Green Bushes is a vibrant and beautiful folk song from England...your voice students will enjoy this free vocal sheet music!
This little song is very English sounding. You'll hear snatches of it from time to time in movies set in England, such as Jane Austen's Emma (A&E, 1997)with Kate Beckinsale as Emma, not the better-known version with Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma .
Download English folk song Green Bushes in key of E
Download printable English folk music in key of D
Like so many cute British songs, this one starts with "As I was a-walking one morning..."
A good song for beginners
I like to use this folk song with beginners, because the vocal range stays comfortably low, yet there is one high note and two phrases that arch nicely, with opportunity for expressive phrasing.
And the challenges in this little song are...
Breathing. And a "twisty, turny melody" as I like to tell my singers.
Green Bushes presents breathing challenges for the beginning singer. The lines move along so quickly, with so little time to snatch a breath, that the singer must plan carefully and pay attention!
Where should the breaths be?
Ideally, the singer's first breath inside the song would be after "nightingales sing." But in actual practice, the rising notes at the end of that phrase are hard to execute with ENERGY for a beginning singer when his or her air supply is almost exhausted. The problem compounds with the LONG phrase which comes immediately afterwards: "I spied...so sweetly sang she." That phrase should NOT be broken up, or the song will sound choppy!
Therefore, I believe the singer should take a quick breath in the very first line between the words "spring" and "for to". Though it is an extremely quick breath and will sound like a gasp unless carefully executed, it will result in less of a "winded" feeling at the end of each verse (an out-of-breath feeling which accumulates and makes the song tiring for the singer). Besides, quick, silent breathing is excellent training for young singers! Make them do it -- it will probably take LOTS of repetition to perfect it and keep them timely on the beat.
What kind of accompaniment works with this song?
For a different texture each verse, let the simple LH (left hand) accompaniment drop down an octave, then come back up on the next verse. I suggest making the chords light and quick, especially down low, so the piano doesn't overwhelm your singer.
You may prefer your own accompaniment pattern, so I have provided two free lead sheets (top image) so that you can write your own LH part in (or make your piano students get some practice!).
If you have questions about the key signatures, read the following exchange:
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