Catalogue No.


These important recordings have been out of print since 1958. Yes, I’ll say it again, 1958. The original UK albums ran across two long playing LPs and were translations of the German versions issued around the same time.
These two volumes could only be bought separately (foolishly they were never for sale as a pair or package or box set), the trouble was both looked identical and a prospective buyer could only see the difference if they looked at the catalogue numbers or the tracklistings, which could possibly explain why it’s rare to find a pair of original LPs together. A libretto could also be bought at the time, but separately and only by post, and this little item is possibly far more scarce that the original LPs. Luckily all three parts have been brought together for the first time in modern musical history here in this one fine disk and package. There are a total of 85 cues all brilliantly performed by the Children of the Italia Conte School, the Children’s Percussion Ensemble and Chorus Of The Children's Opera Group, plus the original notes by Walter Ellinek. And whilst the simple methods of musical education contained and inspired by these recording are possibly redundant these days, I’m convinced they are still as important and relevant as they ever were. It’s just that we’ve forgotten, and modern educational methods have taken early musical teaching in new and dull directions. Play these recordings to your children, play them to your friends, and hopefully you will find them as odd, magical, spooky and as intruiging as I do.

Here are some further comprehensive notes:

MUSIC FOR CHILDREN has grown out of work with children. It originated in the early 1930’s when Carl Orff and his assistant Gunild Keetman were in charge of music instruction at the Günterschule in Munich, Germany, a progressive institute where physical training and eurhythmics were practised with a view to co-ordinating the development of children’s minds and bodies. Music For Children is a series of practical examples of songs, rhythmic exercises, instrumental pieces and speech training, which impose no insurmountable technical difficulties on the performers (because no highly developed instruments are used) and therefore enable the children to express themselves fully and freely in this work. Thereby a sense of rhythm, form, melody, beauty of sound, the spoken word and humour is developed.

The work begins with the use of two notes only, the minor third, which is the basic interval in music and is closely related to the cadence of speaking and calling voices. The youngest children are encouraged to use these notes to imitate birdcalls and the old street cries, and to call each other names. Children’s rhymes (Tinker, tailor) are sung on these two notes with a simple rhythmic accompaniment of hand-clapping, first on the strong beats only, then as an integral rhythm. Gradually other notes are introduced and the whole pentatonic scale appears.

The GLOCKENSPIEL (Metal bars struck with wooden of felt hammers)
Alto: same range as a soprano saxophone
Soprano: sounding an octave higher

The METALLOPHONE is a large glockenspiel and has a range identical with that of the bass xylophone.

DINKING GLASSES of different sizes and thickness are tuned by filling them with water and played by striking them with little hammers.

The PERCUSSION GROUP consists of Triangle, Cymbals, Tambourine, Sleigh-Bells and a variety of Drums (which are played with sticks or the hands).

Recorders are used to give different tone-colour to some melodies; the Violoncello, Double Bass, Viola da Gamba and Lute (usually only open strings used) provide the simple drone, to which the Harpsichord is occasionally added.

Rhythmic exercises are executed by Hand-Clapping, Knee-slapping, Feet-stamping, use of the Drums, Whips, Sand-Rattles, and other percussion instruments.

The Spoken Word is used for its meaning, its tone-colour and rhythmic significance. Nursery Rhymes, familiar to most children, form the basis of the work.

The beauty of sound which glockenspiels and xylophones produce encourages improvisation. To accompany this (as well as many of the songs and pieces) simple accompaniments consisting of as combination of several repeated figures (OSTINATO) are used. This represents the basis of group music-making, as less gifted performers can use the full extent of their faculties by clapping their hands once in a bar, while the more gifted children, each according to their ability, invent melodies or play more complicated ostinatos on the instrument.

MUSIC FOR CHILDREN is primarily intended for active participation, rather than public performance. But its very nature of improvisation (each set piece can be adapted or augmented to suit the number of performers or instruments available) makes the gramophone record the ideal medium to capture the highlights of a lengthy course of instruction, to serve as examples of how it can be done, as well as providing some very varied entertainment.

