Music education always & always looking forward.

The Bach Era to the Rock Era: Classical Samples in The Toys' "A Lover's Concerto"

I am currently teaching this in my Beginning Band class.  Using Finale, I've arranged the "Minuet in G" melody (and written a harmony & bassline part, which the kids may or may not use) in its original 3/4 time and then a separate part which employs the 4/4 melody used in "A Lover's Concerto."  This year, it will work out nicely with the theme of our spring concert and be something cute & fun for my beginners.  

Admittedly, the idea was brazenly stolen from my supervising teacher from my senior internship, and I've used it many years over.  There's a lot of content to be taught with it, and surely lots of compare/contrast exercises, Venn diagrams, and whatever else you can use to enhance your music classroom teaching to meet Common Core standards (and make your principals happy) pertinent to this song.  Have fun!

“A Lover’s Concerto” – The Toys

Intro: The Toys were a girl group based in Jamaica, Queens (NYC) who formed in 1964. They recorded "A Lover's Concerto", with lyrics and arrangement by Sandy Linzer and Danny Rendell and released it in 1965. It hit #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Cashbox chart (a former American competitor to Billboard) and the Canadian pop charts. It peaked at #5 on the UK chart and has sold more than 2 million copies worldwide. In terms of teaching, it was also featured in the film Mr. Holland's Opus as an musical educational tool. 

Analysis: As its melodic basis, this song uses the melody from the famed Minuet in G, originally attributed to Johan Sebastian Bach but in the 1970s (after the release of this song) was found to have likely been composed by Christian Petzold. “A Lover’s Concerto” uses only the first period of the Minuet for its familiar melody base, but instead of its original ¾ time signature, the melody in “Lover’s” augments the first note in each measure or adds an extra note so that it extends to 4/4 time.

Considerations for Teaching: There is no offensive subject matter or language in this song. It serves as a great teaching example in terms of its classical connection, its history among 1960s girl groups, and it can be used in beginning band classrooms as a companion piece to young instrumentalists learning the Minuet in G melody for the first time.

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