Essex Farm Cemetery – Flanders

 J McCrae

Lt Col John McCrae


Purchase Lesson Plan #6

Analysis of the Music for In Flanders Fields Song

Although John McCrae was born in Guelph Ontario, his parents were Scottish immigrants and his father, Lieutenant Colonel David McCrae, had a long military history. flanders field song CD

In creating the music for the In Flanders Fields song, composer Anthony Hutchcroft arranged the piece with a Scottish feel, including bagpipes, flute and accordion in the instrumentation to reflect John McCrae’s Scottish heritage.

To reflect McCrae’s military experience, the Flanders Fields song is supported with the marching cadence of a military drumbeat.

Out of respect for the reverence afforded this poem over the past nine decades, the composer chose not alter a word of the text and endeavored to remain as true to the rhythm of the poem as possible. He also kept the melody and chord progression diatonic to make the Flanders Fields song more like an anthem.

In Flanders Fields Lesson Plan #6

An Analysis of the Compositional Elements Used to Create the Music for the Flanders Fields Song


“And now we lie in
Flanders Fields”

Grade Level - K – 12:

  • By learning the In Flanders Fields song, students will develop a unique way of memorizing the poem (K – 12)
  • Identify who first set the In Flanders Fields poem to music plus when and in what style (K-12)
  • Analyze, identify and understand music compositional elements such as rhythm, melody, diatonic harmony and the use of rhythmic variation and melodic variation (K-12)
  • Develop a deeper understanding of how music can convey the poem’s meaning (Grade 4 – 12)
  • Develop and build student music vocabulary (Grade 4 – 12)
  • Identify the musical instruments the composer utilizes in the arrangement for the In Flanders Fields song to create a Scottish and military sound (K – 12)

TIME: This lesson plan may take 2 – 3 (45 minute) classes or can be edited as required.
OBJECTIVES Students will be able to:

  • Develop a deeper understanding of the use of compositional elements in music
  • Demonstrate (by singing) that students have committed the In Flanders Fields poem to memory
  • Gain a sense of how the music can portray text, mood and feelings
  • Explore the processes used by composers to convey the meaning of text through music

Purchase Lesson Plan #6

Students will analyze the structure of the In Flanders Fields song, a music adaptation of John McCrae’s In Flanders Fields poem and through application, explore the composer’s use of rhythm, melody, harmony & instrumentation to express the poem’s text and message. This lesson will also help students to explore how the composer uses music to reflect John McCrae’s military and Scottish background. Start this lesson by playing the CD recording of IN FLANDERS FIELDS song and reviewing the text in Data Sheet #6.

Listen to the music CD of IN FLANDERS FIELDS song and review the information in Data Sheet #6. The musical analysis will discuss the use of rhythm and melody including variation and emphasis for both plus the use of diatonic harmony, instrumentation and musical arrangement.
What compositional elements are used to affect the poems mood and message? Why did the composer choose the instrumentation he did and how does the arrangement complement the poem’s message? Students should explore these and other questions.

  • IN FLANDERS FIELDS music CD, CD player (and/or the sheet music)
  • Data Sheet #1A – IN FLANDERS FIELDS Poem
  • Data Sheet #6  – Music Analysis of IN FLANDERS FIELDS Song
  • Data Sheet #5B – The Sheet Music for IN FLANDERS FIELDS Song
  • Black Line Master K - “Musical Terms Matching Exercise” (Grade 4 - 12)

To purchase the Flanders Fields Educational Kit – 6 Lesson Plans for Teachers
visit the Download Lesson Plans page


Download Lesson Plan #6!

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Please Email Flanders Fields Music for more information about:

Flanders Fields Song
Flanders Fields Video
Flanders Fields Sheet Music
Flanders Fields Educational Kit – 6 Lesson Plans for Teachers


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