Have You Seen the Ghost of John,
a Round for Singers

Have You Seen the Ghost of John? 

Despite its strange lyrics, this is perhaps the most beautiful short singing round in the world. Your voice students will love this free vocal sheet music!  

I've added an additional sheet, with lettered notes, to assist singers whose voices are better than their note-reading... Also, I added a version in the key of Em, for easy playing by beginning fiddlers and violinists.

Vocal round Have You Seen the Ghost of John

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

The main technical difficulty in singing this song is the end of line 2, with the quick-moving eighth notes and no chance to take a breath.

Although it turns it into a very long phrase, I encourage my singers to sing all of lines 2 & 3 in one breath. This way, the eighth notes at the end of line 2 sound smooth and flowing.

However, then it takes a lot of control to get up to the top notes in line 3!  But this trains singers to think and plan their breathing.  They may not be able to achieve this, but give it an initial TRY.

Below is the same song but in Em.  I wrote this for my violin players, because Em is such a lovely (& easy!) key for beginners, and rounds are a fun  way to begin with harmony:

Free sheet music Have You Seen the Ghost of John for voice, violin or fiddle, in E minor

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

Here is the easy-to-read version of this fun Halloween round:

Have You Seen the Ghost of John with lettered notes

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

The chord symbols in the D minor arrangements are only suggestions -- when you have just one singer rehearsing the song, it can be nice to have a bit of harmony in the background to help maintain pitch. I use very simple open chords -- just 2 notes.

One Christmas, I wanted a group of singers to sing this beautiful round for the recital, but I felt the words would seem frivolous in that particular setting.

I decided to substitute Latin words with which many people are already familiar, from Adeste Fideles (O Come, All Ye Faithful): "Venite adoremus, Dominum." (This means "Come let us adore the Lord.")

I'll admit this was a bit of a stretch.

The stresses on the Latin syllables don't work out the same in Ghost of John as they do in Adeste Fideles, and I had to shift a few notes around.

Instead of "ve-NI-te a-do-RE-mus," my version goes "VE-ni-TE a-DO-re-MUS." (I actually think that might be correct emphasis for classical Latin, but I don't KNOW.) I'm hoping Thomas Aquinas, medieval scholar, won't roll over in his grave!

But I'll join hands with Peter Needham, who translated "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" into Latin (and had to invent some new words in the process). It's fun to sing in other languages!

Have You Seen the Ghost of John could just be the loveliest vocal round in the world...if it isn't, I want to hear the singing rounds that beat it out!

The words are silly but fun; of course, it's a Halloween round. 


Do you need a beautiful but easy solo for a young beginning singer?  Check out a simple song used in Cinderella, "Lavender's Blue"!



The links for the vocal round:


Print out singing round Have You Seen the Ghost of John  


Have You Seen the Ghost of John in the key of Em


Download easy to read version of Have You Seen the Ghost of John with lettered music notes


More Halloween or Mysterious-sounding Music:

Beethoven's 5th Symphony theme - arresting, somewhat ominous, & recognizable by almost everyone, this great theme comes in three levels of difficulty!


De Boself - a charming arrangement of a classical piece from the Netherlands about a mischievous gnome-like creature


Funeral March by Frederic Chopin - somber and reflective, there are several levels of difficulty offered here


Halloween Song Set - a collection of 8 songs for young beginners, with "safe" lyrics (for the most part) that won't offend parents!


Halloween Songs for Late Elementary and Intermediate Piano- four original pieces with multiple settings, all with lyrics to sing or give your students the shivers!


Have You Seen the Ghost of John - a beautiful minor vocal round with unlikely lyrics about a skeleton!


Toccata in Dm theme, by J.S. Bach - this is the super-dramatic theme that we associate with an organ-playing villain! Three arrangements.


Zombies are Everywhere - this song about watching out for zombies is action-packed, with a singable melody!









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Just the Black Keys, a piano song book for young beginners.

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This book is available as a digital download  from this site, and also from Amazon as a paperback!

This is the perfect easy start for little pianists.

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Comments

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...

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Ghost of John Church Lyrics 
I taught this to my daughters so we could all sing it in a 4-pt. round. It's so beautiful but I didn't care for the words. I turned it into a worship song: …

Daily Warm-up 
We sing this in choir class to warm up our voices at Halloween time. We sometimes try to sing it in harmony with eight different voice parts. I really …

Different Lyrics for Ghost of John tune 
A prettier set of lyrics perhaps for those who are squeamish! Milk white snowdrops grow 'round here, Lovely bluebells and scarlet pimpernel. Wild …

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About the Author

Dana Thynes

Hi, I'm Dana!  (Say that like "Anna".)  I'm the owner of Music-for-Music-Teachers.com.

Like some of you, I've been playing the piano since early childhood, and 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.