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SSA or SSAA: Humorous

Date: Sun, 29 Sep 1996 21:59:54 -0400
From: JonC(a)
Subject: Compilation of posts on SSAA Humerous Lit

To all who responded, thanks. I look forward to getting acquainted with your
Jon O. Carlson

Summary is as follows:

There's a very nice setting of the poem "When I'm an old woman I shall wear
purple..." The setting is called "Fair Warning" and it's accompanied.
I'm at home and don't have composer/publisher info...

M Steighner

What about "Caroline Million" (#2 from a set called "The Choral New Yorker")
by Irving Fine? This is a fun, tough, rewarding piece for SSAA, solos &
piano. The publisher is Carl Fischer #CM 7961. Happy hunting!

Ann Foster

"Four Russian Peasant Songs" by Stravinsky (two versions exist: a
cappella, and another, later revision w. 4 horns obbligato). -- almost
non-sensical folk texts, music has that Stravinskian "bite" of wit and
humor. (A phonetic transcription is available from Musica Russica,
although we do not have a published edition of these works.) e-mail us
at: rusmuscat(a)

Vladimir Morosan

Ask E. C. Schirmer for their catalogue of music by Gwyneth Walker. Much of
it is humorous, and she is a very good composer as well. Contemporary but
with tunes.

dick drysdale

When I directed Cantus here at Shenandoah, my ladies enjoyed
Rutter's HEAVENLY AEROPLANE, but it uses piano and drums. I
also used Jean Berger's Three Pieces for Women's Chorus (I
believe is the name). Text for one of the selections deals
with a kangaroo. I don't have a copy in front of me. Hope
that will be enough to get your started.


I vote for "Single Girl" arr. by David Stocker (Thomas House Publications

Vern Sanders

Check with Bill Ganz at UC Berkeley. The Women's chorale had a great
arrangement of "Ma, he's makin' eyes at me".

Of course, if they want to try arranging, I would point them towards the
song "Men" by the Forrester Sisters. Very funny (My coed quintet is going
to do it).

And we have several funny songs in the CASA library, including Hey Daddy
and It's Raining on Prom Night. Membership is only $15/yr for a person,
and you can get 4 songs every 4 months. + newsletter, etc.

Paul Sinasohn

Have you tried the Lloyd Pfaustch "Laughing Song" for SSAA choirs.
The accompaniment is for flute, and is really fun - very rhythmic.
Another more serious but highly entertaining is a piece with piano
accompaniment from Ron Nelsons "Three Songs of the Moon" (I think this is
correct) I've only done the movement titled "Ask the Moon". Easy, but
nice. Hope this has helped in a small way.

Johnny Ray Jones, DMA

Let The Church Roll On arr. Hariston
Alto's Lament Bowlus

R.D. Mathey

Off the top of my head I thought of Randall thompson's "God's Bottles," on
a text of the Women's CHristian temperance Union. And there are some
madrigals that are kind of funny, like Este's (East's) "Your Shining Eyes"
(Your shining eyes and golden hair, your lily-rosed lips most
cannot choose but like them well. But when they say for them they'll die,
Believe them not, they do but lie!)

Not much help...

David Griggs-Janower

Check out Michelle Weir's arrangement of Rock a Bye Baby.

Milton Olsson

Hymn to the Him of True Love-Lloyd Pfautsch (Lawson Gould)--hope it's still
in print
Also by Pfautsch---Songs My Grossmamma Sang (or something like that)--at
take off on Brahms Liebeslieder
You might look to see if "Old Mother Hubbard" is in a treble arrangement
(or that you could use the TTBB)

Lynne Bradley

My new publishing enterprise, Treble Clef Music Press, has several folk song
settings that otheres have enjoyed and you may too:

TC-109: "Housekeeper's Tragedy", North Carolina folk song arr. Hermene
Eichhorn, a silly song about a grime-fighting housewife who finally "lay down
and died and was buried in dirt". SSA, soprano and alto solo, piano.
Audiences love it.

