Verse 1 Sitting on a bank by a swamp Bucket, bone, and a line Gonna get a feed tonight Chookies on the coals, alright
Chorus And that moon shines through Them tall tea trees Swingin’ in the breeze (Swayin’ in repeats) And them frogs sing that song That only frogs yeah Understand
Verse 2 Well I got that fire goin’ Casting some scary shadows Swamp creatures singing “There’s something in the dark” And under a full moon That fog rolls in I’m up on the bank and I’m Dancin’
Verse 3 Sittin’ on that bank by that swamp By that fire I had a dream And I dreamed all them frog creatures and them swamp “There’s something in the dark” Sittin’ by a fire with me And there was pop and nan and mum and dad There was uncles and aunties and cousins and nephews and brothers and sisters And an old camp dog Chewin’ on someone’s shoe
Verse 4 Thinkin’ on the years and time gone by There’s tears in my eyes Coz I’m standing right there Where that swamp used to be A lot of memories Sittin’ on the bank by a swamp
Creative Activity 2 – Guitar Accompaniments for Your Song
Now it’s your turn to write a song about a time that you heard a particularly Australian animal! Your song can be about the animal, or it can be a reflection on what you were doing at the time – Mark’s Frog Song is a bit of both (and as you’ve seen, lots of hidden meaning).
To make it easier for you to write the song, we’re providing you with guitar loops to three different song accompaniments!
Have a listen
Have a listen to each song accompaniment, and then download the loops: use the accompaniment you like best!
Each song accompaniment above was already organised into a structure of verses and choruses. However, if you like, you can create your own. Follow the tutorial here to find out how!
If you play guitar, or another chord-playing instrument like keyboards or ukulele, you can write your own accompaniment!
Creative Activity 3 – Toplining
Toplining is what it’s called when you have an accompaniment for a song, and you write the lyrics and melody! If you search on the internet or on YouTube, you’ll find loads of tutorials on toplining. Feel free to check those out, but we suggest that you simply use the backing track and your ear.
Remember, your song should be about a time that you heard a particularly Australian animal. Your song can be about the animal, or it can be a reflection on what you were doing at the time. Here’s how to begin in your DAW:
As shown in the video, you can add a drum loop to the backing track to change the vibe of your song.
In addition, you could find or make recordings of the animal that your song’s about, and mix them into the final recording, just as Mark and Erkki did in Frog Song and all of the other pieces in Nightfalls.
Presentation of Learning
While students will make recordings in this project, which can be shared on the school’s LMS, collected as an album/playlist for sharing with parents, or played as the school bell, this project also lends itself to live performance.
The accompaniments assembled in Creative Activity 2, above, can be used as backing (“karaoke”!) tracks for performance in concerts, school assemblies, or other public events. Since many students will use the same backing, performing song after song may not provide enough variation for a dedicated concert, so careful programming may be required.
Australian Curriculum Mapped Outcomes
Year 7 and 8 Music
Investigate the diversity of music composed and/or performed by First Nations Australians, considering culturally responsive approaches to Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property rights.
Listening to and performing Frog Song by Mark Atkins, students learn and understand the hidden story behind the song: the history of the oppression of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander movement, communication, and cultural expression.
Perform music using relevant vocal and/or instrumental techniques and performance skills.
Sing Mark Atkins’ Frog Song, and optionally perform accompaniment on keyboard, guitar, or ukulele, as authentically as possible.
Compose using the elements of music and compositional devices to communicate ideas, perspectives and/or meaning, and notate, document and/or record the music.
Topline (write the melody and lyrics for) a given guitar accompaniment, in the style of Mark Atkins’ Frog Song, and on a similar topic.