Round Music from England
The Hart He Loves the High Wood

I'll bet you've never heard this music round from England before!  The words are lovely, and there is a bit of a message, too...  which is that a woman wants her own way!

Round music from England

Scroll on down the page to find the free downloadable PDF links.

"The hart, he loves the high wood; the hare, he loves the hill.  The knight, he loves his bright sword; the lady loves her will!"

Isn't the alliteration in this poem lovely?  Hart, He ...  High.  Hare, He... Hill.  

Then we have "knight" and "bright," and "Lady... Loves... wilL."

Let's make sure everyone understands this old-fashioned terminology.  If you aren't familiar with the English from around the time of Shakespeare or the making of the King James Bible, you may have some trouble!

A hart is a deer.  A hare is a large rabbit!

Here is the song in the key of A:

The Hart He Loves the High Wood

There are echoes in these lyrics of the story of Sir Gawain and the Loathly Lady!

In this old story (which reappears in many forms),King Arthur owes a favor to an "old hag" who assists him when he is in mortal danger.  


In return, she asks that one of his knights will wed her.  Sir Gawain bravely agrees to have her for wife, and she then tells him she is not as hideous as she appears, and that now he has another choice to make:

Does he wish for her to be UGLY but faithful, or BEAUTIFUL but false?  

He does not know what to answer, so finally tells her that she must choose what SHE desires.

That is, of course the right answer, which frees her from a curse!  She is transformed into her true self, a beautiful AND virtuous woman!


In the key of Eb:

A pretty round for singing, The Hart He Loves the High Wood

I do not think you will find an online video of a choir singing this pretty song... at least, I couldn't.  If you have better luck, let me know!

In the key of F:

Singing round in the key of F

Because this round begins each line on a "pick up" note (close to the end of a measure instead of beat 1, at the beginning), the parts are numbered with large numbers OVER the lines, instead of before each line of music.

One excellent approach to learning rounds when you don't have the weight of a large choir for backup for timid singers:

Teach them just line 1, to start with.  Have them sing it over and over again, as YOU navigate through the entire round.  

Even singing just that tiny portion may be very tricky for young singers, when they are all alone on a part!

And the round in the key of G:

The hart, he loves the high wood, the hare, he loves the hill.

I like to help them out by pounding out their part rather loudly, while I sing the rest with no assistance from the piano.  (Sometimes I fail - it's not always the easiest thing to PLAY their part while singing my own!)


Here are the round music free downloadable PDF links:

Download The Hart He Loves the High Wood in the key of A


Download English round in the key of D


Download "The Hart" in Eb


Hart He Loves the Highwood in F


Download round music from England in G


What about those chord symbols?  Just in case a guitarist or other instrumentalist wants to play along.  

I have found that when students first start learning a new round, softly playing the harmony in the background - the chords - helps them maintain their pitch a bit better.

I first encountered this fun round in the book "150 Rounds for Singing and Teaching."  I do not KNOW that it originates from the English Renaissance, but the archaic language and subject matter causes me to suspect so...




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