This final setting presents a double challenge to singers with both 5/4 and then 7/4 time signatures, plus some off-beat syncopations in the first two bars. These will be negotiated much more easily, at least in rehearsal, by clapping on the first beats of bars 2 and 4.

Pronounce ‘Z’ the American way “Zee” as this creates a more satisfying and defined vocal sound than the English “Zed”. So the first line comes out as “Zee was a zebra” and the final line as “Zee-ee-ee (three beats with a  crescendo), pretty striped Zeebra!”

Bar 2, with its descent to the B flat onto the word “striped” (accented) which is slightly awkward to sing can be practiced in slow motion a few times then upping the pace as it becomes more secure.

The first four bars is a 4-part round which can be sung and repeated in a variety of ways in addition to the suggested arrangement before moving onto the Coda.

The pulse can be maintained most effectively by doing the “Zee-bra walk”. I’ve no idea what this might look like!

A final challenge comes with the ‘false relation’ (C against C sharp) at the beginning of the coda where the tenor line leaps from D up a major seventh to C sharp a problem instantly solved if the tenor sings the previous three notes (“on his back”) up an octave.

Level: difficult

"Z Was A Zebra"

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