I’ve always loved to sing in groups. It’s fantastic for those of us who are self conscious because it gives us a level of anonymity. This brings me to one of the simplest ways to get a group to sound good very quickly — teach songs that can be sung in rounds. When I was younger, we learned a lot of these at my camp — funny rounds, haunting rounds — and you could hear counselors and kids singing around the campfire, on the trail, on the river, pretty much anywhere. But, the days of camp ended, and my round-singing became a memory.
Babies also give us permission to sing. So, when my friend and I had our babies, we often sang as we walked. It was a perfect time to pull those rounds out of our memories and play while we walked. The babies were very patient with us. Those boys are now eighteen, and our rounds are a little rusty. I miss the fun of knowing something like “Dona Nobis Pacem” really well, singing it beautifully, and then two minutes later completely flubbing and having to sit down because I’m laughing so hard. My other favorite when the boys were little was “Don’t Throw Your Trash in My Back Yard,” which was silly, quick and particularly difficult to get right twice in a row.
Of course, COVID has made it impossible to get together with a group to sing rounds. However, if you have two people who are musically inclined in your primary family group, you can easily put together a few rounds for fun!
I’m interested in a virtual group collaboration using the app Soundtrap. I’ve posted some examples of my own round singing below (it’s just me all by my lonesome using Soundtrap — please be kind). Let me know if you’d like to join me what round(s) you like to sing (firstname.lastname@example.org). For information on how to use Soundtrap, see my post in next week’s Clef Notes.
Here’s a quick list of rounds that I know. I hope this list will inspire your own!
- “Dona Nobis Pacem”
- “Rose, Rose” | “Hey, Ho Nobody Home”
- “Call John the Boatman”
- “Ah Poor Bird”
- “Don’t Throw Your Trash In My Back Yard”
- “My Dame Has a Lame Tame Crane”
- “Frere Jacques”