Duets to sing with my father
June 15, 2014 3:06 AM   Subscribe

My father's been quite ill and we've been looking for ways to keep his mind off the discomfort he's in. He generally doesnt sing very much but sings marvelously when he does, so today we started singing together—he, I, my brother on the guitar, and my mum humming along tentatively :). It was lovely; we all enjoyed it, and we'd like to do it more. I'm looking for duet suggestions—more details inside.

We started with 'Sunrise, Sunset' (from Fiddler on the Roof), which worked well because we'd already learned and sung in a group at my wedding last year. 'Edelweiss' was the second song—one of his favourites, and it worked well because I sang Liesl's part from the Sound of Music. We also tried 'The Last Waltz' (Englebert Humperdink) but singing together rather than in parts was less enjoyable. We have very different ways of singing, phrasing and rhythm so it's nice to do parts.

We're going to learn some more songs and I'm looking for suggestions! Songs similar to the few I mentioned that are easy to sing as duets—something specifically father-daughter themed would be even more exciting, but not necessary. Songs from musicals or oldies are likely to work well.

posted by miaow to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
There are tons of duets in the Gilbert and Sullivan repertoire that would be great fun to sing ("There is Beauty in the Bellow of the Blast " and "The Flowers that Bloom in the Spring" being two great ones just from The Mikado).

They come in many different emotional registers: between the tenor and the soprano, they're likely to be romantic, between contralto and patter-baritone, probably comic, and a host of others that aren't as easily defined. Don't miss the gorgeous ones from The Yeomen of the Guard.
posted by ocherdraco at 3:51 AM on June 15, 2014

Ack, that repertoire link I used is simultaneously too comprehensive (contains non-G&S operettas) and not comprehensive enough (not all the songs from the 14 works of their oeuvre). The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive might be a better choice as a reference.
posted by ocherdraco at 3:57 AM on June 15, 2014

Does he like/know the Beatles at all? "If I Fell" came right to my mind. That's pretty much an oldie these days (sob). Guitar tabs should be widely available and you won't have to read music to know the tunes.

If you do read music - more importantly, if you can transcribe what you hear, maybe with your brother's help picking out the notes - there's a wealth of material out there. Tony Bennett's recent "Duets" release would be a good source. Also, I just tried Googling "Mel Torme duets" and found some interesting results. That will help keep YOU busy with pleasant matters while you help your father. It might be too much for your father to do to read music right now, but if he can sing a well-known melody and you can stay on the harmony, you're all set.

Also, this probably goes without saying and was not your question, but I am dealing, often clumsily, with an elderly parent right now myself and feel like I would be remiss not to write it. During a session, you'll probably want to ask your father frequently how he's feeling and if he wants to continue. I don't know how old your father is but sometimes elderly or ailing parents (especially the "greatest generation" sort) will tax themselves too hard because they want to maximize their "good" time with you.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 4:33 AM on June 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

Ricky Lee Jones' version of One Hand One Heart.
posted by qwip at 4:35 AM on June 15, 2014

For some reason I immediately thought of Doris Day.

A list of her duets you might like to explore.
posted by taff at 5:01 AM on June 15, 2014

"I don't need anything but you" from the musical "Annie"

"Anything you can do, I can do better" from "Annie Get Your Gun"

"Oh Love, True Love" from "The Sorcerer" - kind of gorgeous:
Oh love, true love--unworldly, abiding!
Source of all pleasure--true fountain of joy,--
Oh love, true love--divinely confiding,
Exquisite treasure that knows no alloy,--
Oh love, true love, rich harvest of gladness,
Peace-bearing tillage--great garner of bliss,--
Oh love, true love, look down on our sadness --
Dwell in this village--oh, hear us in this!
posted by amtho at 6:50 AM on June 15, 2014

Please record these for yourself. Audio only if he objects to video. I am really missing my dad on Father's Day and would love to have something like this to watch/listen.
posted by MichelleinMD at 9:15 AM on June 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Everly Brothers, like Dream, if that isn't too new.
If you like a bit of twang, look at old brothers band duets like the Louvin Brothers.
posted by cccorlew at 10:16 AM on June 15, 2014

Moon River...looks like they do a version of Edelweiss too which would be another good one for you.
posted by BoscosMom at 11:20 AM on June 15, 2014

It's not exactly an oldie, and definitely not from a musical genius, but Lucky is a friggin awesome duet.
posted by alon at 11:32 AM on June 15, 2014

...and I'd Do Anything
posted by BoscosMom at 11:32 AM on June 15, 2014

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