indian Music. Students can listen to the recordings and experience the music performed by members of the tribe and also consider how different tempos, drum beats, and melodies can suggest what events are going on and what activities should take place.

Will music play a role in your feast or other festivities over Thanksgiving weekend? Let us know in the comments.

May your holiday weekend be full of happy memories, family, and friendship. We’ll be back with you next week.

Come to the Feast. C.D. Blake, 1879

Call to the Feast. John Comfort Fillmore, 1894

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