Let’s Get Singing Rounds! (Day Twelve of Homemade Music)

2018 Holiday Sale on herbal courses!

Welcome to 31 Days of Homemade Music! This month we are exploring how and why everyone can benefit from music making. To see more posts in this series, click here.

Now that you have some motivation to get making music, let’s start with a very basic form of singing together: singing rounds.

What is a round, you may ask? It’s simply several people singing the same simple melody, but starting it at different times. You may remember singing “Row, row, row your boat” this way when you were a child.

(These young girls actually did a pretty nice job of singing this in 5 parts, and added a fancy little ending too! 🙂 )

The keys with getting a round right are:

  • Everyone singing in tune (no one wandering higher or lower than the rest of the group).
  • Everyone singing at the same tempo (no one going faster or slower than the rest of the group).
  • Everyone coming in at the right spot. Person 1 should start, then person 2 should come in singing the beginning when person 1 is at the second phrase of the song, then person 3 should come in when person 1 is at the 3rd phrase and person 2 is at the second phrase, and so on and so forth.

Here’s a visual guide if that verbal description wasn’t clear:

rowrowrowyourboatMake sense?

A round can be sung with as many or as little parts as you like. Try practicing the melody all together at first, then try practicing it in only two parts. Progressively add more parts as you get more comfortable with singing the round.

Any number of simple melodies can be turned into a round. Here’s the song “Kookabura” set as a round:

And here are photos of a few of my favorites:

The first two are from one of my favorite children’s songs collections: The Fireside Book of Children’s Songs.

rounds 002 rounds 004

The next two are from The Choral Warm-Up Collection, a really helpful teaching and learning tool for teachers and students alike.

rounds 005 rounds 006

Do you enjoy singing rounds? If this is your first time trying it, let me know how it went for you. 🙂

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