1. Cuckoo, where are you?
This is a traditional English folk-poem describing the habits of the migrant cuckoo bird, which spends the winter in the warmer climate of Africa, comes to England in April and leaves again in August. The call of the cuckoo is a well-loved symbol of the arrival of Spring. In June this call changes, usually to one with the first note repeated several times. All over Europe the children go out into the woods in April or May and listen for the cuckoo call which they then imitate. In this song the xylophone imitates the bird call, the interval being the minor third.

2. Pat-a-cake
A Very old rhyme which appeared as an “Infants Ditty” in 1698 and in the 1765 edition of Mother Goose’s Melody. The xylophone plays repeated notes (ostinato) as an accompaniment.

3. Meena, deena
An old counting-out rhyme used by children to decide who shall be “It,” that is, take some unwanted part in a game, like chasing the others.

4. Name-calling
Still using the interval of the minor third the children call each other’s name son theses two two notes.

5. Street cries
In the days before large-scale advertising and publicity, tradesman and itinerant workmen used to advertise their wares of services by calling them out in the streets, beating a drum of making some other noise to attract people’s attention. All these street cries used here are from the Cries Of London and they are accompanied by a side-drum roll.

6. Tinker, tailor
This is one version of a children’s fortune telling rhyme. It is used when counting cherry stones, daisy petals or buttons to find out the profession of a girl’s future husband. Here it is accompanied by hand-clapping.

7. Bobby Shaftoe
Robert Shaftoe was a candidate for parliament in 1761 and this poem was used by his supporters. His portrait show him to have been young and handsome with yellow fair hair. In this song three notes (E, G, A) are used for the first time and xylophones and a wood-block provide the accompaniment.

8. Little Tommy Tucker
This poem first appeared in the 1765 edition of Mother Goose’s Melody, with the following comment: “To be married without a wife is a terrible thing.” In this song the glockenspiel appears for the first time and a violoncello is used to provide the bass in the accompaniment.

9. Bye, Baby Bunting
A favourite song with children’s nurses. “Bunting” is an old form of endearment and means short and thick, a plump child. Glockenspiels,, glasses and tiny cymbals are used for the delicate accompaniment.

10. 11. Improvisations
It is an important part of Music for Children to encourage the invention of melodies. An accompaniment is established to which the soloists improvise.

12. Tommy’s fallen in the pond
This is a translation of a German nursery rhyme. In this song all five notes of the pentatonic scale are used.

13. Tom, Tom the piper’s son
The pig referred to in this song is one made of sweetmeats such as were commonly sold by street vendors in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Dotted rhythms appear here for the first time and the difference between forte and piano is introduced. The first phrase is sung loud, then repeated softly.

14. My little pony needs new shoes
This translation of an Austrian children’s rhyme is used first as a recitation accompanied by rhythmic hand-clapping, knee-slapping and stamping; then sung to an accompaniment including sleigh-bells and coconuts to imitate the sound of horses.

15. The baker is baking
This is the first song in 3 / 4 time. A drum is stoked with a wire brush and a wood block played with a tiny stick to imitate the noises of the cake mixture being stirred.

16. Trees and flowers
Names of trees and flowers are used to demonstrate the rhythm, sound and meaning of the words, The gentle daffodil contrasts with the prickly blackthorn.

17. Ensembles
Here sayings and proverbs are used for speech ensembles. In iii) and iv) a percussion accompaniment adds rhythmic significance, and these two are spoken together.

19. Ding Dong
A doggerel sung in canon to an accompaniment of xylophone, violoncello and timpani. Glockenspiels are use din unison with the voices.

20. The day is now over
A simple evening prayer translated from the German. The accompaniment consists of glockenspiels, xylophones, metallophone, violoncello and bass.

Various drums are used for these and all are played by beating them with hands.

In these exercises one group of children speak the text, while a second group (aided by percussion instruments) provides a spoken ostinato as a refrain (hee, haw, hee, haw) or in imitation of drums (drrrommm, drrrommm).

24. The grand old Duke of York
This poem originally referred to Henry IV, King of France:
“The King of France went up the hill with forty thousand men.
The King of France came down the hill and ne’er went up again.”
But some “nimble-witted detractor” of Frederic, Duke of York (the second son of George III of England; a well-loved member of the Royal family who died in 1827 and whose statue stands in the Mall) unscrupulously adapted the old lines to the new subject.

