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.

Tritones (augmented 4th or diminished 5th intervals) are inherently difficult to sing in tune, so I always chat with my voice students a bit about this, and I enjoy telling them the story (probably NOT TRUE) that 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:

chords for singing round Hinneh mah tov


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. 

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. 




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Deb:
... 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!

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MusicGardenStudios:
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