Example 5. “Momma” in a lesson plan on metric modulation

By the end of this lesson, students should be able to:

5 min. Introductions

Provide biographical information on Elliott Carter (if not previously provided).

Define the terms metric modulation and tempo modulation.

30 min. Analyzing metric modulation in Elliott Carter

Give a demonstration of how metric modulation works, and how to calculate it, in works by Elliott Carter (e.g., Roig-Francolí 2007 uses excerpts from String Quartet no.1 as examples).

5 min. Metric modulation as a listening experience

Ask students to respond to the question “What is the artistic effect of these metric modulations on you as a listener?” You might have an open discussion, or ask students to write for two minutes and then ask students to share (which gives them more time to think of a response).

10 min. Tempo modulation in “Momma”

Listen to “Momma,” either the whole song or an excerpt (2:24–4:07)

AUDIO 1.12

Explain to students that the tempo changes from approximately 85 bpm to 114 bpm from (3:35–3:59). Ask them to compare and contrast the artistic effect of this tempo modulation with the Carter pieces previously analyzed.