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"Play a Simple Melody," Lyrics, Text Format

Advanced syncopation, three accidentals, and a diminished
dominate (d5) make this counterpoint even more challenging!



  • Grade: Fifth
  • Origin: USA – Irving Berlin (1888-1989), 1941
  • Key: E Flat Major 
  • Time: 4/4
  • Form: AB – counterpoint
  • Rhythm: advanced: | ta/a/a ta | ta ta ta ta |
    | ta/a/a (ta) | ta/a/a/a | ta (ta) (ta/a) |
    | ti ti ti ta ti ti ti | syncopation, | ti ti ti ta/a/ | syncopation, | (ta) ta ta ta | (ti) ti ti ti ti ti ta | syncopation
  • Pitches: advanced: Ti Do Re Me Mi Fa So Si La Li Ti Do – lowered/flat mediant (3, Me), raised/natural dominate (5, Si), raised/sharp submediant (6, Li)
  • Intervals: advanced: Mi/So/Ti ascending mediant arpeggio (iii, Gm), Fa\Ti (d5diminished fifth), Ti/So (m6), So/Si (m2), Si/Ti (m3), So\Re (P4), Re/Me/Mi (chromatic m2’s), Mi\Do (m3), La\Fa (m3), Do8\So (P4), La/Li/Ti (chromatic m2’s), Ti8\Fa (P4), So\Mi/So (m3), So/Do (P5)
  • Musical Elements: notes: whole, dotted half, half, quarter, eighth; rests: half, quarter, eighth; tied notes, repeated melodic rhythm patterns, note: the repeated rest on the first beat, chromatic movement; syncopation, counterpoint*: two melodies sung/played at the same time; coda: alternate short ending; coda mark, accidentals: sharp, flat, natural, D.C. al Coda (repeat from beginning, at coda sign go to coda) 
  • Key Words: USA theater history: “Watch Your Step” words and music by Irving Berlin, 1914; music composition: counterpoint, melody, harmony, tune; music types: classical, ragtime; old fashioned, musical drag, choppy, applause; contraction: won’t (will not), you’ll (you will), abbreviation: dreamin’ (dreaming)

* Performance suggestion: sing through song once before splitting into two groups singing at the same time; D.C. al Coda together.


“Play a Simple Melody”

Group 1

Won’t you play a simple melody,
Like my mother sang to me;
One with a good old fashioned harmony
Play a simple melody.

Group 2

Musical demon set your honey a-dreamin’;
Won’t you play me some rag?
Just change that classical nag
To some sweet musical drag.
If you will play from a copy
Of a tune that is choppy.
You’ll get all my applause:
And that is simply because
I want to listen to rag.

Additional Formats (click to enlarge)
"Play a Simple Melody," Music Format
Click to enlarge: "Play a Simple Melody," Beats Format
Click to Enlarge: "Play a Simple Melody," Rhythm Format
pitch numbers
Click to Enlarge: "Play a Simple Melody," Pitch Number Format
Click to Enlarge: "Play a Simple Melody," Solfeggio Format
letter names
Click to Enlarge: "" Letter Names Format