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>> PROJECT: Vltava (Smetana)


Vltava by Smetana is one of six orchestral tone poems with the overall title of Ma Vlast (My country) and describes the journey of a river from its source to Prague. The piece lasts twelve minutes.

vltava in prague

Vltava in Prague

  • The source of the river Vltava consists of a warm, racing theme and a cool, peaceful theme (Theme 1).
  • The main theme flows along in compound duple time (Theme 2).
  • A hunting scene in the forest is depicted (Theme 3).
  • The river passes close to a village where a wedding is taking place. This is illustrated by a polka played on strings and clarinets (Theme 4).
  • At nightfall, the silvery water-nymphs dance in the moonlight. The muted strings are high and shimmering. Woodwind and harp also play (Theme 5).
  • The Vltava passes through rapids and crashes on rocks. The rhythms are now swirling, the low instruments are rumbling, the woodwind is shrieking and the cymbals are vivid.
  • The river enters Prague triumphantly in a major key and flows off into the distance.

Main themes

Theme 1

Theme 2

Theme 3

Theme 4

Theme 5

Images required for your video


  • Map of Czech Republic and Slovakia (Czechoslovakia)
  • Two streams
  • The river flows through mountainous scenery
  • The river passes by a hunting scene
  • The river passes by a wedding in a village
  • Water-nymphs dance and bathe by moonlight
  • The river passes over rapids
  • The river becomes wide in Prague

To use the notation files, right-click on the image and "Save target as..." into your folder.







© TeachNet 2010 Anna-Marie Higgins