The Constitution

by John Riggio

When one thinks of the U.S. Constitution, the musical style "funk" does not automatically come to mind. Until now! John wanted to write a funky and hip tune to get your students into the groove about this extremely important document. (FYI, Constitution Day is September 17th.)

As we've said before, without law there can be no freedom. (See John's tune "Constitution Day," Music K-8, Vol. 24, No. 1.) The Constitution gives us freedom by providing laws that protect us from threats without and within. Having no law brings anarchy, and having too much law brings oppression. The Framers knew all this, so they did a brilliant thing – they built checks and balances into the Articles of the Constitution. They dispersed the powers into a legislative branch, an executive branch, and a judicial branch. By balancing the powers and limiting the power of government, we get to enjoy our freedom.

The song is highly stylized, so don't let your students perform this too plainly. Sing the scoops, and feel free to add some of your own. Add vibrato and sing with attitude. There are also comments to help the style. For instance, at bar 13 the notes are both scooped and separated, but in the following bar the notes are legato. The section starting at bar 21 should be ethereal, building at bar 25. Measure 28 and from the coda out should be sung with authority: The Constitution makes us free! If you have any style questions, listen to how our studio singers performed it on the recording. They were spot on! And speaking of the recording, as always, our rhythm guys did amazing work. Check out the piano improvisation by our pianist, Steve Potts. It's incredible!

The tune also has two parts, but part 2 is sung only on the D.S., plus it's optional. For your convenience, the audio tracks of this song have an electric piano guide for part 1, and a clavinet guide for part 2. We also have a rehearsal guide for part 2 on our web site. (See box on page 78 for details.)

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.