TC-117: "Old Grandma", Candian folk song arr. Alice Parker, lists the pioneer
woman's staggering list of chores, says, "It's no wonder Grandma's hair
turned gray". SSAA, piano.

TC-119: "Punching the dough", Canadian folksong arr. Alice Parker, on how it
takes more gumption to shoot out biscuits than it does (for the guys) to
shoot out windows and lights. SSAA, piano. Both Parker songs have wonderful
rhythmic structures and very rewarding independent piano parts.

(Incidentally, the middle piece in this set, "Away, far down the river," is
the pioneer bride's farewell to everything she knows as she goes west, and is
absolutely lovely and haunting.)

While you may think I have cornered the market on grumpy housewife songs, of
course there is Zae Munn's wonderful "The Stove", published by earthsongs in
the set "The Muse, the Stove, and the Willow Plate." SSA a cappella, "One
day my mother took up a sledgehammer, and pounded her kitchen stove into
bits. She served cold cuts to my father for lunch." My chorus sang this and
adored it. It's very skillfully written--with rests after all the best laugh

And do not forget "The sow took the measles" (SSA and piano), Hinshaw, with
which the Seattle Girls' Choir brought down the house at the 1993 ACDA
convention in San Antonio. Or Shirley MacRae's "When I am an old woman I
shall wear purple" (SSA and piano), Plymouth Music, with which the
Indianapolis Children's Chorus did ditto.

There's also a Gwyneth Walker setting published by ECS of a folksong whose
exact title I forget, but it's along the lines of "See what love has done,"
and is about unmarried pregnancy.

I shall be coming out with a couple of silly songs next year, so stay tuned.

If you would like a catalogue of my stuff (19 pieces, with little teeny first
pages of almost everything and a half-price offer for reference copies), just
drop me your snailmail address and I'll be glad to send it.

Best wishes,
Mary Lycan
Editor and Proprietor
Treble Clef Music Press
415 Wesley Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27516-1521
phone/FAX 919-932-5455

WOW! Choralist comes through again! What wonderful replies I got to my
question of finding some humorous pieces for SSA/SSAA. Here's what I have
received so far...

"A Girl's Garden" by Randall Thompson. It is part of the Frostiana series
(settings of Robert Frost's poetry). You'll need a great pianist!

"Hello Girls" by Lloyd Pfautsch

I recently performed a piece I wrote for my women's choir, and it provided a
light moment in a program of more serious music. It sets ee cummings's poem
entitled "maggie and milly and molly and may," and is scored for SA, flute
and piano. megcollins(a)

This may not fit your needs, but we've always had good luck with The Night
Song from Britten's opera "The Little Sweep" (Boosey & Hawkes).
The choir sings unison verses about four groups of birds who compete for who
sings best. The AUDIENCE takes the part of the birds. You have fun
"rehearsing" the audience, one section of listeners as owls, another as
herons, another as doves, and another as finches. There is one verse for
each group, and two at the end ofr all combined together. This sounds
unendurably corny, and it would be, in the hands of anyone but Britten. The
piano part is not easy, but it adds greatly to the "dash"
of the music. OK, the song is a little silly, and the poetry is only
modestly good, but audiences do get a kick out of joining in.
Brooks Grantier, The Battle Creek Boychoiur, Battle Creek, MI

I have a few settings for women I'd like you to consider. You can see the
scores and hear recordings by clicking on the links below:

Frog Song -
Spring Rain -

Agnus Dei -
Arise My Love, My Fair One -

Brad Nelson
San Diego, CA

How about Shakespeare Rutter's "It was a lover and his lass"

MR. RABBIT (SSA) is handled by Colla Voce Music, Inc. , 4600 Sunset Ave.,
#83, Indianapolis, IN 46208. The order number is 55-26200. Contact . This piece is an African-American folksong arrangement about
an encounter between a rabbit and a man who has never seen such an animal.
The humorous dialogue between them is delightful to an audience.

