Macbeth: 5. Witches' brew

The two assassins murder Banquo, but fail to kill his son Fleance. In the evening there is a banquet to celebrate the Macbeths' coronation. Macbeth is confronted by Banquo's ghost and after the guests leave Macbeth reflects on Macduff's absence from the celebrations.

Tutorial: 'Witches' brew' - Part 1

Tutorial 5: Part 1 - join Nigel Pilkington to learn the song 'Witches' brew'

Key timings in the tutorial are:

00' 00":
Listening to Verse 2 before learning Verse 1, beginning: 'A vision of the future can be read in the stars...'

02' 53":
Learning Verse 2, beginning: 'Then your stir it to the left side...' This includes the counter-melody so be ready in two groups. Noting what a counter-melody is.

Tutorial: 'Witches' brew' - Part 2

Tutorial 5: Part 2 - join Nigel Pilkington to learn the song 'Witches' brew'

Key timings in the tutorial are:

00' 00":
Learning the Middle 8, beginning: 'Fly high in the sky...' The Middle 8 is an 8-bar section of a song that comes near the middle and provides a clear contrast to the verses. Noting the long, flowing notes. Adding a focus on breathing and attempting to sing the verse in a set number of breaths.

02' 37":
Learning the rap, beginning: 'Fillet of a fenny snake, boil and bake...' and noting which words of the rap to accent.

05' 32":
Learning Verse 3, beginning: 'We're brewing up a potion we can never repeat...' Listening first then repeating line by line and then putting the whole of the verse together.

The story

Episode 5 of the story


Banquo and Fleance are returning to Dunsinane after a day’s hunting when they are intercepted by the two assassins. They kill Banquo...but Fleance manages to escape.

That evening there is a banquet at Dunsinane to celebrate the Macbeths' coronation. The assassins return to tell Macbeth of their failure...and Macbeth resolves to kill Fleance the following day. Then, during the banquet, he is confronted by Banquo’s ghost (or so he believes) and Lady Macbeth is forced to call the celebrations to a premature close, telling the guests her husband is struggling with an illness he has suffered from since childhood.

Later Macbeth reflects on the fact that Macduff was absent from the banquet.

See Resources below for a quiz about the story episode.

Song: 'Witches' brew'

Song 5: 'Witches' brew' (vocal)
Song 5: 'Witches' brew' (backing)

Learn the song ‘Witches' brew’ - sung by the Weird Sisters making their magic potion.

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 5
Song 5 - lyrics
Song 5 - music
Episode 5 - story transcript
Download 'Witches' brew' (mp3) - Vocal
Download 'Witches' brew' (mp3) - Backing track

More from this series

4. Assassins
6. Dunsinane
7. Killing ground