Singing Rounds is Fun -- Learn Israeli Round, Hinneh Mah Tov

Singing rounds is a great way for your students to get practice harmonizing, and also to get accustomed to foreign languages.  This song, Hinneh mah tov, lets them do both. 

This free vocal sheet music, Hinneh Mah Tov, is a vigorous Israeli piece sung in Hebrew. (There is disagreement about the source of this song. Note: this is not the version sung in the movie "Raid on Entebbe.") 

Israeli singing round Hinneh mah tov

Singing round Hinneh Mah Tov 

Like many rounds, Hinneh Mah Tov has a comfortable range of only an octave. The melodic line contrasts rapid percussive repeated notes in Part 1 with a soaring, legato curve of melody in Part 2. There is also a quick moment of tritone harmony, emphasizing the Hebrew flavor of this singing round. Very fun.

I have been told that the meaning of the words translates something like, "How pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity," which paraphrases Psalm 133 from the Old Testament of the Bible.

If you would like to try chords in the background, Cm, Fm, and G7 work well, like this:

chords for singing round Hinneh mah tov

Here is a video of a fellow playing Hinneh Mah Tov very slowly, on what appears to be a lyre: 

And here is a group starting a medley with this version of Hinneh Mah Tov, then moving into the more well-known melody: 

I said this song is vigorous. Well, the way we sang it at church, and the way I have my students sing it, is fast-paced indeed! However, the only 2 performances of it I have come across on Youtube seem more in the nature of DIRGES. You decide.

Thanks to Professor David Smith of Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, for introducing this lovely song to our church during a visit to Alaska. 

Round-singing is useful training for your vocal students; I like to do them along with vocal warmups, at the beginning of class. 


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!

Please note that all comments are moderated, and will not appear until I have approved them. Also, IF YOU ARE ASKING FOR MUSIC THAT IS NOT IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN, YOUR REQUEST WILL BE IGNORED. That's pretty much any music written in the last 75 years...

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