Breakfast Jams: The Secret Elephant Song

Let's take a trip to a Carnival. 

This piece was written by a French composer named Camille Saint-Seans. The piece is a really fun, light-hearted grouping of songs all written about different animals you might see at a carnival. 

Saint-Saens wrote pieces about lions, fish, birds, donkeys, and even fossils. Saint-Saens paid a lot of attention to the character of each animal when he imagined how they would sound musically. The result is a collection of cleverly written pieces full of musical jokes.

But Saint-Saens wasn't necessarily proud of this collection - clever though it was. As you might already know, classical music is serious business. And Saint-Saens considered himself to be a serious composer of this serious classical music. How could he expect to be taken seriously as a composer if he wrote music that was funny and lighthearted? 

For that reason, Saint-Seans insisted that The Carnival of the Animals not be published after he finished writing it. The fact that this composer had written fun music about animals was a secret to most people. Only one movement of the piece - The Swan - was allowed to be published during his lifetime. (You won't be surprised to hear that the only piece he allowed to be published is the most serious one of The Carnival of the Animals.)

The piece we'll hear today is one of the secret, humorous pieces Camille Saint-Saens wrote for The Carnival of the Animals. It's called The Elephant


The Elephant

Pretend you're the composer, Saint-Seans writing a piece about elephants. What would you make your piece sound like?  What would you do to make your piece sound like an elephant?

Would it be fast or slow? 

Loud or quiet? 

What instrument would you choose? Flute? Tuba? Xylophone?

Let's Listen

Let's listen to Camille Saint-Saens' The Carnival of the Animals - The Elephant.

As you listen, can you imagine the giant elephant stomping around? 

Did you hear the elephant? 

How did Saint-Seans' Elephant compare to your musical ideas?