Silly & Sweet
Thank to all who helped me out; lots of good ideas!
Here's the compilation for those who asked.
SOCRATES, PLATO AND SINATRA by Wayland Rogers. SATB and piano (double bass,
opt.) 4 part Canon.
Pub. Alliance Music Publications
On the Sweet side, look at "Oh My Luve's Like a Red, Red Rose"
On the Silly side of things, look at "Insalata Italiana" by F. F. R. Genee.
It is written like a concert opera but the lyrics are all musical terms in
Italian. A real hoot for the choir and audience. Also, at Sibeliusmusic.com
their is a piece called "Choral Menagerie" by an Austrailian composer that
lampoons all the sections based on the old stereotypes.
I did a set of similar material with my community chorus abour 2 years ago
and had success with the following selections that might fit your needs.
1) It Was a Lover and His Lass - by John Rutter. Kind of a swing style.
2) Love Lost - by Paul Sjolund. This is a set of four very short tongue in
cheek love songs that are an absolute delight.
3) My Bonnie Lass She Smelleth - by PDQ Bach. We had a small group do this
piece and it brought the house down.
Some silly ideas:
Happiness Steve Murray
Telemarketing Blues Paul Rardin This is a nice set. Happiness, by a local
composer, is for men. The text is simple and silly - John had great big
waterproof boots on...I forget the rest. As it's unpublished, Steve would
let you have it cheap, I'm sure, and I can send you a copy and a CD if you
wish. Telemarketing is about getting a phone call during dinner, it's for
women, so the set gets all singers in, and it's bluesy.
I did some of Art of the Ground Round with:
Lullabies and Nightsongs
The Elephant Present
These are Alec Wilder poems. Comes in a set of five (actually there are two
sets - this is set one), arr Don Lang, Boosey, I think. The two I chose are
30 second each, fun and quite charming, and there are 3 others in the set.
Pal Pa Haugen/Paul and His Chickens folky, about chickens arr. Ellingboe
They All Laugh Alan Hovhaness - from a set of three pieces. This is one
minute, easy, fun.
Laughing Song Earl George from SOngs of Innocence. Lots of laughing!
Love Lost Paul Sjolund A GREAT set. Very funny texts, nice music. Highly
recommended for this. Walton?
Drunken Sailor arr. Sund - good, solid, fun arrangement
Banks of the Ohio arr. Gwyneth Walker - a riot! Audience loved it. It has
some shtick with it, which my singers much hesitated to do, but there' s
not much, and they finally got into it and it was great. At one point, for
instance, the women don bathing caps.
Oliver Cromwell arr. Locke
This is from a program we did a couple of years ago: in the Silly category!
LearSongs (Women's Voices) William Mathias
The Owl and the Pussycat
The Duck and the Kangaroo
The Pelican Chorus
The Lobster Quadrille Irving Fine
I Bought Me a Cat Aaron Copland
Old Horatius Had a Farm Z. Randall Stroope
Who's afraid of the big, bad wolf? Norman Luboff
-Let Me Call You Sweetheart
-Aiken Drum (The King's Singers do a marvelous version of this on their
Annie Laurie: Folksongs of the British Isles cd)
-The Hippopotamus Song (Swann and Flanders, composers--or almost any song
by this duo)
-various Gilbert and Sullivan titles: With Cat-Like Tread, Tit Willow, I Am
the Very Model of a Modern Major General, etc.
-The Marvelous Toy
I have a silly/ sweet Spiritual I wrote "When I Get to Heaven." I can send
you a pdf file if you like.
I have quite a few funny ones (I think): check out Crimond arrangement (The
Lord's my shepherd) Poor Fish (solo song, but ATTB version in preparation,
for the UK group Cantabile)
some of 4A Wreck
Donna Rhodenizer has written a song entitled "Singing in the Choir". It is
a comical look at singing the parts of an SATB choir.
The Tenors get the lead in this one and the others have to fill in. Any
SATB choir, professional or otherwise can have some fun with this piece.
