Play and Sing – Flowers Song

Introduction

When we visited Athol House in July 2019, we used a piece of music by French composer Joseph Canteloube (1879-1957), called Songs of the Auvergne, as our project inspiration.

Joseph Canteloube was born in the Auvergne region of France, and his most famous pieces are the Songs of the Auvergne, which he wrote over seven years.  They are arrangements of songs in the local Auvergne language, called Occitan. You can find many recordings of them on Spotify and YouTube.

In this activity, we’re going to learn a folk melody that Canteloube used, called “Nai pas ieu de mio“.  Our version has new words in English, which you can learn by watching the learn the song video in the playlist.  When you know the song, you can sing along with the LPO musicians, and play instruments in the gaps between the verses.  There are four videos to help you learn each bit:

  1. OrchLab Activity introduction – Flowers Song – learn the song
  2. OrchLab Activity – Flowers Song – learn the song
  3. OrchLab Activity introduction – Flowers Song – sing and play
  4. OrchLab Activity – Flowers Song – sing and play

Setting up the activity

You’ll need:

  • Access to the videos to sing/play along with, with sound
  • Several participants
  • Any instruments you have – one per person
  • If you have iPads with music apps such as Thumbjam and or Garageband, these can be used too (programme them to the key of F major pentatonic, or F major, and get participants to choose which instrument they would like the ipad to sound like

Thumbjam:

To select the key of F, tap the #b key near the top right, then select F:

To make the scale pentatonic, tap the Sound key on the top left, then Change Scale, then select Major Pentatonic.

Garageband:

To change each of the chord strips to F major, tap on each one in turn, tap the spanner button on top right, then Edit chords.  Make sure each chord is set to F Maj None None.

Running the activity

  1. First, watch the introduction video, in which John explains what to do.
  1. Then watch the learn the song video. John will sing each line first, then you sing it back in the gaps. Now you should know the song.
  1. For the next part of the activity, you will need your instruments set up (see Setting up the Activity section above). Depending on your participants, you could include the following:
  • Tambourine or drum playing the beat gently throughout the song
  • Chime bars, bells or xylophones (or other tuned instruments) on the notes G and D
  • iPads with Garageband or Thumbjam for playing solos

Watch John’s next introduction video, then the activity video “Sing and play in the gaps”. 

Sing the song as the words come up on screen.

There are gaps in between each verse, which you can use to play instrumental solos, or the whole group playing their instruments in the gaps.

Explore more

  • Try different combinations of instrument playing in the “Sing and play” activity.  You could have some instruments playing throughout, or coming in and out, or solos, or unison playing
  • If you get really confident with this, try performing your piece without the video backing track