KS2 Music: Shakespeare on Trial! - Song 7: 'Full Fathom Five'

Notes for ‘Full Fathom Five’

The words of the song are by Shakespeare from The Tempest, where they are sung by Ariel. For the singing, you might like to aim for a mysterious, magical, ethereal quality (not too loud), whether sung by a solo singer, by a small group, or by the whole ensemble. In the vocal track, the main verse is sung first by a female voice, joined by a male voice on its repeat, then joined by an ensemble in the third section.

The vocal ensemble might like to add quiet, vocal sea-sounds at the beginning and the very end for atmosphere - eg ‘swishing’ higher and lower like gentle waves. The ‘sea-nymphs’ section of the song (from bars 22 onwards) changes time signature to 3:2 and features underwater bell-like sounds. Your stage-band can accompany this with suitable sounds on bell-like percussion instruments, such as glockenspiel, metallophone and chime-bars. The voice quality in this part on the repeated note G can also be bell-like, with each soft note starting with a clear ‘attack’, then dying or fading away (especially on the words ‘Ding-dong...’), always trying to keep carefully in time together.

Song 7: 'Full Fathom Five' (Vocal). Ariel's song from The Tempest given a gentle, ethereal and haunting style. Full vocal.

The repeating riff shown in small notes in bars 5-6 can also be played on low-sounding instruments - such as marimba, guitar, plucked violin / cello or keyboards, on just notes C G G C - and can continue throughout the verses, as long as it is kept in time and is very quiet.

Instruments can also add a range of gentle watery sounds - eg cymbals and gongs (with different kinds of beater, hard and soft); rainsticks and shakers (evoking shifting sands); quiet hand-drum-rumbles (for deep-water energy); soft up-and-down scales and sliding ‘glissandi’ on pitched percussion and guitars (for wave movements); and quiet keyboard-swirling-sounds.

A dance / movement group could also perform body wave movements in slow-motion, influenced by seaweed motion patterns. Mood lighting and colour might be especially useful in this scene.

Song 7: 'Full Fathom Five' (Backing). Ariel's song from The Tempest given a gentle, ethereal and haunting style. Backing track.

Resources

Sheet music, lyrics and notes for each of the songs
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Shakespeare on Trial! - playscript
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Shakespeare on Trial! - playscript
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Audio cues and sound effects
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More from this series

Song 6: 'Supernaturally!'
video
Song 8: 'Boys Will Be Girls'
video
Song 9: 'For All Time'
video