Issue 65: A Useful Canon

I’ve come across this simple little canon in several places. According to the excellent AC Black book, “Banana Splits”, it is “anonymous”. They use the “Autumn Leaves” words, but I have also sung it to the letters of the alphabet. You need to adjust the rhythm slightly to make the letters fit the melody;

A B C D /  E F G    / H I J K / LMNOP   / Q R S    / T U V    / W  X Y  / Z

I leave it to you whether you sing “Zed” or “Zee” at the end.

Like another little song that I used in my lessons last Winter, “Rain on the Green Grass”, this song lends itself to a bit of creativity in that it is easy to compose new words.

“Christmas time is / coming, / lights are shining / bright.

Don’t overuse your / credit card or / you will get a / fright!”

Okay, perhaps those words are little “too adult” for a primary school class, but I’m sure that your children will be able to come up with something more suitable and topical.

It is also very easy to accompany the song on chime bars or keyboards; start at a high C, and move down steadily, note by note, to the next C. Add a few strategic triangles, a cymbal with a soft beater and now you have an effective little performance.

To go a step further, divide the melody players into two groups, and set the second group off when the first group have reached “O-range, red and brown”. This is a musical device called a canon.

I can see that I am now going to have to research the difference between singing a round, and singing a canon. That’s something for another day!

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