MOCKING BIRD, THE: (SSAA voices and "selected voices" or violin) Richard
Milburn, 1855, composed this piece, but most people believe it is a
folksong. A country fiddler may be used instead of selected voices. "The
Mocking Bird" has had many performances and has been enjoyed by listeners
all over America

Do you know Shirley McCrae's setting of "when I am old?' It is called "Fair
Warning" and is delightful. It used to be published by Henry Leck's
company, Plymouth Music. I was able to order it through
my retailer, Musical Resources in Toledo, OH. 1-800-377-0234 If
any of your women are interested in the Red Hat Society, this is their
"theme song."

Needs a good pianist.

Hilary Apfelstadt
The Ohio State University

You might want to look at my "The Traveler", a SSAA setting of a humorous
poem by Australian poet C J Dennis. It's published by Morton Music, and
distributed in the USA by Musical Resources Inc. See the website

Noel Ancell
Melbourne, Australia

You might like to look at my setting of the Kentucky Mountain song: 'I'm an
old maid' published by Alliance Music (Houston, TX). It's certainly humorous
- a setting for two sopranos- and the text, whilst not exactly poetic is
certainly a hoot!

Jabberwocky, set by John Carter
Lewis Carroll's work.

The second of my THREE JAPANESE LYRICS is called:
A DOG WALKS and is on a wonderful poem by Japanese poet Michio Mado and has
been translated into English by no less than the Empress Michiko of Japan.
It is pub. by Boosey and Hawkes. Also my SOCRATES, PLATO AND SINATRA for 4
equal voices and piano would work. It is graffiti. It is from Alliance Music

Wayland Rogers
2236 West Dickens
Chicago, IL 60647

LOVE SONGS IN THE ROUND by John Biggs. See it listed at:

Paul Mark
Mouse Madrigal, arranged by Steven Porter is a funny twist on "Three Blind
Mice." SSA a cappella

William Mathias' LearSongs pub by oxford. Piano 4 hands. Great!

I don't have copies anymore, but Arthur Frackenpohl wrote some SA limerick
settings that are very silly and funny maybe someone on Choralist could
give you more specific information. I think the correct title is "Three

Try Bartok's Breadbaking. Such fun.

You may be interested in my setting for women's chorus of "A Rainy Day," by
19th Century American poet John Brainard. The premiere performance, given
by the Arkansas State University Women's Chorus on January 30, 2004, may be
heard on my website at The full text for the piece
is below. I would be happy to provide a perusal copy of the score by email
(as a pdf file) or by regular mail (hardcopy). Greg Bartholomew

Greg Bartholomew

Email: info(a)

I am a published composer in Cleveland, Ohio, and I have a set of three
pieces for SSA, two of which are humorous and all of which can be performed
individually. They are unpublished and have not yet been performed. If you
wish to reply or call me with a mailing address I will send manuscript
drafts (I am still proofing them for errors but they are almost ready).

Thank you,
Alan J. Higbee
(216) 595-1262
on June 22, 2006 10:00pm
Have a look at the Vacuum songs (Three Ways to Vacuum the House I, II, III) by Canadian Stephen Hatfield. They are tricky, but worth the work.
on July 19, 2006 10:00pm
"Dear John, Dear John" (Punctuated by Love?) by Stephen M. Hopkins and written for SSAA is very clever.
on July 2, 2007 10:00pm
In the 1940s my high school choir, Cleveland Heights High School, sang a piece called The Housewife's Lament. It was a complex, fugal arrangement, quite jazzy and quite difficult but lots of fun.. I found the words and tune as a folk song but can not find this arrangement, and the choir director, George Strickling, is dead, so unavailable for questioning. I do not know the composer. If you can locate it you are a genuis. 520-648-5877 is my phone Thanks. June Wortman.
on November 24, 2008 10:00pm
Try "Cold and Fugue Season" arranged by Diane Foncannon. It is adapted from J.S. Bach's Little Organ Fugue and very fun for high school age singers especially. There is even a part for a "designated sneezer" at the end!