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Ward Swingle

Ward Swingle was the product of an unusually liberal musical education. In his hometown, Mobile, Alabama, he grew up with the sound of jazz and played in one of the great Big Bands before finishing High School. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Cincinnati Conservatory and studied piano with the celebrated Walter Gieseking in postwar France. In Paris in the sixties he was a founding member of the fabled Double Six of Paris, then took the scat singing idea and applied it to the works of Bach, hence The Swingle Singers, whose early recordings won five Grammies.

When the Paris group disbanded in l973, Ward Swingle moved to London and formed an English group, expanding the repertoire to include classical and avang-garde works along with the scat and jazz vocal arrangements.

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Arrangements | Recordings

Songbooks, Arrangements and/or Media

Displaying 1-14 of 14 items.


Ward Swingle : Suite Quebecoise : SSAATTBB : Sheet Music

Ward Swingle : Suite Quebecoise

Canada has a rich lore of folk music. The three melodies in this Suite come from the province of Quebec. These arrangements were commissioned by the McGill Univeristy Chamber Choir in Montreal.

Songlist: Tout garcon qui sert, Le Roi Boit, Rossignolet

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Voicing: SSAATTBB | Performed by Swingle Singers | 4394b | Sheet Music | $5.50


Ward Swingle : Swingle Bells Set 1 : Sheet Music

Ward Swingle : Swingle Bells Set 1

A collection of Christmas medleys. From the arranger: This medley has a strong jazz feeling with "Jingle Bells" in a fast tempo, "Il est ne" half that fast and Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen" half as fast again. As with my Bach arrangements, this medley contains a fusion of jazz and classical styles. "God Rest You Merry Gentlemen" is treated here in a medium-tempo jazz style including some scat singing. "The First Noel" is in a more traditional choral style whereas "Go Tell It On the Mountain" has a strong Dixieland feeling. "El Noi de la Mare" is one of my all-time favorite melodies. It comes from the Catalan region near Barcelona. I've given the Czech carol "Hanej, nynej, Jeziski" ("Rocking Carol") a Mozart-like accompaniment, and Canzone d'i Zampagnari" some rhythms suggesting Italian folk music. The Norwegian carol "O Jul med din Glede" has "bouree" rhythms contrasted with a light, jazz feeling. "Komt, Verwondert u hier Menson" (Dutch) has a "pop" style with even 8th notes. "Away in a Manger" is done as a bass solo with string-like accompaniment.

Songlist: Swingle Bells I, Swingle Bells II, Swingle Bells III, Swingle Bells IV, Swingle Bells V

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Performed by Swingle Singers | 4404b | Sheet Music | $9.95 | Synth, bass, drum


Ward Swingle : Swingle Bells Set 2 : Sheet Music

Ward Swingle : Swingle Bells Set 2

"Les anges dans nos campagnes" should have a careful "fusion" of classical and jazz styles. I've arranged "O Tannenbaum" as a duet for baritone and soprano combining the German text with some scat singing. "Bel Astre que j'adore" is a simple arrangement with a soprano solo. Silent Night, the most famous of all Christmas melodies, doesn't require a lot of comment. The voices accompanying the alto solo simulate muted brass sounds in the first verse and become woodwinds in the second. "Deck the Halls" starts out in a fast, Mozart-like style then transforms into medium-tempo, big band feeling. "What Child is This?" has a soprano solo with some improvisational scat singing and an accompaniment in 3/4 jazz tempo. Includes "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," "Twas in the Moon of Wintertime," and "Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella." "Swingle Bells X" was commissioned by the Mid-America Singers and I have added it to the already existing "Swingle Bells" medleys. This one mixes Latin, Huron and French carols. I was surprised by how easily they fit together!

Songlist: Swingle Bells VI, Swingle Bells VII, Swingle Bells VIII, Swingle Bells IX, Swingle Bells X

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Performed by Swingle Singers | 4410b | Sheet Music | $9.95


Ward Swingle : Swingle Classics : SSAATTBB : Sheet Music

Ward Swingle : Swingle Classics

The Swingle Singers often use "Flight Of The Bumble-Bee"as an encore piece. It has to go as fast as possible using a great variety of scat syllables in order to avoid lock-jaw. It also includes a fairly literal vocal transcription of Debussy's famous piano piece, "Claire de Lune." The tessituras are quite wide ranging from low D-flats for the basses to high B-flats for the sopranos. It is probably best sung with the help of microphones. This transciption of a Chopin "Etude Op. 25 No.9" is probably easier to sing than it is to play! It should be performed at a brisk pace, with the main melody alternating between the Tenors and the First Sopranos. "Overture to Marriage of Figaro" - It was an interesting challenge to arrange this wonderful overture for eight voices. My group has often used it to open a concert. Of course it is very difficult but quite a few choirs have managed to master it. I think it works equally well on or off mikes, as long as a proper balance is maintained among the voices. Ward Swingle

Songlist: Flight of the Bumble-Bee, Clair de Lune, Etude 25 No. 9, Overture to Marriage of Figaro

