From Rhinegold Education, here is the Key Stage 3: Lesson 4 (ages 11-14) that explores Call and Response.
Learning Objective: to understand and explore how music is created and communicated through the inter-related dimensions of pitch, duration and structure, focusing on the structure of Call and Response.
Length: 45 minutes.
1. Do you know the song, ‘Everywhere we go?’ It starts like this:
Leader: Everywhere we go,
All: Everywhere we go,
Leader: People wanna know,
All: People wanna know,
Leader: Who we are,
All: Who we are,
Leader: And where we come from.
All: And where we come from.
It is sometimes used as a protest song; see here for an example.
1b. Here’s another version of the song in a KS3 classroom from Rhinegold Education’s forthcoming book ‘Teaching Music: Practical Strategies for KS3’.
‘Everywhere we go’ is based on a Call and Response structure. The Leader sings the call, and everyone responds with the Response. In this song, the response copies the call.
2. Using whatever instrument you have (or your voice) copy each call in this track.
The calls use the notes C, D, E, G, and the first call uses C, D and E. (If you have a B flat instrument such as trumpet or clarinet, you will play every note up a tone so the first call will be D, E, F#.) If you make mistakes, just rewind the track and try again!
3. Call and response is used in a lot of different musical traditions.
It probably originated in Africa. Listen to the first four minutes of the video below and answer these questions:
a) During the first song (up to 1.17) what instruments do you hear?
b) During the second song (starting at 1.24) What are the missing lyrics to the first call?
Hoe, Emma, Hoe. You ____ _____, dig a ____ _ __ ____, Hoe, Emma, Hoe.
c) Describe the difference between this call and response which follows.
d) Describe the structure of the song, Hoe, Emma, Hoe. Use the words Call (when only one person sings) and Response (when more people sing). CLUE: It starts with a Call.
e) The song Hoe, Emma, Hoe is described as a Work Song. What sort of work do you think might have been done while this song was sung?
f) What 3 instruments play as the solo group at around 3.14?
g) When does the Call and Response begin and end in this song?
3b. How did you get on? Listen here to check your answers!
4. Sing along with a Call and Response song!
Listen to Bruce Springsteen’s version of Pay Me My Money Down. Listen up to 1.30 and join in the response with the singers. (The words are, ‘Pay me my money down’).
5. As you saw in Step 3, Call and Response was used by jazz musicians.
Watch this clip showing how Call and Response was used in jazz and answer the following questions.
a) How does the drummer imitate the calls on the piano?
b) How does the music change after 0.56?
5b. Check your answers here!
6. The previous clip showed:
• Call and Response doesn’t necessarily involve singing; it can be just instruments
• Call and Response doesn’t necessarily involve imitation. A response can be different from the call.
Now watch this clip of Call and Response in a track called ‘So What?’ The Call and Response begins at 0.38 and ends at 1.38. It repeats at 4.32-5.38. Answer the questions below.
a) What instrument plays the Call?
b) What instruments play the Response?
c) Is the Response, the same as the Call or different?
d) What happens at 1.08 and again at 1.23?
6b. Listen to the track to check your answers.
7. Now listen to three further examples of Call and Response, from different musical traditions.
In one example, the calls overlap with the responses. In another, the call is the chorus of the song (split into little phrases), whilst the response is the verse (also split into little phrases). In another, the responses are almost exactly the same as the calls. Which is which?
1. Rag Jog. The Call and Response starts at 5.54 and ends at 6.39.
2. Can’t You See. The Call and Response section starts at 3.28 and continues until the end.
3. Tough Times Never Last (Strong people do) The Call and Response section starts from the beginning of the track.
7b. Listen below for the answers!
8. Now that you know more about Call and Response, try Step 2 again
Don’t just copy each call – make at least some of your responses different from the calls. You can also use more notes – try using C, D, E, F, G, A (or D, E, F#, G, A, B if you are using a B flat instrument).
You can find more information about Call and Response, with video clips from various musical traditions here. There is more information about its use in Gospel music here. This site contains links to classic songs which use Call and Response at some point in the song. Listen to one or two songs from the list and see if you can identify the Call and Response sections!
By Tim Cain for Rhinegold Education.