Macbeth: 4. Assassins

King Duncan's body is quickly discovered and his sons Malcolm and Donalbain flee the castle. Macbeth is crowned king - but he feels insecure while Banquo lives. So he engages two assassins to murder both Banquo and his son, Fleance.

Tutorial: 'Assassins' - Part 1

Tutorial 4: Part 1 - join Nigel Pilkington to learn the song 'Assassins'

Key timings in the tutorial are:

00' 00":
Learning the chorus, beginning: 'Who says crime don't pay?'

02' 00":
Learning Verse 1, beginning: 'We are the blokes you ordered, connoisseurs of snick and snack' emphasising the important words. The words of the verse are spoken.

05" 43":
Learning Verse 2, beginning: 'A man can meet his maker in a thousand different ways', which is a little harder to fit all the spoken words than Verse 1.

Tutorial: 'Assassins' - Part 2

Tutorial 4: Part 2 - join Nigel Pilkington to learn the song 'Assassins'

Key timings in the tutorial are:

00' 00":
Putting the words for all of Verse 2 together and singing them first in two groups and then all together again.

01' 52":
Clapping the rhythm of the words to Verse 1.

03' 16":
Learning Verse 3, beginning: 'We like to do the business with a certain va va voom'. Listen for the accented words: 'like', 'business', 'certain', 'voom' (in line 1) and 'any', 'wants', 'we', 'there' (in line 4).

The story

Episode 4 of the story


King Duncan’s body is quickly discovered. The nobles go to inform Duncan’s sons - Malcolm and Donalbain - of the murder and when Macbeth arrives he says he has already given summary justice to the king’s servants. Lady Macbeth also arrives and saves her husband from an awkward situation by fainting.

Left alone, the nobles swear to root out any treachery, while Malcolm and Donalbain decide their best option is to flee Dunsinane altogether.

Later Macbeth is crowned king, but feels insecure while Banquo still lives because of the prophecy that Banquo’s descendants will become kings. So he engages two henchmen - the assassins - to kill both Banquo and his son Fleance.

See Resources below for a quiz about the story episode.

Song: 'Assassins'

Song 4: 'Assassins' (vocal)
Song 4: 'Assassins' (backing)

Learn the song ‘Assassins' - a comic song for Macbeth's two henchmen.

Once you have learnt the song singing with vocal version you can polish your performance singing with just the backing track.

Click here for the lyric sheet.

Click here for the music sheet.


Teacher's Notes
Pupils' pamphlet
Vocal warm-up
Meet the characters
Tutorial transcript
Song 4 - lyrics
Song 4 - music
Story transcript - episode 4
Download 'Assassins' (mp3) - Vocal
Download 'Assassins' (mp3) - Backing track

More from this series

3. Temptation
5. Witches' brew
6. Dunsinane