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Lesson 1: Learning “Shina Vorgil”

Aim: How are form, tempo, and harmony used in this traditional Georgian song?

Summary: Students will sing “Shina Vorgil” in choirs; learn about call-and-response form, harmony, and accelerando; and experience spatial effects.
Materials: Musical Explorers digital resources, Musical Explorers Student Guide
Standards: National 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 11
Vocabulary: accelerando, call and response, choir, harmony, tempo

Although Georgia is a very small country, the regions within it have their own distinct identities. “Shina Vorgil” comes from Svaneti, a mountainous region with a long tradition of polyphonic music. The Svan language is only spoken by a handful of people today. So while the music still survives, the lyrics often cannot be translated.

Ilusha Teaches “Shina Vorgil”

“Shina Vorgil” Demonstration

Georgian Folk artist Ilusha teaches his arrangement of the traditional Georgian folk song “Shina Vorgil.”

Sing “Shina Vorgil”

  • Listen to “Shina Vorgil,” Track 3. Note that the form of the song is call and response with one group or choir echoing the other.
  • Learn the lyrics using “Shina Vorgil” pronunciation, Track 4.
  • As you listen to “Shina Vorgil” call and response, Track 5, sing the response together as a group. Please note that the learning track includes each call and response only once.
  • Notice how the tempo of the song gets faster and faster.
    • Tempo is the speed at which music is played.
    • When music gets faster and faster, it is called accelerando.

“Shina Vorgil”

Choir 1

CALL:
Shina vorgili vorgili voisa
O shina vorgege eh
(x3)
Vorgili vorgili vorgili voisa
O shina vorgege eh
(x3)
Voisa rera voisa vorera
Voisa voisa rera
(x3)
Voisa voisa vorera
Voisa voisa rera
(x2)
Voisa rera voisa vorera
Voisa voisa rera

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

All

Voisa rera voisa vorera
Voisa voisa rera
(x3)
Huh!

 

Choir 2

RESPONSE:
Shina vorgili vorgili voisa
O shina vorgege eh
(x3)
Vorgili vorgili vorgili voisa
O shina vorgege eh
(x3)
Voisa rera voisa vorera
Voisa voisa rera
(x3)
Voisa voisa vorera
Voisa voisa rera
(x2)

Explore Accelerando and Spatial Effects in “Shina Vorgil”

  • Explore the form of the song “Shina Vorgil” with your students.
    • The phrases are repeated and exchanged through call and response.
    • The call and response is between two groups of singers, or choirs, rather than between a single leader and a group. Call and response between two choirs is characteristic of Georgian music.
  • Divide the class into two choirs. Sing “Shina Vorgil,” with one choir calling and the other responding.
  • Switch parts and sing the song again, this time adding the accelerando. The first choir will control how much faster the song gets.
  • Experiment with what happens when the choirs are separated to achieve a spatial effect. Place the choirs in different locations around the room and alter the distance between the two groups. You can also place some students between the choirs as the “audience” so they can experience the effect.
  • Reflect with your students on the effect of space on the sound.
    • What was it like to sing in different positions?
    • How did the sound change depending on where the choirs were standing?
    • How did it feel to stand between the two choirs?
    • Which way sounded the best?

Discover Harmony in “Shina Vorgil”

This activity will provide an initial introduction to the concept of harmony.
  • Listen to “Shina Vorgil,” Track 3, again.
    • Can you hear the melody that you learned?
    • Is everyone singing the melody? Can you guess how many different parts are being sung?
  • Explain that there are three parts: the melody that the students learned and two other parts, which complement the melody. Note that the rhythm is the same across all three voices, but the pitches are different.
  • Explain that the combination of two or more pitches played or sung together is called harmony. Georgian music is often performed with three-part harmony: One voice sings the melody; another sings notes above the melody; and the final sings notes below the melody.
  • Sing the harmony lines in “Shina Vorgil” for your students, or play them using “Shina Vorgil” harmonies, Track 6.
    • How do each of these lines sound similar to the melody we learned?
    • How are they different?
  • Have your students sing the melody while you accompany them with your voice with one of the other harmony lines.
  • For an added challenge, your students can sing a harmony line.
Creative Extension

Explore the Georgian Language

On Explore the Georgian Language (PDF), your students will learn about the Georgian language. They will discover that the language is unrelated to any other language in the world and has its own alphabet.

Musical Word Wall

Add the words accelerando, call and response, choir, harmony, and tempo to the Musical Word Wall.

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