homeaimstoolshow to make short music videosteachnetnotes

example 1
example 2
project 1
project 2
more projectsinfo@amhiggins.ie

>> EXAMPLE 1: Danse Macabre (Saint-Saëns)


This video was created for the Second Level Support Service


Danse Macabre (Saint-Saëns) is a programmatic piece describing a dance that takes place in a graveyard. It is based on a poem by Cazalis. The music begins at midnight and ends at sunrise and the piece lasts seven minutes. During the first minute the main elements are introduced i.e. the time, the setting, death, the main instruments and the dance itself. In this video, the rest of the piece has been edited down to one minute in which the remaining highlights are presented

  • Midnight is struck on harp and French horn
  • Death is represented by a solo violin. Its top string is tuned to Eb instead of E.
  • A waltz tune is first heard on flute and then on violins.
  • Death plays the main waltz tune which is chromatuic.
  • A fugue occurs. The instruments (representing ghosts) chase, but never catch up with each other.
  • The xylophone represents skeletons.
  • Just before sunrise there is a sudden silence. An oboe, representing cockrow, signifies that dawn has arrived.
  • The ghosts race back to their graves and the solo violin plays its last few sad notes.

Main themes

Death tuning up


Images include a clock striking midnight, death, skeletons dancing, a graveyard at night time, cockcrow at sunrise, a harp, a violin, a flute, an oboe and a xylophone.

These can be drawn by individual students and scanned into the computer or photographed and saved as gifs or jpegs


Saint-Saëns based the piece on this poem.

Zig-a-zig-a-zig, it's the rhythm of Death
His heels tap the tombstones as he tunes his violin.
Death at midnight playing a dance-tune
Zig-a-zig-a-zig on his violin.
The winter wind whistles and the night is dark
The winter wind whistles and the lime-trees moan.
Weird, white skeletons streak across the shadows.
Running and leaping, wrapped in their shrouds.
Zig-a-zig-a-zig, the dance grows even wilder.
You can hear the eerie clatter of the dancers' bones.
But wait! Suddenly they all stop dancing.
They scatter, they vanish, for the cock has crowed.

- Cazalis

back to top


  1. Main features
  2. Themes
  3. Notation
  4. Images
  5. Audio in sections
  6. Compile video
  7. Add audio
  8. Upload to YouTube







© TeachNet 2010 Anna-Marie Higgins