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The Piano: Determining Tone

The Piano: Determining Tone

Author: Kelli Wilson
Description:

RL 7-8.4: Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

RL 7-8.6: Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. Determine the effect of differing points of view.

After listening to Yann Tierson's Comptine d'un autre été and watching the short animated film The Piano students will determine the tone through the use of adjectives to describe emotions, speaking and writing then write the story from a different perspective.

Lesson originally found at www.film-english.com by Kieran Donaghy

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Tutorial

Opening

In this tutorial you will come to understand how tone is created and how tone can shift by changing the perspective of a character. To do this you will watch a short film and use adjectives to describe the emotions, speaking, writing. 

You will need your notebook to track your thinking.

Revisiting Adjectives

 Adjectives are words that modify (describe) the noun. Adjectives allow the writer to explain what the object is like. Using adjectives helps the reader to clearly see what the author is writing about. 

See it in action...without adjectives.

When we got to my house, Grandpa was sitting on the patio. He had on his shirt, but today he also wore a vest that was with beads. Instead of his usual  boots he had a moccasins on his feet that stuck out of his trousers.

Now read it with the adjectives. 

When we got to my house, Grandpa was sitting on the patio. He had on his red shirt, but today he also wore a fringed leather vest that was decorated with beads. Instead of his usual cowboy boots he had a solidly beaded moccasins on his feet that stuck out of his black trousers. (Elements of Literature: Second Course. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. 2009. pg. 288)

How did your vision of the objects change? What adjectives did the author use to help you create those images?

Did you identify these words and phrases?

When we got to my house, Grandpa was sitting on the patio. He had on his red shirt, but today he also wore a fringed leather vest that was decorated with beads. Instead of his usual cowboy boots he had a solidly beaded moccasins on his feet that stuck out of his black trousers.

Here is a list of common adjectives used to describe emotions.

As you read the above words, what images come to mind? 

 

Now you are ready to use adjectives to describe emotions, speaking, and writing.

 

Determining Tone

 

Tone is the author's feeling toward subject. It's his/her attitude. Determining the tone requires you to pay attention to the mood or how the piece made you feel. Look at the colors used, what the focal point is and how the background is used to enhance the emotions. 

It is helpful to know some common words to identify tone. Here is one list of commonly used words to describe the tone. 

Determine the tone for this photograph. What is your evidence?

How does the tone change? What is your evidence?

In the following actiivities you will use the pitch of music and images to determine the tone. Pay attention to how each evokes certain feelings. Feel free to use the list above to help name the tone you believe fits.

Yann Tiersen - Comptine d`un autre ete

As you listen to this short piece, close your eyes and think of any emotions you feel or images that come to mind. After listening share what you felt and the images that came to mind with a partner.

This piece is used in a short film; imagine what type of scene the music goes with. With a partner discuss your ideas.

The Piano directed by Aidan Gibbons

After you have finished watching the film answer the following questions in your notebook:
1. How did the film make you feel? Explain.
2. What did you think of the film? Support your claim.
3. Who are the people in the story?
4. What story does it tell?
5. Was the film how you imagined it would be? Elaborate.
6. How would you describe the tone of this piece? Use evidence to support your claim.
7. What do you think inspired director Aiden Gibbons to make this film?

Source: Film-English by Kieran Donaghy

Writing Connection

In your notebook write a story of the film from the perspective of one of the people in the story: the old man, the young woman or the young boy. Keep in mind what your attitude is towards your subject. Capture that through the use of word choice and adjectives. 

You short story should follow the same plot line as the film but only from a different viewpoint. Be sure to include dialogue.