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Voicing: SSAATTBB | Performed by Swingle Singers | 6286b | Sheet Music | $8.50 | A Cappella


Ward Swingle : Swingle Folk : SSAATTBB : Sheet Music

Ward Swingle : Swingle Folk

'Pastime With Good Company' is an evocation of Renaissance vocal and instrumental styles in which some of the singers are asked to imitate recorders, tabors and shaums. 'The Agincourt Song' recounts the victory of Henry V over the French at Agincourt. As in 'Pastime with Good Company,' the singers must imitate the sounds of Renaissance instruments. 'Country Dances' is a fast-moving potpourri of traditional country tunes. One theme that recurs is that of the Arkansas Traveler. The accompanying sounds evoke various country-music instruments: fiddles, banjos, jugs, etc. 'Music History 101 is a trip through Music History to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," treated as a Gregorian Chant, a Medieval Round, a Madrigal, a Bach Chorale, a Schubert Lied and many other styles including jazz and rap. El paisanito features an alto duet with an accompaniment that imitates strumming Spanish guitars. In the men's version, the duet is sung by two male altos. 'L'amour de moi' features a soprano solo with a string-like accompaniment along with vocalized bass and drums. The three melodies in 'Tour garcon qui sert bien son maitre' come from the province of Quebec. These arrangements were commissioned by the McGill Univeristy Chamber Choir in Montreal.

Songlist: Pastime with Good Company, The Agincourt Song , L'amour de moi, Country Dances, El paisanito, Music History 101

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Voicing: SSAATTBB | Performed by Swingle Singers | 6287b | Sheet Music | $13.95 | A Cappella


Ward Swingle : Swingle Originals : Mixed 5-8 Parts : Sheet Music

Ward Swingle : Swingle Originals

'How Do I Love Thee' is a a traditional choral setting of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's wonderful poem. 'Tre Karleksdikter' means 'Three love-poems.' These are settings of well-known Swedish poets, and would present a good challenge for a choir wanting to explore the Swedish language. 'It Was A Lover And His Lass' is a setting of Shakepeare's famous sonnet. The text has a lot of scat-like syllables (e.g. "hey-ding-a-ding") which Ward Swingle was able to adapt and use as part of the guitar-like accompaniment.

Songlist: It was a lover and his lass, How do I love thee?, Tre Karleksdikter

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Voicing: Mixed 5-8 Parts | Performed by Swingle Singers | 6288b | Sheet Music | $5.50 | A Cappella


Ward Swingle : Swingle Standards : Mixed 5-8 Parts : Sheet Music

Ward Swingle : Swingle Standards

This wonderful Neal Hefti composition, "Li'l Darlin," was written for the Count Basie band. Master word-spinner Jon Hendricks has added some lovely, romantic lyrics. This 8-voice SSAATTBB a cappella treatment of "I Get A Kick Out You" is one of Cole Porter's best loved songs. Some of the scat is in hommage to the Double Six of Paris. "Love Walks In" lies in the great pantheon of Gershwin songs. Ward Swingle made a rather easy SATB arrangement dedicated to Cole Tyrell and his fine South Haven (Michigan) High School Choir. This is an 8-voice SSAATTBB a cappella version of the well-known Cole Porter standard. In this version of "It's Just One Of Those Things" the scat can be sung as written, or improvised upon. Since it goes along at quite a clip, it can stand a few rehearsals. This arrangement of "All The Things You Are," the wonderful Jerome Kern song, is separated into three sections: the beginning is in a free, traditional choral style, then there is some typical "Swingle" scatting, followed by a big-band section. It was recently voted "Favorite Vocal Jazz Chart" by a group of choral directors who specialize in jazz repertoire.

Songlist: Love Walked In, All the Things You Are, I Get A Kick Out of You, Just One Of Those Things, Li'l Darlin

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Voicing: Mixed 5-8 Parts | Performed by Swingle Singers | 6289b | Sheet Music | $10.95 | A Cappella


Ward Swingle : Swingle Jazz : SSAATTBB : Sheet Music

Ward Swingle : Swingle Jazz

This version of "Oh, Johnny, Oh" is an evocation of the Andrews Sisters' recording. Three soloists become the Andrews Sisters, while the other singers scat the accompaniment (brass, rhythm and bass guitar). Here the singers have to keep things swinging without the help of bass and drums. Al Jarreau wrote some wonderefully "onomatopaeic" words for Brubeck's fine piano piece, "Blue Rondo a' la Turk.". Ward Swingle transcribed the piano part as faithfully as possible for voices.Perhaps Kurt Weill's most famous song, Mack the Knife was written during his Berlin period, first sung by his wife Lotte Lenya; and later, in a very popular jazz version, by the great Bobby Darin. "Saints Fugue" was first written for the French Swingle group in the early 70's using only scat syllables. Ward Swingle revised it later adding the traditional words.

