Whirligig Beetles


Words by Paul Fleischman
2-pt treble a cappella
Published by Fresh Ayre Music

“Whirligig Beetles” is the second movement from Joyful Noises (FAM-0061-04), four pieces about the secret lives of insects. The poetry comes from Paul Fleischman’s captivating 1989 Newbery Award-winning collection Joyful Noise – Poems for Two Voices. These are true literary duets, printed to be read out loud by two voices in alternation.

Joyful Noises was written for the 2007 summer school session of the Saint Paul Conservatory of Music, a community music school in downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota. The instrumentation was specific to the instruments and abilities of the students that were attending.

Perusal score (click to view)

SKU: FAM-0061B-04 Categories: , Tag:


We’re whirligig beetles
we’re swimming in circles,
black backs by the hundred.
We’re spinning and swerving
as if were on a
mad merry-go-round.

We never get dizzy
from whirling and weaving
and wheeling and swirling.
The same goes for turning,
revolving and curving,
gyrating and twirling.

The crows fly directly,
but we prefer spirals,
arcs, ovals, and loops.
We’re fond of the phrase
“As the whirligig swims”
meaning traveling by
the most circular
twisty and
best possible


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