arr. Teresa & Paul Jennings
Over the years, we have published a variety of versions of "Yankee Doodle," from parodies to partners to an entire revue based on the song. Most of them have had some sort of angle or twist to make them fun and/or usable in different ways. But it occurred to us that many times, teachers want a nice solid and traditional arrangement of classic pieces, especially ones with patriotic or historic value. So, we decided to do just such an arrangement of this beloved American tune.
The orchestration is the important element in doing this. As you will hear on the recording, we used some very traditional sounding instruments - piccolos, snare drums, and brass. You can practically see the Colonists marching along waiting to meet the Red Coats. In fact, if you can, use Early American costumes to bring the song to life.
Our arrangement is unison during the verse, but breaks into an optional divisi at the chorus each time. Part 2 is pretty simple, but it has been isolated and put on our web site as a rehearsal track for your convenience. (See following for details.)
To make the song even more usable, we have written an optional narration that can be read prior to the singing of the song. It includes some basic, but interesting information about the origins of the song. It is broken into lines which can be read by different students in whatever configuration you like. We used three different readers (Benjamin Ellsworth, Brynn Stebbe, and Matthias Murphy). You could use just one. Or two. Or a different reader for every line. They could either read the lines, or memorize and recite them (which might be very effective if used in a performance setting).
There is, of course, much more to the history of the song than we have here. For example, what was a "yankee," a "doodle," and what on earth is the reference to "macaroni" all about? There are also many, many different verses. (We chose common ones.) We recommend that you make researching the history of the song a class project or unit of study that can be brought across the curriculum. And do be sure to let your classroom teachers know you have this tool at their disposal, too.
Online extras - The free, downloadable extras mentioned can be found under the Graphics and Extras for Volume 18, No. 5 at MusicK8.com
Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.