KS2 Music: Shakespeare on Trial! - Song 2: 'Words, Words, Words'
Notes for ‘Words, Words, Words’
A lyrical, expressive song, ‘moving along with gentle excitement’, about enjoyment in the process of writing and the debt that the English language owes to Shakespeare. There are lots of syllables to fit into each verse, so why not practise saying them together first - in rhythm and with precision - before singing? You could get the children to copy you line by line.
When singing, try to keep together, using a light, gentle voice. The main phrases move smoothly step-by-step, with a leap of a ‘fifth’ in bars 7-8 - to the words ‘like birds’ in Verse 1. Be careful with the rhythm of the phrase ‘words, words, words...’ (short, short, long...), which should be precise and clear each time. In the coda, or end section, this phrase is just whispered very quietly.
After Verse 1 it’s an idea to split the verse words between individuals and small groups. In Verses 2 and 3 these can be semi-spoken, to bring out the special Shakespearean words (in quotes). Verse 4 is just spoken: listen to the vocal track to get a sense of the timing and you could use a variety of dialects and accents from around the English-speaking world. This could work as an ensemble chanting, or perhaps with separate words allocated to individuals. If you like you could replace some of these words with Shakespearean ones that are special to your region - look at dictionaries and online for help with locating some of these.
The accompaniment (backing track) includes some percussion sounds that some of you could copy or adapt and then add into your performance: xylophone in Verse 2 (selecting from the C major scale CDEFGABC), brushes-on-drums in Verse 3 and gently-played cymbals in Verse 4.
Ukulele and guitar players can gently strum chords on the ‘down-beats’ of each bar. Follow the chord symbols, using C, Dm, G, Am and F.
If anyone is able to join in the note patterns in the introduction’s eight-note repeating riff - eg on guitar, ukulele, keyboard or pitched percussion - the quaver notes go G C’E’G C’D’G C’. This pattern comes back several times, so listen out!
The playscript suggests some words that actors could ‘mime’ during the singing - eg birds (Verse 1), leapfrog, zany, excitement (Verse 2), madcap, elbow (Verse 3), deafening, laughable, lacklustre, discontent, mountaineer (Verse 4). You may have your own ideas too, based on your own regional alternative words.