Talk Like Shakespeare

by John Riggio

This is a tune to have fun with! We spared no expense in achieving a great medieval/Renaissance-y sound, including a real lute. (Alas, no sackbut however.)

"Talk Like Shakespeare" gives your students the chance to, well, talk like Shakespeare, or at least talk in the vernacular of English people back in the day. And by "back in the day," we mean the late 1500s and early 1600s. The song begins with a simple motif followed by singing at measure 5. At the end of measure 12 we get a foretaste of the silliness to come, as there are spoken one-liners each time – Verily! Alas! Forsooth! Then it really begins at measure 24, where we have prepared several spoken lines for your students to recite. Your actors will want to try on an English accent, and have them ham it up! Their performances should be a bit snooty and a bit silly at the same time. If you want to kick it up a notch, have your actors dress the part. Do an Internet search for clothes of the Elizabethan era, and you'll see what we mean. We wouldn't recommend corsets and girdles for your youngsters, however.

Keep in mind that while John came up with these silly spoken lines, you don't have to use his material. Feel free to come up with your own. You can use real Shakespearean lines and doctor them up a bit, or come up with something completely original. Just try to keep it sounding like Shakespeare!

Note: We used a sound effect on our full tracks of a window breaking. Rather than put it on the instrumental performance, which would require your timing to match our music, we have made it available as a downloadable web extra so you can play it in time with your performers, if you choose to use it.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.