Songlist: Oh, Johnny, Oh!, Saints Fugue, Blue Rondo a la Turk, Mack The Knife

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Voicing: SSAATTBB | Performed by Swingle Singers | 6290b | Sheet Music | $7.50 | A Cappella


Ward Swingle : A Cappella Jazz for SSAA : SSAA : Sheet Music

Ward Swingle : A Cappella Jazz for SSAA

Here's a collection of arrangements by Ward for unaccompanied women's voices. This arrangement of the old Irving Berlin standard "I Got Rhythm" evokes a Dixieland combo while Ellington's "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" swings with a fun opportunity for some voices to scat. "It Was a Lover and His Lass" also has a lot of scat-like syllables (e.g. "hey-ding-a-ding") while "Reeds of Innocence" has a strong rhythmic element in the writing, with vocal imitations of flute sounds. It goes along at rather a moderate pace and is not difficult to sing. This is a fun collection for singers and for audiences alike.

Songlist: Don't Get Around Much Anymore, I Got Rhythm, It Was a Lover and His Lass, Reeds of Innocence

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Voicing: SSAA | Performed by Swingle Singers | 7686b | Sheet Music | $9.95 | A Cappella


Ward Swingle : Eine Kleine Nachtmusik - Mozart : SATB : Sheet Music

Ward Swingle : Eine Kleine Nachtmusik - Mozart

Here are the four movements of Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nacthmusik," which Ward Swingle has arranged for voices with the hopes that groups will perform the piece in its entirety. For the Swingle Singers this offered a change from the succession of 2- or 3-minutes pieces typical of many of their programs. Rondo is a good exercise in fast, intricate scat singing and Menuetto is often used in Ward's seminars to introduce the whole "vocal-instrumental" concept.

Songlist: Menuetto , Rondo , Allegro , Romance

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Voicing: SATB | Performed by Swingle Singers | 9014b | Sheet Music | $8.50 | A Cappella


Ward Swingle : Johann Sebastian Bach Vol 1 : Mixed 5-8 Parts : Sheet Music : VJ1299

Ward Swingle : Johann Sebastian Bach Vol 1

"Gigue (Suite in C Major)" is a movement from one of Bach's unaccompanied Cello sonatas, arranged here for tenor and bass. It has a fast 3/4 jazz feeling, with some tricky dove-tailing between the voices, the object being to make it sound like on instrument. The Swingle Singers have often used this "Organ Fugue BMV 578" as a concert opener. The challenge in singing without a rhythm section is to make the piece swing without the help of the instruments.The "Bourree" has probably been the most widely performed of all Ward Swingle arrangements. This is an a cappella version using three different styles: child-like "la-la-la's," gently swinging "oo" sounds and rather brassy "ah" sounds.

Songlist: Organ Fugue, Bourree, Gigue, Gavotte

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Voicing: Mixed 5-8 Parts | Performed by Swingle Singers | 9047b | Sheet Music | $6.95 | A Cappella


Ward Swingle : Swingle Jazz 2 : Mixed 5-8 Parts : Sheet Music

Ward Swingle : Swingle Jazz 2

Cole Porter's "Miss Otis Regrets" is an ironic tale of betrayal, revenge and punishment in the form of a minidrama compressed into some 48 measures. It's surely one of the most startlingly original standards in the repetoire. Arranged for 19 voices, "Chatanooga Choo-Choo" was made famous by Tex Benecke, the Modernaires and the Glenn Miller Band. Ward Swingle has attempted a faithful, entirely vocal, adaptation. Also included in this package is "You're The Top."

Songlist: Chatanooga Choo Choo, Fascinating Rhythm, You're the Top, Miss Otis Regrets

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Voicing: Mixed 5-8 Parts | Performed by Swingle Singers | 9048b | Sheet Music | $11.50 | A Cappella


Ward Swingle : Schubert - Moment Musical : Mixed 5-8 Parts : Sheet Music

Ward Swingle : Schubert - Moment Musical

Leonard Bernstein once said of Beethoven that when he had a choice of notes, he always picked the right one. The same can be said of Franz Schubert. His unerring choice of notes produced some of music's greatest melodies. A must for your medium jazz ensemble!

Songlist: Moment Musical Op.94 No. 2, Moment Musical Op. 94 No. 3, Moment Musical Op. 94 No. 6

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Voicing: Mixed 5-8 Parts | Performed by Swingle Singers | 9709b | Sheet Music | $6.95 | A Cappella


Ward Swingle : Johann Sebastian Bach Vol II : SATB : Sheet Music

Ward Swingle : Johann Sebastian Bach Vol II

These various Bach tunes are some of the finest of Ward Swingle's arrangements. The rich flowing harmonies, and clever voice leading provide a nice challenge for an intermediate jazz choir. A must have in your Ward Swingle Collection!

Songlist: Fugue in D Minor (Art of the Fugue), Aria Suite in D Major, Largo, Prelude No. 22

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Voicing: SATB | Performed by Swingle Singers | 9710b | Sheet Music | $6.95 | A Cappella


Individual Folios

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Gigue : SATB : Ward Swingle : Sheet Music : 1358

Ward Swingle : Gigue

Arranger: Ward Swingle

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Voicing: SATB | Sheet Music | $0.95 | A Cappella |
(Minimum order 4 copies)
| 1358

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