There is also an optional part for the Director.
We could send you a complimentary perusal copy if you like. Just forward
your snail mail address and we can send it off to you.
The lyrics can be seen at this link
I recently heard a performance of "Younger Generation" by Aaron Copland.
It's sweet/cute and clever, I thought. Maybe not what you had in mind by
"sweet" but it's a nice piece.
Toch's Geographical Fugue and Valse
Eschilman Wm Tell Overture
Gould's So You Want to Write a Fugue
Genee's Insalata Italiana
Copland's I bought me a cat
For something "sweet," you may be interested in my SATB (a cappella)
setting of The Tree by 19th Century American transcendental poet Jones
Very. The Tree was composed at the 2003 Oxford Summer Institutes at Lehigh,
where I worked with Bob Chilcott and where the piece received a reading by
the Princeton Singers under the direction of Steven Sametz. It was
premiered by the American University Chamber Singers on April 2, 2004, and
you may hear their performance on my website (www.gregbartholomew.com). In
October 2004 the American University Chamber Singers performed the piece on
tour in Washington, DC, Toronto, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg &
environs. It was performed in Chicago and Evanston, Illinois, by the
professional ensemble Coriolis in May 2005.
The complete text is below and a pdf file of the score is attached.
Information about my other choral works is available on my website, where
you may listen to performances of many of the works. Two others that might
qualify as "sweet" are:
A Country Boy in Winter, for unaccompanied TTBB men¹s chorus, 2001
A setting of the poem by American poet Sarah Orne Jewett (1849 - 1909)
first published in 1882. Premiered at the 2004 National Conference of the
Society of Composers by the University of Central Oklahoma Men¹s Chorus on
March 5, 2004, in Edmond, Oklahoma.
A Rainy Day, for unaccompanied SSAA women¹s chorus, 2001 (Duration: 4:15)
A setting of the poem by American poet John Brainard (1796 - 1828) first
published in 1825. Premiered by the Arkansas State University Women¹s
Chorus on January 30, 2004 at Riceland Hall, the Fowler Center, Jonesboro,
I would be pleased to send a hardcopy of a score and/or a CD by regular
mail, if you are interested.
O Danny Boy
The Water is Wide
I have a set of pieces that are each a bit silly or sweet or both! The set
is called "Play with Your Food!" for SATB a cappella- medium difficulty.
Premiered recently by the South Bend Chamber Singers.
The 5 movements are:
I. Summer's Bounty (poem by May Swenson- all turned around food words like
"berries of straw", "puppies of hush", "rooms of mush", etc)
II. Mashed Potato /Love Song- this is a real crowd pleaser- a very sly
witty poem about choosing between a third helping of buttery mashed
potatoes or a lover
III. Vending Machine- a Dad and his son pushing the vending machine buttons
and sharing some peanut butter crackers
IV. After the Muffin- a very romantic couple shares a blueberry muffin
(...and more?)- poem by Robert Brimm (this one is very sweet)
V. Fred- about a pet goldfish swimming in Malt-O-Meal
You could also excerpt songs out of this group
To be published soon, but currently you can see partial scores on my
website at: www.paulcarey.net
Your request arrived just as I was finishing a piece, Rabbit Skunk. It is
an arrangement of a piece I originally wrote for women's chorus.
duration ca. 3 minutes. Moderately difficult. Very silly. Here is the
poem, written by a fifth grader. If you care to see the music,
let me know, and I will send you a pdf version, or mail a hard copy.
Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit come out of your hole
Skipity scopity skipity scop skipity scopity
hop hop hop come out come out
little rabbit come out Come Out.
Please I will grant you a wish for a fish
a million bugs for a great big hug.
Okay, I'll come out. SPRAY
ehew, gross, a skunk
oh man, now I have to soak in
Last year I did a concert with my choir entitled "Classics Unzipped". Below
is a list of the fun and/or silly pieces from that program, with a little
bit of info about each of them. My choir is an adult, non-auditioned
community choir with ages from 18 to 80.
