KS1 Music: Guy Fawkes and The Gunpowder Plot

Explore The Gunpowder Plot of 1605 with these songs for 5 - 7 year olds and other video content - which examine the events and conditions that led to The Gunpowder Plot, what happened when the plotters tried to execute their plans – and the consequences of their actions, right through to modern day bonfire night celebrations. The songs are an ideal way to consolidate pupils' work on these topics.

1. Shadows in the night
2. Hundreds of years ago
3. Remember, remember


Teacher's notes
The Gunpowder Plot on our History pages

KS1 Music - Guy Fawkes and The Gunpowder Plot

This set of three songs supports the popular cross-curriculum topic of The Gunpowder Plot, with music evoking the atmosphere of a distant time and place while also bringing in sound elements from contemporary music, referencing a range of popular styles.

The songs have been written to map broadly to the sequence of events outlined in the history videos - that is, an introductory song, a song about the events of the Plot, and a final song remembering the Plot. Thus the songs can be used to help pupils consolidate and sequence the important facts and outcomes of the Plot.

Each song can be heard in vocal versions and also in an instrumental backing track - with exactly the same timing - which you can use for practising as often as you like and for performing in your assemblies and shows for parents and the whole school. The backing tracks can be downloaded as mp3 files, for use offline.

The notes for each song contain:

  • suggestions for performing each song

  • ideas for combining the music with dance and drama

  • suggestions for use of classroom instruments

  • simple ideas for improvising and composing

  • a range of follow-up ideas for subjects right across the curriculum.

The songs

  • Shadows in the night. Focus: secrets and mysteries; light and shadows; louder and quieter; whispering sounds. Listen to how the backing track features the sounds of some 17th-century instruments of the time (eg recorder, cornett and lute) alongside the mysterious jazzy sounds of double bass and drumkit. The song moves to a slow rhythm, like an early processional dance of the period called a pavane.

  • Hundreds of years ago. Focus: Time passing; fire safety; musical scales; simple rhythm-patterns. Listen to how the backing track features instruments of the period - recorders, lute, crumhorn, harpsichord, harp and various brass instruments - to suggest the court of King James I.

  • Remember, remember. Focus: Time passing; days and dates; steady-beat and rhythm patterns; higher and lower; up and down (pitch); saying then singing. Listen to how the tune of the chorus goes higher and lower, making up-and-down shapes.

The music content can be combined with the History videos and supporting print content available on each page to offer pupils a really exciting and comprehensive offering on The Gunpowder Plot.

See also...

KS1 Music: The Great Fire of London