25. Oliver Cromwell
A Suffolk folk-song, the word of which are used here as a speech exercise.

26. The Campbells are coming
A traditional Scottish song. The Campbells were a war-like clan who were often involved in feuds with their neighbours, as for instance the well-known rivalry between the Campbells and the MacDonalds which culminated in the massacre of Glencoe in 1692.

37. Where are you going to, my pretty maid?
This piece can be used as the basis for a round game; a variety of further questions and answers can be invented and composed by the children.

39. Old Angus McTavish
A translation of a German nursery poem. The music describes the action. IN the first and second verse the whips are heard, but the second verse is played slower. In the third verse the glissandi of the violoncello describe the “speed” of the snails, while the last verse the glockenspiel, replacing the recorder in the little interlude, gives the music the angle-like character.

40. Instrumental Rondo
An introduction to simple Rondo form. The first section of the piece (A) is repeated several times with a second second (B) placed between the repetitions. Section A consists of an ostinato played on xylophones, drums, triangle, sand-rattle, etc., while section B consists of shouts accompanied by clapping and stamping.

41. Boomfallera
These are two separate poems, both taken from Mother Goose and combined into a Rondo song: Boomfallera represents section A; sections B and C (the two different songs) are placed between the repetitions. The full accompaniment is scored for glockenspiels, xylophones, drums, violoncello, bass, triangle and glasses.

42. Sleep, baby sleep
An old lullaby is set here for two voices. The use of six notes enables these to move in thirds and sixths. The accompaniment is scored for glockenspiels, xylophones and bass.

46. Cradle Song
An old Scottish lullaby. The words are taken from Fionn’s Celtic Lyre. (e’en: eyes)

47. 48. 49. Three Ostinato pieces
i) In 4 / 4 time
ii) In 3 / 4 time
iii) In 4 / 4 time
These are played on glockenspiels.


50. Dance, lassie do
A traditional Scottish rhyme.

53. A farmer went trotting
The word appeared fist in “Ditties for the Nursery” (1805). After the third verse the first verse is sung again in canon.

54. Bear dance
In bygone days dancing bears which stood up on their hind-legs and “danced” were a great attraction of itinerant circuses. Their keepers usually accompanied the exhibition with music played on a fife. The small recorded used in this piece imitates this.

55. Simple Simon
This favourite nursery rhyme is taken from the Tale of Simple Simon, in the Chapbook History (17th Century)

61. Fabian, Sebastian
As the postlude shows this is an invitation to two of the performers to show their skill on the mentioned instruments.

62. Three blind mice
This round fist appeared in print in Thomas Ravenscroft’s “Pleasant Roundelaies” in 1609, but the music was in a minor key and the words were as follows:
“Three blind mic, three blind mice,
Dame Iulian, Dame Iulian.
The Miller and the merry olde Wife,
She scrapte her tripe licke thou the knife.“

Here the well-known music is set for glockenspiels, xylophone and drums in a new arrangement by Orff.

63. O my deir hert
The words are by an unknown 16th century poet.
creddil, cradle; spreit, spirit; sangis, songs; Balulalow, lullaby.

64. Oh hush thee, my babie
The posem is by Sir Walter Scott (1771 – 1832)

65. Five fools in a barrow
A nonsense song in which the music describes the accelerating journey and the breaking of the vehicle.

69. Saint Matthie
St Matthew’s day is on the 24th February

70. Thistles
71. How To Treat A Horse
72. A Tempest
These poems are all old country sayings.

73. Apple Howlers song
Apple Howling (or Yuling) is an old country custom still occasionally practiced in the orchards of England. On Twelfth Night (6th January) boys go round the orchard and forming a ring round the trees repeat these lines.

74. Stones
This poem by Christina Rossetti (1830 – 1894) is recited to an accompaniment of glockenspiels and musical glasses.

76. Sumer is icumin in
A free translation:
Summer is a coming, sing cuckoo loud;
Seeds are growing, the meadow is blowing, and the buds (the “wood”) are opening.
Sing cuckoo.
The ewe is bleating after lamb, the cow is calling (lowing) the calf.
The bullock jumps, the buck turns; merrily sing cuckoo.
You sing well, cuckoo, may you never be silent.

