Published in April, 2020 by SMP Press 


This is a well known piece by Bobby McFerrin. Here presented on a music arrangement for unconventional music instruments. The arrangement allows flexibility, so this piece can be performed using tuned bottles (25cl, 33cl and 75cl), lip whistle, finger snaps, complemented with xylophones and optionally with voices to sing the lyrics too. This arrangement was made during the 2020 quarantine, when the world was shutdown due to a world virus pandemic. Some of the music students didn’t have their music instruments at home, so this arrangement came up to fill that gap and it is perfect to keep doing music with the available option of “instruments”.

On each rehearsal letter, you can play optional improvisations, while keeping the voices 5-8. These improvisations can be easily done using the C major pentatonic scale or the note ranges presented on the right, that even include E♭ and B♭. If played using lip whistle, bendings will be possible too. This arrangement presents 8 voices and an alternative solution for voice 8, that makes it easier to be performed as it is the place where bottles are divided between the players. There is also an optional bass line to complement voice eight one octave bellow. In order to keep it simple, neither dynamics or articulations were included and the notes were represented always in the middle octave in G clef. The correct pitch ranges are presented in the performance notes.

The amount of water will change the pitch differently depending if you are blowing or doing percussion on a bottle. When blowing, the more water you use, the higher the pitch will be, but while doing percussions more water means lower pitch. A good option, in order to save time during rehearsals, is to fill the bottles with water, marking the level with a pen, and then filling the bottle with the desired amount of hot wax instead of water. This way, when the wax cools down you can have a tuned bottle without requiring to tune it again every single rehearsal. Please note that the bottles should be made of glass and that different aspects change the performance. For percussion, straight bottles are better to tune as the curves in the bottles tend to produce unstable pitches. The extreme notes of the range might not be available in every single bottle, so you might need to try some alternatives. For example the high A is available in some beer bottles, while the low G is available in larger 75cl bottles of champaign. Last but not least, this piece should always be played according to Bobby’s motto: dont worry, be happy!


I had lots of fun while doing this arrangement, now it’s your time to have fun while performing it!