In this activity, students are asked to differentiate between Parts A and B of a folk tune in various ways. 

Review the definitions of Parts A and B on the Vocabulary page as a large group before beginning this exercise.

Example #1 - Swallow Tail Jig


Play Example #1 as the students think about which portion of the music is Part A and which portion is Part B. 

Play Example #1 again as students circle the answers to the following questions: 

  1. Do A and B have the same ending? a: YES

  2. Is Part A a statement or question? a: STATEMENT

  3. Is Part B a statement or question? a: STATEMENT

You are welcome play Example #1 an additional time to give students another opportunity to answer these questions as they listen. 

If your students can easily identify the questions outlined in their study guides, here are two more examples that should provide more of a challenge: 

Example #2 - Arkansas Traveler


  • Begin at 0:35

Same or different endings?: SAME

  • You may start a dialogue with the students regarding improvisation/ornamentation and the freedom within folk tunes, especially. Often times players will add ornaments or slightly change the notes to create interest/new feeling within the melody or endings, without entirely changing the main idea, as is done in this example.

Part A question/statement?: STATEMENT

Part B question/statement?: STATEMENT

Example #3 - Switchback


  • This tune is a bit tricky! There are two separate tunes to work with - the first tune starts right at the beginning and plays through about 00:37. The second tune starts at 00:48 with the melody in the cello for Part A and plays through 1:13 with the melody in the violin for Part B.

  • For the first tune, parts A and B have different endings. Neither of them are very definitive, so we call them both questions. Part A ends on the note A, but we’re in the key of G, so it isn’t satisfying to the listener as a completely finished thought/idea. Similarly, Part B definitely has direction and is moving toward resolution, but is actually resolved or “answered” by the returning, beginning notes of Part A.

Same or different endings?: DIFFERENT

Part A question/statement?: QUESTION

Part B question/statement?: QUESTION

  • The second tune is a little easier to determine. Part A definitely feels more like a statement, and Part B feels more like a question.

Same or different endings? DIFFERENT

Part A question / statement? STATEMENT

Part B question / statement? QUESTION