Posted in Project 8: Rounds and Catches

Catch 1: My Lady’s C’s, U’s n’ T’s

Note: Before you look at my catch, you can read the research I’ve done on the subject here.


After writing two rounds, I’ve decided to try writing a catch. This genre, as I mentioned in my research, usually requires lyrics with vulgar and humorous associations, often joined by some kind of play with words and double entendre. For that reason I’ve dug around the web a bit and found some dirty jokes hidden throughout Shakespeare’s works.

The first catch in its melodic form looks like this:

my lady.PNG

Here it is fully notated with all the voices sounding:

my lady 2.PNG

The lyrics are based on Twelfth Night: Act 2, Scene 5, where Malvolio receives a latter that he believes is from Olivia, for whom he works as a steward. As he investigates the penmanship, he declares:

By my life, this is my lady’s hand these be her
very C’s, her U’s and her T’s and thus makes she her
great P’s.

Obviously, he spelled a lewd word there and even added the extra toilet humor at the end.

Since these are Malvolio’s lines, they are sang by tenors. The catch is in fast, Vivo tempo, which I think suits the playful lyrics really well. The key is the simple C major, starting on a dominant anacrusis. Although I tried to follow the second progression given in Example 36, I extended it a bit to I – V – vi – ii – V – I, with the last dominant-tonic progression repeating until the end.

While I played with hockets – combination of notes and rests, I didn’t really manage to merge the words to get more direct vulgarity. The fast tempo didn’t allow me to do this, and even so, I think the best effect is produced when the lyrics are naive at first, until the words aren’t combined by different voices – shocking the listener. Shakespeare’s wordplay, I believe, was enough on its own. Still, I don’t think that the hockets were unnecessary, but rather, they added to the playfulness.

I really liked playing with this genre. Also check out my second round here.

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