Four Little Angels

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Instrumental Only?

  • Text Source: Shaker, from the songbo,Ok of Sister Mary Hazard
  • Tune Source: Shaker, Sabbathday Lake
  • Worship Use: General /Praise/Choir Dedication
  • Vocal Part(s):  Three-part (canon)                        
  •  Vocal Range: All parts, e flat – e flat’
  • Key: A flat major                                      
  • Meter: 2/4
  • Accompanying Instrument(s): violoncello and harp (or piano or organ)

Target Age Group: Grades 3-6

Description: Four Little Angels is a charming, exuberant anthem culminating in a three-part canonical presentation of the repeated stanza.  One of six Shaker source anthems offered in the Viva Voce 2011-2012 curriculum, this anthem provides an opportunity for choristers to work on diction in a quickly-paced anthem. The setting is Bartok-like in character, very appropriate in worship as a choral introit or anthem, or in a Spring concert presentation.

Anthem Warm-Ups

  • bars 5-6: “Four little angels ” - intervallic tuning
  • random bars: solfege singing of parts for interval awareness

Teaching Points

  • Rhythm/Meter: Executing exact performance of 8th note followed by two 16th notes rhythm pattern; executing a dance-like feel in 2/4, not over-emphasizing the second beat of each bar
  • Intervallic Tuning: Tuning melodic ascending and descending thirds and tuning harmonic intervals among the three parts of the canon
  • Music History: Learning about early Shaker tunes and texts
  • Music History/Style Exploration: Listening to/watching a variety of choral performances of Shaker music

Four little angels stand in a ring
Calling us to sing! sing! sing!
O sing little children,
Sing to God up above;
Come sing with the angels
Bringing news of God's love.