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
is represented by a solo violin. Its top string is tuned to Eb instead of E.
waltz tune is first heard on flute and then on violins.
plays the main waltz tune which is chromatuic.
fugue occurs. The instruments (representing ghosts) chase, but never catch up
with each other.
xylophone represents skeletons.
before sunrise there is a sudden silence. An oboe, representing cockrow, signifies
that dawn has arrived.
ghosts race back to their graves and the solo violin plays its last few sad notes.
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.
can be drawn by individual students and scanned
into the computer or photographed
and saved as gifs or jpegs
based the piece on this poem.
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.