This spring song dates from the thirteenth century and is attributed to John of Fornsete, a monk of Reading Abbey; at least the song appears in his manuscript in the records of the Abbey dating from about 1226. It is in the form of a canon for four voices with two lower voices singing a “ground” or ostinato accompaniment. In this present version the voices are as in the original; the accompaniment is based on the chords of C and D, the tonic and the supertonic, this representing a first step into the realm of harmony. The instruments used are the harpsichord, violoncellos, recorders and percussion.

80. King Herod
This is an old traditional carol sung to a melody from Eastern Europe. The voices are in three parts which move together.

82. Girls and boys come out to play
A traditional English song which can be found in many 18th century dance books, often complete with directions for the dance. Here it is arranged by Orff.

83. Flute cadenza
A piece for several recorders of different size and range, with harpsichord accompaniment which consists of the “new” chords on C and A.

84. Song for Good Friday
This is an old German rhyme translated, and accompanied here by the chords C and A.

Original notes by Walter Ellinek. June 1958.

1) Cuckoo, Where Are You?
2) Pat-a-cake
3) Meena, Deena
4) Name-calling
5) Street Cries
6) Tinker, Tailor
7) Bobbie Shaftoe
8) Little Tommy Tucker
9) Bye Baby Bunting
10) Improvisations in four-four time
11) Improvisations in three-four time
12) Tommy’s Fallen In The Pond
13) Tom, Tom The Piper’s Son
14) My Little Pony Needs New Shoes
15) The Baker Is Baking
16) Speech Exercises – Trees And Flowers
17) Speech Exercises – Ensembles
18) Instrumental Piece For Tuned Glasses, Glocks And Violincello
19) Ding, Dong
20) The Day Is Now Over
21) Percussion Exercises - Small Hand Drum
22) Percussion Exercises - Pair Of Barrel Drums And Small Hand Drum
23) Percussion Exercises – Piece In Three–Four Time For Hand Drum, Barrel Drum And Block
24) The Grand Old Duke Of York
25) Oliver Cromwell
26) The Campbells Are Coming
27) Instrumental Pieces i)
28) Instrumental Pieces ii)
29) Instrumental Pieces iii)
30) Instrumental Pieces iv)
31) Instrumental Pieces v)
32) Instrumental Pieces vi)
33) Instrumental Pieces vii)
34) Instrumental Pieces viii)
35) Instrumental Pieces ix)
36) Instrumental Pieces x)
37) Where Are You Going To, My Pretty Maid?
38) Alleluja
39) Old Angus McTavish
40) Instrumental Rondo
41) Boomfallera
42) Sleep, Baby Sleep
43) Three Instrumental Pieces i)
44) Three Instrumental Pieces ii)
45) Three Instrumental Pieces iii)
46) Cradle Song
47) Three Ostinato Pieces i)
48) Three Ostinato Pieces ii)
49) Three Ostinato Pieces iii)
50) Dance, Lassie Do
51) Mary, Helen, Caroline
52) Instrumental Dance
53) A Farmer Went Trotting
54) Bear Dance
55) Simple Simon
56) Five Ostinato Pieces i)
57) Five Ostinato Pieces ii)
58) Five Ostinato Pieces iii)
59) Five Ostinato Pieces vi)
60) Five Ostinato Pieces v)
61) Fabian, Sebastian
62) Three Blind Mice
63) O My Deir Hart
64) O Hush Thee, My Babie
65) Five Fools In A Barrow
66) Percussion Exercises i) For Various Percussion Instruments
67) Percussion Exercises ii) Stamping, Clapping and Knee Slapping
68) Percussion Exercises iii) For Drums
69) Saint Matthie
70) Thistles
71) How To Treat A Horse
72) A Tempest
73) Apple Howlers Song
74) Stones
75) Witches Scene From Macbeth
76) Sumer Is A Icumen In
77) Instrumental Piece
78) Two Dances i)
79) Two Dances ii)
80) King Herod
81) Instrumental Piece
82) Boys And Girls Come Out To Play
83) Flute Cadenza
84) Song For Good Friday
85) Instrumental Piece