Selection: The Fox and the Hounds
Performers: Charles Eckhardt (cow horn, calls), Clinton Saathoff (fiddle), and Otis Evans (guitar)
Recorded: Bandera, Texas, Billings Tourist Camp, May 4, 1939
Activity 1: Dramatization
- Teacher introduces the song through attentive listening questions.
- What sounds do you hear?
- What do you think might be going on?
- What could be the name of this song?
- Teacher shares the name of the song, and conveys the context of a fox hunt.
- Teacher facilitates a dramatization of a narrative related to fox and hounds, as informed by student input.
- To structure the dramatization, you might: assign roles, determine a sequence to the dramatization, determine anchor points in the recording and assign map them onto the pre-determined sequence, determine how to begin and how to end the dramatization.
- Extension: Removing the recording, students keep their dramatization, but are tasked with creating their own sonic accompaniment using voices and percussion, while the teacher plays the pitched accompaniment on an instrument of their choosing.
Activity 2: Beginning Strings
- Students are asked to listen for repeating patterns and rhythms.
- Teacher has students continue to listen to the fiddle double stops to determine when they change to a different chord (from F to C and back).
- Teacher asks students to figure out double stops on their string instrument that match the recording.
Double Stops Example:
- Students practice switching between the two, then play along to the recording.
- To add variation and interest, students can add slides from below and accents to the repetitive rhythms.
Activity 3: A New Buckskin Shirt
“On the afternoon of May 4 Mr. Saathoff and Mr. Evans recorded their rendition of the Fox and Hounds, with Charles Eckhardt blowing the horn and calling the dogs; using an old-fashioned cow-horn which he had polished himself and had used on his ranch for many years. He recorded other ranch calls made with this horn. These men are all Hill Country ranchmen. Mr. Eckhardt is a skillful tanner, leather-tooler, hunter, fisherman. When he visited the Lomaxes' cabin he was wearing his 'new' buckskin shirt, which he had shot, dressed, treated and sewed himself, and which he had been wearing five years.” - Ruby T. Lomax
- Teacher introduces the context of this recording, with the above quote from Ruby Lomax’s notes.
- Students learn more about buckskin shirts and leather processing, as teacher shows various images of garments from this time period.
- Using construction paper, students craft a shirt that includes a front, back, and fringe.
Activity 4: Instrumental Arrangements
- Teacher has students listen to other versions of “The Fox and the Hounds,” accompanied on other instruments, such as harmonica and banjo.
- Students discuss what is similar and different between these versions.
- Teacher has students work in groups to pick a new instrument of their choosing to use in a performance of “The Fox and the Hounds.”
Lesson plan by Clayton Dahm