Heigh Ho, Nobody Home (also known as Hey Ho, Nobody's Home) is easy, vigorous, and beautiful -- a good introduction to harmony by way of singing rounds for beginning singers. Here is free vocal sheet music and guitar tabs for the round in several keys.
This is usually the first vocal round I give beginning voice students. It has an engaging minor tune, and a natural rhythm that suits the words and makes it easy to memorize.
Download Singing Round in Gm
This piece is also usually my beginning voice students' first introduction to struggling for breath. I make them breathe it like this:
"Heigh, ho, nobody home" (breath)
"Meat, nor drink, nor money have I none" (BIG BREATH)
"Yet, I will be merry, very merry, Heigh, ho" (ANOTHER BIG BREATH)
"nobody home..." (breath)
The reason for such a long third phrase is because of the fast notes at the end of the sentence "very merry". I don't want any gasps, or late entrances on the return to the beginning with "Heigh, ho."
In this simple little singing round there is also an introduction to good articulation. I ask my students to OVER-emphasize the final consonants of "meat" and "drink," separating out the words a bit, but without taking a breath. Doing this gives a little "punch" to the rhythm, as well.
I pronounce "heigh" like the word "hi." Personal preference, probably because that's how I learned it as a child. Some people say "hay, ho." That's fine. And I have seen the round spelled other ways: "Hi, ho," and "Hey, ho." But I make sure my singers understand that "hi" is a dipthong - and that they are REALLY singing "Hah-(ee)"!
The tune is almost identical to "Rose, Rose, Rose, Rose, when will I see thee wed."
Now here is the guitar tab version for Heigh Ho, in 3 keys:
Download Hey Ho for guitar in Am
Download Hey Ho for guitar in Dm
Download Hey Ho for guitar in Em
This is a fun song for guitar because it uses only two chords, back and forth and back and forth, like a practice routine, but with a great melody and rhythm.
Here is a goofy video made by a beginning clarinet player & a friend playing Heigh Ho, Nobody Home. At 33 seconds, it's worth a quick look!
Do you have a funny story about this music, or does it remind you of something you'd like to share with other readers? Do you have a question? I'd love to hear it!
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