Advertise on ChoralNet 
ChoralNet logo
The mission of the ACDA is to inspire excellence in choral music through education, performance, composition, and advocacy.

lively songs

Engaged in sorting out repertoire for a new small-scale group (8-12) of pretty well experienced singers and looking especially for some lively modern and strictly a capella songs - 'modern', that is, taking in the latter part of the 20th and then the 21st centuries.  Plenty of beautiful pieces available, of course, secular and sacred: Steffen's La Mia Preghiera comes immediately to mind; so does Rupert Lang's Agneau de Dieu; some of Tormis...and so on.
It's not so easy to fetch up songs that move with vigour if not a blast.  Miskinis has an attractive Cantate domino; but I confess an ignorance of similarly inclined secular pieces.  Nothing too difficult, mind...We aren't the BBC chorus!   But Kodaly's Turot eszik a cigane indicates a manageable level.
I'd welcome suggestions and the world, as a gentleman once said, is my lobster.  No language barriers, then.
roly brown,
on June 8, 2014 11:15am
Hello Roland,
I will suggest several pieces.
My piece "Are You Ready?" is an original spiritual written in 2010 that has been extremely well received by singers and audience alike (often the favorite piece for both categories). It is vocally demanding, but worth the work. If you are interested, please contact me at I charge $1.50 per copy made from pdf. Here is a link to a recording:
Hildigunnar Rúnarsdóttir's piece "Psalm 150" is thoroughly delightful. I conducted this piece with my choir in 2013 and it was a pleasure. It is available here on choralnet on the composition showcase:
Jozef Swider's "Cantate Domino could be a good fit. Link:
The following pieces are more well known and are available through most any music distributor.
Ernani Aguiar's "Salmo 150"
Z. Randall Stroope's "Conversion of Saul"
Rosephanye Powell's "The Word Was God"
Gwenyth Walker's setting of "Sounding Joy"
I hope this is of some help.
God Bless,
Michael Sandvik
on June 9, 2014 6:56am
I have a rather unique work that might fit your requirements. It does start more solemnly but then becomes lively. It is called Rosetta and features three faux languages (Latin, French and Swahili) that are eventually all sung at the same time. Check out a clip on my website.
on June 9, 2014 7:55am
Thanks for your inquiry! I'd love to recommend two works:
Nyon Nyon (<-- click the title for a perusal score and more info). Listen below:
Both works are available through JR Music.
All the best,
Jake Runestad
on June 9, 2014 12:27pm
Hi Roly:
Some pieces of mine might work for you; first two are fairly easy; Witches' Blues is somewhat challenging.
Chiribim Chirbom (Published by E.C. Schirmer)  Partial score and full recording at
Half Minyon Nigunim (Published by E.C. Schirmer) Partial score and full recording at
Dodi Li (arrangement of Nira Chen tune).  Excerpted performance by Chicago a cappella at
(full length about 2:25)
Witches' Blues (Witch scene from Macbeth).  Excerpted performance by Chiago a cappella at
(full length just under 5 minutes)
If you are interested in perusal scores for Dodi Li and/or Witches' Blues let me know.
Bob Applebaum
on June 10, 2014 6:37am
Hello Roly,
I do have a lot of lively a capella songs for SATB choir. Particular favourites are:
Dies Sanctificatus (8 parts, galloping along)
Hodie Christus Natus Est (8 parts - "in a lively manner")
Magical Glass (4 parts, folksy)
These three have been successfully performed by SATB choirs and have proved very lively indeed (you can hear recordings at the bottoms of these three pages (Magical Glass is the SSAA version, but you'll get the idea!), and see a score sample if you click on the miniature fragment of score under the main picture.
There are other lively pieces, but from your description of what you want I think these three are most suited to your request. If you want to explore more fully, though, have a look and listen here:
Thanks so much for reading thus far, and good luck with your choir and your repertoire search.
Best wishes,
on June 10, 2014 7:39pm
You mention Kodaly's classic Turot eszik... (See the Gypsies) ; most of my favorite lively secular pieces are similarly folksong-based.  Here are two from about 50 years ago that should not be forgotten:
Michael Hennagin's fantastic Walking on the Green Grass (publ. Boosey&Hawkes) is a classic American folksong arrangement that's rhythmically interesting and has a middle section of unusual harmonies.
There are many exciting Russian folksongs, like the arrangement by O. P. Kolovsky of Na Gorushke Na Gore or "On the Mountain On the Hill" (publ. MCA at one time; not sure now).  Fun and clever.
Kevin Lash
Princeton, NJ
on June 10, 2014 8:33pm
Sing We And Chant It (SATB) by Jack Curtis Dubowsky.
For SATB choir. Choral. Madrigal; Americana; Secular. Octavo. Composed 2001. 8 pages. Duration 1:40. Published by De Stijl Music (D1.SM-01-0003).

A new setting of an old English madrigal. Joyous and inspired by Americana, Southern folk music, and Van Dyke Parks. Upbeat, brisk, energizing, and happy.

Sound recordings on both pages after the jump.


on June 11, 2014 6:08pm
Dear Roland,
I'd like to suggest my own piece Love, thricewise, with texts by Witter Bynner, Emily Dickinson, and Sidney Lanier.  You can see and hear the score here:
and you can purchase it here:
If you have any inclination toward performing American folk music, I'd also suggest my arrangement of Frog went a-courtin'.  You can see, hear, and purchase the score here:
This one is particularly enjoyable and always leaves audiences laughing; Alice Parker said of it: "A charming arrangement...what fun!"
Many thanks for considering my music!
All the best,
Joseph Gregorio
Applauded by an audience of 1
on June 12, 2014 1:30pm
Hello Roland,
Here are three lively pieces of mine that you and your singers might enjoy:
¡Mira! (New York Harasses Sor Juana)
Mexican Baroque nun/philospher/poet argues with contemporary advertising and street talk. In Spanish.
Life Is But a Dream
A dreamy but upbeat fantasia on Row, row, row your boat. This one is more difficult than the others. Please contact me if you'd like a perusal score and recording.
Appalacian folk song surounded by bird calls.
best wishes,
on June 29, 2014 3:33am
Many thanks to all you who responded to my enquiry.  Much food for thought.
roly brown,
on June 30, 2014 8:02am
Hello Roly,
I'd like to recommend a rather fun piece which I wrote a while back, but still late 20th century! It is called Epitaphs, and is a humorous, sometimes boisterous SATB work, the text of which is a collection of tombstone inscriptions from English country church cemeteries. Beginning with "Here lies I no wonder I'm dead, for a broad wheel'd wagon went over my head.", it ends with "Stranger approach this spot with gravity, John Brown the Dentist is filling his last cavity".   Fun!
donald patriquin
  • You must log in or register to be able to reply to this message.