Song for the Blue-Eyed Gal

Grade Level

Selection: Fly Around My Blue-Eyed Gal
Recorded: Bluefield (Tazewell County), Virginia
Performers: Hobart Smith

Suggested Activity #1: Form and Rhyme
1.Listen to "Fly Around My Blue-Eyed Gal".

Q: What instrument if the performer, Hobart Smith, playing?
A: Piano.
Q: Can you imagine, just from the style of the piano-playing, any other instrument playing this music?
A: Hobart Smith is a banjo player, and the piano style sounds a little as if he were plucking his banjo, playing broken chords and melodic figures.

2. Listen to the selection again, and identify the various sections.

* Piano introduction * A * B * Piano * C * A * Piano *

3. Sing the first verse of the song:

"Fly around, my blue-eyed gal,
Fly around, my daisy.
Fly around, my blue-eyed gal,
Almost run me crazy."

4. Create new verses, following the rhyme scheme [abab], as in this example:

"I just love my music class, I think it is so fun. And when the music time is past, I'm sad that it is done."

5. The piano accompaniment maintains a single bass-note (which infers a single chord) throughout the song; because the melody moves so quickly, this harmony works without sounding "old" or uninteresting. Play an accompaniment on piano or guitar while singing the song. 

Suggested Activity #2: Circle Dance

1.Listen to "Fly Around My Blue-Eyed Gal", and tap the quick but steady beat. As the song proceeds, clap just beats 1-2, and go silent on beats 3-4. 

2. Have students stand, and while listening again, step beats 1-2, and freeze on beats 3-4. They can move through the room, finding a unique trajectory, crossing in between other students' trajectories.

3. In a circle, move to the right, again stepping on beats 1-2 and freezing on beats 3-4. Holding hands, and with weight on the left foot, students can follow this pattern:

Beats 1 2 3 4
Foot movement right step left step freeze step freeze step
Arm movement hold hold swing arms down swing arms up

4. Try some variations on beats 3-4. Still in a circle and stepping 1-2, freeze and clap beats 3-4 or snap beats 3-4. Invite students to invent other possibilities for movement. 

Cultural Link:
Anglo-American "roots" music
Southern Appalachians

Designed by Daniel Rossi and Patricia Shehan Campbell