Here’s another treasure from the past, found in Robert Foresman’s First Book of Songs (American Book Company).

Based on a German folk song, “Honeybee” uses a consistent rhythmic pattern, entirely anapestic (short-short-long). The pattern occurs within each beat in the first measure of each line, and then it’s augmented to span two beats for the second measure.

This could be approached as a study of beat, division and multiple (think of it as 4/8, or as 4/4 changing the first pattern to eighth-eighth quarter, etc.). Or, as is, it involves beat, division, and subdivision.

But the notation doesn’t have to matter; it’s the relationship of the durations in time and space, and the proportions of the pattern over beats, that holds the heartier content.

It’s easy enough to extend any lesson on “anapest” with this song, or to start with the song to introduce the rhythmic ideas of the lesson. More advanced challenges to put the concepts into new contexts might include:

  1. Performing beats with the song;
  2. Performing beats grouped metrically with the song (conducting gestures or a simple movement or sound to distinguish the crusis of the measure);
  3. Performing phrases with the song (changes of direction, breathing patterns, passing phrases around within a group, etc.);
  4. Performing cruses of each pattern with the song (clap, step, or other at the beginning of each “anapest” — and what pattern does that end up making? You guessed it — a long anapest over the phrase!).