English song lyrics from a gentler era... "Beauty's But an Idle Boast" is a little-known singing round that is very beautiful.
In the key of Am (shown), this round has a comfortable range... from Middle C to high C, fine for children and also women who haven't done much singing for years!
However, the melody is more complex than beginner rounds such as Ah Poor Bird and Heigh Ho:
Please scroll down the page for the download links.
Because this is a complicated melody, I've also made this song available with Alphanotes.
These are made-easy notes that make it possible for singers who are just learning musical notes to gain accuracy with this melody.
I have a singer with a lot of ability, but not the skill to EASILY read a tune with multiple skips and a few accidentals and ledger line notes, and this easy-reader note version helped her to learn this song quickly (since I could not find a video online).
Please scroll down the page for the download links.
I neglected to put "1", "2", and "3" where the new voices are to begin, but I'm sure you'll figure that out! Each line of the music is one section, then at the next line, a new voice enters back at the beginning of the song...
Try the chords on piano or guitar as the group sings.
With this particular singing round, I have found that it is easier to keep the singers on their notes by using the chords than by banging out the melody.
Don't let your voice students drop the breath in the middle of the lines - look at the phrase markings in the first arrangement above (not the lettered notes version).
If they stop to take a breath after "but", and "to-day" in lines 1, 2, and 3, all the energy drops out of the line, and the harmony as well! Demonstrate this for your beginners - they will get it.
Make them carry the sound through to the end of each line.
They can do all the breathing exercises for singing you want at the beginning of their lessons, but if they don't learn to apply it to real music, you are failing in your job. Make them HEAR themselves.
The round lyrics of this very beautiful piece are quite old-fashioned - I would have guessed they are from Elizabethan England.
However, they are of more recent vintage; a 240+ page book called Moral Emblems: With Aphorisms, Adages, And Proverbs, Of All Ages And Nations (1860) is the source of the song lyrics.
This book is only available as facsimile versions or a Kindle version on Amazon (or $499 or so for an old hardback!), or free at Google Books, if you can figure out how to download their ebooks.
I found the illustrations and moral sayings irresistible in an old-fashioned charming way. Here is a taste of the warnings from these gentlemen of a bygone era:
"Time! it is, whose stealthy wing
Throws on all alike its shade,--
Fades the bloom of ev'ry thing,
Howsoever fair 'twas made!
Time! though it so softly treads,
Silent ruin round us spreads;
And as Age has done by me,
If you live, you'll surely see --
Beauty's but an idle boast,
Your's to-day; to-morrow lost!
"But, there is a Beauty yet,
Far more lasting in the wear;
That which Virtue doth beget,
Fadeless - bright - beyond compare:
Make that Beauty your's, fair maid;
Time o'er that can cast no shade;
And when wrinkled that fair brow,
'T will be fairer far than now, -
With a Beauty that shall gain
Lasting Love in God's domain."
The links for the round:
Download English Song Lyrics - singing round Beauty's But an Idle Boast
Download free vocal music from England with letters in the notes
A pretty round with a reach of an octave, slow-moving notes, and easy intervals. The scale-wise movement makes this song easy for a beginner.
With lyrics from an older time, this is more difficult than many rounds, but compensatingly more beautiful, with more complex harmonies as well!
New lyrics for an old round by Haydn - well-suited to a mix of voices, a satisfying round
Christmas is Coming, the Goose is Getting Fat
Lots of big interval jumps, even octaves, make this round fun and tricky.
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Difficult! Quite difficult for beginners, this beautiful round works best with a bigger group of singers, or even instrumentalists, unless your singers are experienced with harmony
For Health & Strength & Daily Bread
Pretty, and fairly easy, as it moves primarily in descending steps, this is a wonderful Thanksgiving song!
Haida is vigorous and fun - there are two spots that invite a clap, adding to the rhythmic feeling of this song. Along with "Coffee," this is a favorite, frequently requested!
The Hart, He Loves the High Hill
This brisk but pretty round from England compares a deer to a rabbit, and a man to a woman!
Have You Seen the Ghost of John
An unbelievably pretty round, with lyrics that DO NOT do it justice! One of my students' perennial favorites.
The first round I use with beginning singers. Very singable!
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A pretty song with lovely lyrics
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Viva la musica
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A street-seller's cry from England.
All the first-year material I give my beginner students.
Piano keyboard sheets, scales, chords, note-reading exercises, and over 256 pages of music!
This beautiful song book for piano & voice "Esther, For Such a Time as This", available as a digital download, tells the riveting story of the time when Jews in ancient Persia faced a foe named Haman, and how a brave young queen risked her life to save her people.
A good choice for a singing story-teller, an operatic group, a short theater production, or a class of children!
This book is also available from Amazon as a paperback.
This book is available as a digital download from this site. Visit this page to see some free examples from the book.
It is also available from Amazon as a paperback!
This is the perfect easy start for little pianists.
And when they start reading white-key notes on the staff, this is a fun easy resource to say each week, "Choose a new black-key song at home this week and figure it out to show me next lesson!" They will be spending more time at the piano.
A perfect read aloud storybook
for little boys or girls.
The Adventures of Tonsta highlight the travels of a very young boy with a good heart, who goes about helping folk in trouble.
With a red cap on his head and a sack of tools slung over his shoulder, Tonsta seems to meet people in distress wherever he goes.
Lots of trolls in this book - including one who gives him a Christmas gift!
Hi, I'm Dana! (Say that like "Anna".) I'm the owner of Music-for-Music-Teachers.com, and a newer site, SingTheBibleStory.com.
Like some of you, I've been playing the piano since early childhood, and have added a few other instruments along the way, plus an interest in arranging and composing music.
You can find out more about me and the reason for this website at my About Me page.