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Canons and Rounds: Best Canons and Rounds

Below is a compilation from my request for canons/rounds:

there is an anonymous MUSICA VIVAT that I've never seen published.  its a
good one but I'm not very helpful with it am I!

You need to get a copy of "Classical Canons" imported from Hungary by Boosey
& Hawkes for use in Kodaly training.

Lots of very beautiful ones -- no words (solfege assumed) -- but perhaps you
could add your own words (or the students could add words!!!) appropriate to
the occasion.

All three songbooks by Libana have rounds, most of which are geared towards
treble voices but which might also work for mixed voices.  They come from a
wide variety of cultures, which has added appeal.  Not all of the songs are
rounds and not all are a cappella, but I'm sure you'll find some appealing
numbers.  You can hear some of the songs on our web site (all of the songs
are available on companion CDs).

Night Passage:

Fire Within:

A Circle Is Cast

good luck!

if you like to laugh a lot, try The Art pf Ground Round (PDQ Bach)....

Have you seen Patrick Liebergen's editions which are 2 volumes of canons? I
just purchased both at a workshop this summer. The nice thing is that there
are two sets of texts per canon--one to use for school and one for church.
He even includes two indexes. I'm sorry I don't have them in front of me or
I'd provide you with more information.

I just received a great one at a conference a few weeks ago:  Vanitas,
Vanitatum by Sweelinck (part of the Doreen Rao choral series published by
Boosey & Hawkes).  I haven't used it with students yet, but I plan to this

Another one that works great is a Praetorius "Jubilate Deo."  My students
sang it as a processional at an honor choir performance from a manuscript,
so I don't know if it's published or not.  I think I still have it, and I'd
be happy to send it to you if you'd like.

Before the Bread (treble choir, moderately easy) - E. Alexander -
Seafarer Press
Complimentary perusal copies available by request

Elizabeth Alexander / SEAFARER PRESS MUSIC
  206 North Titus Avenue  Ithaca, NY 14850
      (607) 273-6489 / (800) 278-2087
            FAX: (607) 273-4236

You might visit
and search for "Canons" by title. It should take you to a
set of 70 or so canons of various kinds from 1-8 parts. They
are all in the public domain and can be downloaded and
copied for free. There may be others there as well; I
haven't searched there for a while.

Some ideas for you:

Old Abram Brown (Benjamin Britten)
Alleluia (William Boyce)
Dona Nobis Pacem (Traditional)
Friendship Song...a Czech Canon ....Boosey & Hawkes
Jubilate Deo (Praetorius)  B&H
Music Alone Shall Live
Musica Dei Donum Optimi (di Lasso)
Now I Walk in Beauty
Sing Dem Herrn (Praetorius)
Vanitas, Vanitatum (P.P.Sweelinck)
Viva La Musica!  (traditional)
Tallis Canon

And then there are all the more traditional/easier rounds,
which probably won't suit your purposes for processionals
but will get the kids singing right away and listening to
each other....and holding their parts:

A Ram Sam Sam
Are You Sleeping
Canoe Song
Christmas Is Coming
Come, Follow Follow Me
Flood of Babylon
For Health & Strength
Frere Jacques
Ghost of John
God Bless All
Goodnight to you all
Greeting Song
Hava, Nagila
Hey, Ho(a)  Nobody's Home
Make New Friends
Metronome, The
My Dame (Has a Crane)
My Goose
O, How LovelyIs the Evening
Oh Hear the Ringing Carillon
Old Texas
Orchestra, The
Scotland's Burning
Sing, Sing Together
Sing This Grave & Simple Strain
Sweetly Sings the Donkey
Three Blind Mice
When Jesus Wept
White Choral Bells

     Here are some songs you may want to use for a processional or as
canons/rounds. I teach 2 middle school choirs and a select choir.  Then I
started at the school I'm teaching at now they had never sung harmony.  The
choruses have gotten much better now.  These may be too easy for your high
school kids.

Hasivenu- Arr. Rao-Boosey
Al Shlosha D'Varim- Naplan- Boosey (Technically a partner song but it's
beautiful and easy)
Good Cheer- Arr. Snyder- Hal Leonard (medieval English song that I've used
as a processional)

     If I think of any more I'll send them along! Good luck.
When I was student teaching I used "Jubilate Deo" as a warm-up ender, and the
girls I worked with seemed to really like it. It's by Praetorius, but I don't
know where to get a print copy of it. I found it on the internet at
This version is a little different from the one I know - it has the 15th and
notes as the g below middle c, whereas I've always heard it and seen it and
it going up to the fifth and not down at the end.

Hope that helps!

We would like to send you a sample copy of "One-erum, two-erum", 12 canons by
Jeffrey Bishop based on traditional verse from Sussex, England. If you'd like
to have a copy, please just send us your postal address, adding "One-erum" to
the message, and it will be done.

Brichtmark Music, Inc./SBrailove

Here are my favorites:
Dona Nobis Pacem
Jubilate Deo  Praetorious arr. Rao Boosey & Hawkes
Die Musici  (All things shall perish...)
Welcome, Welcome Every Guest (Sacred Harp?)
Hashivenu arr. Rao Boosey & Hawkes
Haida arr. Leck Plymouth Music
Alleluia Boyce

Well, you've got to have the Tallis canon!

Rounds for Beginning Chorus (don't let the title
dissuade you)

compiled by Leland Forsblad
Pub. Belwin-Mills #Pro CH. 2585

I just picked up a wonderful resource while in Hungary this summer at the
Kodaly Institute. It is Klasszikus Kanonok, edited by Molnar Antal. It is
published by Editio Musica Budapest and cost me about $3! It contains 230
canons from 15th-19th centuries. The only problem is that there is no text.
Of course, the Hungarians solfege everything, and they just use this
resource for sight-singing. But it is a great collection!

You may want to get a copy of:

(Classical Canons)
Without Texts
edition by
fax 361-138-2732

I bought my copy at the Westminster Choir College bookstore (609-921-7100)
last year - it was used for a class, and I have used many of the canons in
class this past year.

Good luck!!

Cindy Borik
Portage Central High School
Portage, MI
616-323-5290 (fax)

on September 11, 2003 10:00pm
This is not a true canon, but it's highly imitative and works well with small church choirs and smaller sanctuaries. Called "Communal Canon", men echo the women and then the ST echoes the AB. Has hand drum part and is effective as communion piece or as a processional. To get a gist of the piece, go to and click on the 'repertoire' list. If you'd like a score, e-mail
on September 14, 2006 10:00pm
I'd like to mention Jean Mouton (+1522)'s "Nesciens mater...", a 8 voices piece made of four canons at the fifth !! And, what's more: beautiful :-)
on January 9, 2008 10:00pm
Thanks for all the incredible feedback -- I settled on the Kodaly and von Bingen as part canon. I am searching for (church) settings of canon, rounds or catches for a three-part women's a capella choir. In Sweden! So searching mostly for Latin or other text settings that can allow singers to focus on the music to start with.
Gilles Kennedy