Folk Song Suite for young voices and chamber orchestra

Full details...
page one of Folk Song Suite for young voices and chamber orchestra

Which method of viewing music should I use?

Score Exchange has two methods to display previews of music: seView which uses regular html and javascipt and the Scorch plug-in from Avid which needs to be downloaded and installed onto your computer. Both have advantages and disadvantages:


seView, is the most compatible option. You should be able to view music on all modern web browsers including most mobile devices. Even if your device does not support javascript you should still be able to preview at least page one of the music.

You do not need to install any additional software to use seView.


Scorch is a free plug-in from Avid for displaying and printing music. It can also play the music that you're seeing. As modern web browsers are updated, Scorch is no longer compatible with many browsers. Scorch has never been compatible with mobile devices and some web browsers on Mac computers.

If your web browser does not install Scorch automatically, you can click here to download and install scorch manually.

Static preview

The static preview shows a basic image of the first page.

Interactive preview

The interactive preview also shows a preview of the first page, but it's a bit slower to load. The preview is displayed using the Sibelius Cloud Publishing technology from Avid. With most scores, this technology will provide a higher quality preview, as well as being able to switch to full screen mode and also play the displayed music to you.

Printing after purchase

After you have purchased this item the Cloud Publishing technology is utilised to provide the printing mechanism for the music. As such, we recommend checking that the Interactive Preview displays correctly on your device before committing to a purchase.

Full details

1.This old hammer/zum gali gali 2.The Tinker's Wedding and instrumental jigs 3.Go down Moses 4.Hava nagilah

This was arranged in May/June 1975, and first performed at the Lord Grey School, Bletchley, Milton Keynes, UK, on the 1st July that year. The orchestration was revised (mainly by adding optional instrumentation) in 2008.

Designed primarily for use in schools, this piece would suit young voices aged 10–14 years old, accompanied by a competent school orchestra, which may require some 'stiffening'. The composer has taken into account that different schools will have different forces available, and has therefore made the orchestration as versatile as possible.

The suite is a compilation of eight wide-ranging folk-songs and melodies; negro spiritual, work song, Scottish reels and Hebrew melodies.

The first movement, in a ternary structure, has a slightly austere mood, with a persistent E minor pedal in keeping with the monotony inherent in this work song - This Old Hammer (Killed John Henry).

John Henry was born a slave in the mid-19th century in North Carolina or Virginia, USA; and died in his thirties as a labourer for the railroad after the American Civil War.

The repetition is deliberate; variety is achieved through the use of simple canon in the voices; colour in the orchestration; and changing ostinato patterns in the harmony. It merges into Zum gali gali (these are rhythmic words with no meaning), an old Hebrew song, ostensibly relating to the formation of the state of Israel, but treated here as if it is another work song, before a reprise of This Old Hammer.

The mood changes with a lively D major movement, based on Scottish music. Four verses of The Tinker’s Wedding lead straight into a medley of reels for solo violin with a simple percussive accompaniment.

After a rather unexpected return of the first reel, Cock o’ the North, the singers and full orchestra interrupt fortissimo, with a reprise of the chorus of The Tinker’s Wedding, this time, the two tunes slotting together and rushing towards a triumphant climax, finishing with a choral shout.

The third movement is a gentle arrangement in G minor of Go Down Moses. It is based on a 4-bar descending chord scheme with ‘bluesy’ instrumental solos, and a recurring, wordless choral introduction to each verse in descending thirds.

A climactic modulatory transition links the spiritual to the final movement, Hava Nagilah, a Hasidic melody of uncertain origin and now a Hebrew folk-song (“let us rejoice”), which has become almost an anthem of secular Jewish culture. As is customary, its initial steady tempo gradually gains momentum, and races to a rousing conclusion.

The composer has also transcribed Folk Song Suite for young voices and piano and for concert band.

The orchestration has been arranged in such a way as to allow a smaller group of instruments to be complete in itself: the oboe, bassoon, trombone, viola, double bass and timpani parts, whilst desirable, are all optional.

The Scottish reel section (J–N), can be shortened if necessary, by omitting some, or all, of the repeats. This section requires a very competent solo violinist (from within the orchestra) but if necessary, the part can be taken by several players or even other instruments.

Score ID
Year of composition
Year of arrangement
traditional/folk song
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
15 minutes
Large mixed ensemble
Classical music

For anything not permitted by the above licence then you should contact the publisher first to obtain permission.

Reviews of Folk Song Suite for young voices and chamber orchestra

Sorry, there's no reviews of this score yet. Please .

You might also like...