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.")
Please scroll down the page for the download links.
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.
Tritones (augmented 4th or diminished 5th intervals) are inherently difficult to sing in tune.
Therefore, I always chat with my voice students a bit about this, and I enjoy telling them this story (probably NOT TRUE)...
Being inherently difficult to keep in tune, it was thought in the Middle Ages that the tritone should be avoided in singing, even being called "diabolus in musica" (the devil in the music!).
I think that this is one of those stories concocted hundreds of years later... nevertheless, tritone intervals are interesting, and I hope that the anecdote helps my students remember this sound.
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:
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. Those two performances are now gone.
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 warm-ups, at the beginning of class.
The download link for Hinneh Mah Tov:
Singing round Hinneh Mah Tov
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... I watched your video "Wondrous Love" with your eight gals - Magnificent! So refreshing to see good harmonies sung a capella these days; it seems to be rare!
This is an absolutely wonderful site!
As a voice and piano teacher looking for enrichment material for beginners, I have found your collections to be comprehensive and purposeful. It is clear that you are a wonderful musician and educator. Thank you!
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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About the Author
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.