Anon/Trad "Gaudeamus igitur" CHOIR, ORGAN 5 minutes
(special Latin & English verses for the occasion)
(including organ improvisations) - we wrote our own verses for this one -
you could do the same with a well-known song that suits your group.
Ernst Toch "Geographical Fugue" SATB, DIFFICULT 1-2 min
- This piece isn't exactly silly, but it's fun - it's a spoken fugue using
place names from around the world.
David Ellyard "Round on a well-known text" 3-PART ROUND 1-3 min
(depending on how many times you sing it...).
- this is a setting of Pythagoras' theorem. We did it with 6 tenors (2 per
part) singing the song whilst a 7th man in full academic dress used coloured
squares and tirangles to prove the theorem on a magnetic whiteboard. Again,
not really silly, but fun and amusing. This piece is not published, but I
could contact the composer for you if you are interested in performing it.
Paul Sjolund "Love Lost" MODERATE DIFFICULTY, A CAPELLA, 5 min
- 4 songs, settings of poems about love gone wrong.
Robert Morley My Bonny Lass She Smileth 2 min
- not silly at all, rather sweet, and a companion to the next piece...
PDQ Bach "My Bonny Lass She Smelleth" MODERATE DIFFICULTY 2 min
- totally silly. Includes an "off-the-rails" cadenza for bass or baritone.
Leroy Anderson, Arranged Jon Washburn "The Typewriter"
SATB CHOIR, ORGAN or PIANO, 2 PERCUSSIONISTS (to play the typewriter)
- The arranger is Canadian and a member of Choralist, and I can put you in
touch with him if you are interested. You need 2 good percussionists,
because the typewriter part is very fast and needs to be precise. Good fun.
Greg Schiemer "Bubbles" AUDIENCE PIECE 3-5 min
- this is an audience participation work involving bubble-wrap (is that what
you call it in the U.S.?). Again, I can give you the (Australian) composer's
contact details if you are interested. No singing is involved.
PDQ Bach "The Seasonings" SATB CHOIR, ORGAN, BRASS, PERCUSSION, CELLO,
SATB SOLOS, 20 min.
- orchestra involves silly instruments, such as foghorn, kazoo, slide
whistle, tromboon (trombone with bassoon mouthpiece), etc. See PDQ BAch
website, or his publisher Theodore Presser, for more information.
Daniel Gawthrop "Gaelic Blessing" SATB CHOIR, A CAPELLA 1 min.
- This is a parody of all those feel-good mushy Gaelic and Irsih blessing
pieces that people like John Rutter and others have written. In fact
Gawthrop himself I believe has written some "serious" mushy ones himself! We
sang this one as our encore.
Regarding your posting on Choralist: I am a composer of choral music; there
are several numbers in my catalog that might interest you. I have two
pieces featuring the poetry of Edward Lear, and lyrics don't come much
sillier than this. (I think they are also sweet, but I may be prejudiced.)
The first is a choral cycle entitled The Universe Explained, and features
three movements: Walruses In Congress; Susan Pares, Or Not; and Lemons In
Your Head. The second is a longish setting of Lear's The Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
I also have a choral cycle of three poems by Hillaire Belloc, entitled
Things Visible And Invisible. Finally I would cite a piece called Merry Old
Souls, with a lyric, by Morris Bishop, which features plenty of gags and
some outrageous rhymes. I invite you to check out my website,
http://www.choralharmony.com , where you will find complete texts and
sample pages of all of the above. If you think any of them might meet your
needs, I would be happy to forward complete PDFs along with permission to
make all necessary copies without charge. Hope to hear from you.
There is a nifty choral piece called "A LITTLE NONSENSE NOW AND THEN" and
for the moment the composer escapes me. Good for Choirs at the HS and Coll.
Once again, I send my thanks! I got several great ideas!
Have a fine weekend,