Son Macaron

This week has been my spring break.  It's been wonderful: relaxing and full of time with my husband and two kids.  But regardless of if I am on a break or not, my mind always floats around school things.  It's definitely a blessing that I love what I do!!

I mentioned yesterday that I am behind in my curriculum.  With 4th grade, by this point in the school year, I would have presented high do, ti-TA-ti (syn-co-oa), tam-ti and ti-tam and would be working on presenting and practicing fa.  I love teaching fa; there are so many great songs.  Songs that incorporate movement ("Wishy, Washy," "The Noble Duke of York", "Alabama Gal", "Skipping Rope Song"), part-singing ("Above the Plain," Oh How Lovely," "Make New Friends", "Chairs to Mend"), improvisation ("Mama Lama," "I Don't Care if the Rain Comes Down") and songs that tell stories ("Daughter Will You Marry," "Father Grumble," "When I First Came to This Land," "The Snake Baked a Hoecake," The Gypsy Rover").  I prepare and present fa through the descending melodic phrase of "so-fa-mi-re-do."  After this pattern is taught we start exploring fa though other melodic patterns and intervals.  

One of my favorite fa practice songs is "Son Macaron."  If you look at the rhythm: it is very simple but reinforces tam-ti, which is a 4th grade concept.  The other thing that I love about it is it's great practice for mi-fa-so & mi-fa-so-la patterns. In fact, the whole song, with the exception of the last four measures, really isolates these pitches.  An added bonus?  It has a game that is familiar to the students, with an added level of difficulty!

Formation: circle (seated or standing- I find that with the number of "eliminations" that occur with this game it is best to stand)

  1. Players have their left hand with the palm side up.  Their right hand is placed in their neighbor's left hand.
  2. While singing the song, the leader crosses over his/her body with his/her right hand to clap the right hand of the neighbor to the left (just like "Aquaqua" or "Down By the Banks"), who then passes the beat to the left and so on around the circle.
  3. On "tip, tip, tip" the person passing the beat claps the rhythm instead (3 claps) and the same for "tap, tap, tap."
  4. On the word "out," the person about to receive the beat tries to pull his/her hand away so as not to get tapped.  If tapped, that person is out and goes into the middle of the circle.  If he/she pulls their hand out, then the person trying to tap is out and goes into the middle of the circle.  Once there are three players in the middle, a new circle starts of "outed" players in the middle.   Play continues so that a game is going on in both circles.  Once the inside circle has more players then the outside, the circle switch places and the players who get out in the original circle (now the middle circle) join the outside circle until there is a winner.
  5. Once students have learned the song very well, there is an added twist: if the player that is to pat the rhythm on "tip, tip, tip" or "tap, tap, tap" forgets to tap the rhythm he/she is out.  And likewise, if the person who is to have the rhythm tapped on their hand if out if he/she forgets and pulls their hand too early.


  1. I love your blog, Amy! A quick question about "Son Macaron": do you know where it is from? I tried doing research about its origin but didn't have much luck.

    1. Thanks Aileen. You know, I thought I had it written on my master copy who I learned it from but I didn't for some reason. My first intial thought was I had learned if from Susan Brumfield, but I also remember doing it at a session I went to at the Oregon Arts Alliance conference in Eugene in 2001, but I can't remember the clinician's name. He was the general music professor at the U of O. I know I have it in some notes but it will take some digging. .. I'll post it as soon as I find it.

    2. Okay, I found Susan Brumfield's mastercopy and here's what she says about Son Macaron:
      "The word, "Son Macaron" are nonsense, though they sound to the children like an exotic foreign language. As of this time, I have not come across te song in any print collection. The passing game, however, is widely known throughout the United States and is played with a number of songs, including "A Qua Qua" and "Down by the Banks of the Hanky Panky.""

  2. My Orff Level III teacher had us do Son Macaron with passing a real ball
    then she made rhythm cards isolating each rhtyhm (Son Macaron)--so each 2 bar phrases (2 /4 time)
    Make cards for Son Macaron, Son Ferrion, Marion, Marion,
    Le a le a tip tip tip and Le a le a tap tap tap
    one beat two beat three beats catch
    Seven cards in all
    put them in the middle of the circle after playing the ball game
    ask the kids to find each "word" pattern-- "Son Macaron" "Son ferrion" etc
    then they put the whole song in rhythm card order

    Then play the ball game again--whoever "catches" the ball ( the person who has the ball on 3 beats catch) throws the ball carefully to someone
    That person who CAUGHT the ball gets to choose a rhythm card-they take that rhythm card-show the class-clap it-the class repeats--then they improvise on the xylophones (mixolydian scale) until all 7 are chosen--or they can try to figure out their exact part--wow--what a great lesson!
    From Charlotte Harvey


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