Rounds/ Catches

At the first research point of this part of the course, I was asked to look out for some examples of rounds. ( A round or catch is a piece of music , with at least three voices, which all sing repetitively the same piece, the voices all start with the same melody but at different times.) I was also encouraged to sing or play some of the examples I’ve found on my own.

Through my own musical experience, I was able to learn, sing and play several rounds already, some of which I couldn’t even find online. The ones I knew from my personal experience already are :

  • Baby Just
  • Hejo, spann den Wagen an (= Hey Ho, Nobody Home)
  • Froh zu sein
  • Guten Morgen (same melody as “London’s burning” )
  • Dona Nobis Pacem
  • Bojeje

Then there are of course the well-known rounds such as

  • Row, row , row your boat
  • Frère Jaques
  • Coffee Canon

A Listening Log entry can be found for some of those pieces as well as several others from other centuries, which I will try to either sing or play on the piano.

I’ve noticed that a certain chord sequence is used quite often. A round is basically made out of a short series of chords, where each played note gets its own voice (and text, when sung). This particular chord series is going downwards four notes, starting from the (minor) tonica ( 1st degree) to the (major) dominat (5th degree). From the list above this chord sequence is used for “Baby just” ; Hejo, spann den Wagen an ( and therefore also ” Hey Ho , Nobody Home” ); and Bojeje. It is furthermore used for the whole, very well-known song “Hit the road Jack”.

One more thing I have to mention here, is that modern pop music often, (not always) uses an average amount of four chords for their pieces. Those chords are being repeated until the end of the song, just always with a different melody (verse or refrain). One could therefore, just sing or play two verses at the same time or verse and refrain together and it would still sound consonant. This would , in a certain way, make some pop-songs to rounds as well. The repetitive simple chord-sequence is also the reason, why most of those songs are incredibly catchy.