KS2 Music: Shakespeare on Trial! - Song 8: 'Boys Will Be Girls'
Notes for ‘Boys Will Be Girls’
A fun song about the reality of female roles being taken by boys and men in Elizabethan times. The singing style varies between slightly whimsical for the ‘elegant’ Verse 1 about Juliet, and the ‘graceful’ Verse 3 about Titania, slightly operatic for Verse 2 about Lady Macbeth and a more rollicking music hall voice for the choruses, which are in waltz-time.
Verse 2 (Lady Macbeth, ‘gloomily’) is in the minor key and needs a deep, theatrical, ‘operatic’ quality, with lots of wobbly ‘chest voice’. For contrast the final line can be semi-spoken, as if by an onlooker, to bring out the humour (similarly for the last line of Verse 3).
The song’s tempo is flexible, so watch out and listen out for speed changes, marked on the music sheet as ‘rit’ (for slowing down, especially into the choruses), up to a ‘pause sign’, then ‘a tempo, brightly’ (when things go back to a steady speed for a while).
After Verse 3, there is a double chorus, when you need to be ready to ‘jump in’ after bar 136 with ‘Oh!...’ and to pick up speed on the repetition of the chorus. This ends in another ‘rit’, followed by two extra lines, the first sung in a high, wobbly falsetto / soprano voice, and the second (after a cymbal crash) in a low ‘basso profundo’ voice. It should bring the house down!
If appropriate, you can split some verses and lines between individuals, pairs or groups but the chorus is definitely for everyone to join in (and encourage the audience to join in as well!) .
There’s a star part waiting for a triangle-player who can provide a well-timed ‘ping’ in bar 9 to announce Juliet and then in bar 99 to announce Titania. Also a drum-beater is needed for some gloomy, rumbly drum-rolls to announce Lady Macbeth in bars 50-55.
A small dance / movement group could waltz during some of the choruses. In the verses they could also act out exaggerated flow-ing-movements, reflecting the rising and falling melody and harmony (up up UP, up up UP, down down DOWN, up hold SPIN). They could be boys, girls...or both!