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Frog Round

What a queer bird the frog are:
When he sit he stand (almost);
When he walk he fly (almost);
When he talk he cry (almost);
He ain't got no sense (hardly);
He ain't got no tail, either (hardly);
He sit on what he ain't got (hardly).

Historical background

The Uncertain History of the Frog Round

Watch it here

Watch it on YouTube

There are six versions of the video on YouTube:
1. original bar-graph score (as shown above)
2. non-scrolling score
3. non-scrolling score with parts numbered
4. non-scrolling score without octave displacement
5. circular, 3D score without octave displacement
6. with words inside note outlines


Right-click to download:

   PDF score (requires Adobe Acrobat or other PDF reader)
   MIDI file (requires MIDI software)
   Sibelius notation file (requires Sibelius notation software)
   Loopable WAV file (requires audio player that has loop mode)
   Loopable MOV file (requires video player that has loop mode)

Listening exercises

Play it at a high enough level to hear all the voices easily, and direct your attention in ways like this:

  • for each part, get so that you can hear it continuously (hearing it as separate from the rest)
  • for each phrase in the piece (a phrase can be any unit you choose, two measures long or less), learn to hear it in whichever part has it at the time (so that your attention is bouncing around)
  • learn to direct your attention to any of the four parts at will, so that you can change your attention whenever you choose
  • get so that you can focus your attention on any two parts at the same time (so that you hear those parts as separate from the rest)
  • if you know how to recognize intervals, hear the progression of intervals between any two parts

    For each of these, doing it without the score and with this score are separate skills. When you're doing it with the score:

  • when you're following two parts, learn to shift your visual focus back and forth
  • tap with a finger (or, if you're following two parts, two fingers) on the notes as they happen

    Other variations include

  • sing along with parts that are in your range
  • sing along with any part (moving it into your range as necessary)
  • play along on the piano, guitar, whatever (as many voices as you can handle)
  • tap the rhythm of one part while singing another part

    Another exercise is to sing the same two-measure phrase over and over (e.g. "what a queer bird the frog are, what a queer bird, the frog are ...) with your eyes closed, and on each repetition, listen for which part you're singing along with, and focus on it.

                      Credits  (in order of appearance)
                         Poem  Unknown (appeared without attribution in the popular press in the 1920s)
                        Music  Unknown (though it appears to have been a popular song in the 1920s)
          Taught me the round  Deena Grossman
               Score Software  Sibelius 
               Voice Software  VocalWriter (by Kathleen Elersich @ Kaelabs)
    Told me about VocalWriter  Carl Lumma