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Hard Times Come Again No More

by Stephen Foster


Image: Irish family in front of peasant house with thatched roof, 1880. Public domain image from The Library of Congress.

I always hesitate to post vocal compositions on the internet: since I don't have singers I can regularly work with, I have to make demo software-generated audio files which use choral ah voices for the vocals, which requires any listeners to use extra imagination in listening to them.  But I thought I would try posting one here, to see if anyone has any opinion of it they want to offer. Comments would be most welcome, especially from choral singers and directors.

This is an adaptation for full SATB chorus of Stephen Foster's Hard Times Come Again No More.  Despite its admittedly old-fashioned and sentimental lyrics the song has remained popular today: versions of it have been recorded by many prominent artists, including Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Emmy Lou Harris,  Mavis Staples, and Bruce Springsteen.  In my version I've significantly revised and abridged the lyrics to make them more accessible to a modern audience.

The link below will take you to a MuseScore page where you can see the score simultaneously with hearing the sound file.  The lyrics are in the score, but I also give them below.

As always, comments welcome, especially from performers, even if this was posted a long time ago.

The link:

https://musescore.com/user/2488/scores/5432427

The lyrics:

Let us pause in life's pleasures and count its many tears

while we all share sorrow with the poor.

There's a song that will linger forever in our ears:

Oh hard times come again no more.

 

'Tis the song, the sigh of the weary:

hard times, hard times, come again no more.

Many days you have lingered around my cabin door;

Oh hard times come again no more.

 

While we seek mirth and beauty and music bright and gay

there are frail forms fainting at the door;

though their voices are silent, their pleading looks will say,

Oh hard times come again no more.

 

'Tis the song, the sigh of the weary:

hard times, hard times, come again no more.

Many days you have lingered around my cabin door;

Oh hard times come again no more.

 

'Tis a sigh that is wafted across the troubled wave,

'tis a cry that is heard upon the shore;

'tis a dirge that is murmured around the lowly grave:

Oh hard times come again no more.

 

'Tis the song, the sigh of the weary:

 hard times, hard times, come again no more.

Many days you have lingered around my cabin door;

Oh hard times come again no more.

 

 

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Hi Jon, 

Do you mean that you need some kind of a software suggestion that sings the lyrics themselves instead of the Ahs? 

No, since I have no desire to create computer-generated music as my deliverable.  What I really want is human performances, but lacking those, I use software-generated choral ahs as a demo.

Islam Y.Omari said:

Hi Jon, 

Do you mean that you need some kind of a software suggestion that sings the lyrics themselves instead of the Ahs? 

I see, but you can use a software generated-lyrics as your demo instead of the ahs, i am aware of a software called vocaloid by yamaha, thought of sharing if that might help you in anyway, check the links below

http://www.vocaloid.com/en/

https://youtu.be/86TIL4lrOIQ

It's an ok part song and with a little imagination can be heard "sung". Comes over more as an hymn to me. You have a certain style with CPP harmony. I didn't look at it in detail but it comes across ok. I noticed in bar 26 you did a full close on a first inversion but that looked inevitable as the preceding dominant is in its 3rd inversion. There's also no 3rd in the last chord of bar 25.... but you get away with it!

Thanks, I will look at it.

Islam Y.Omari said:

I see, but you can use a software generated-lyrics as your demo instead of the ahs, i am aware of a software called vocaloid by yamaha, thought of sharing if that might help you in anyway, check the links below

http://www.vocaloid.com/en/

https://youtu.be/86TIL4lrOIQ

Thanks for the comment and analysis.  While composing I don't pay much attention to theory, just whether the thing sounds right.

Dane Aubrun said:

It's an ok part song and with a little imagination can be heard "sung". Comes over more as an hymn to me. You have a certain style with CPP harmony. I didn't look at it in detail but it comes across ok. I noticed in bar 26 you did a full close on a first inversion but that looked inevitable as the preceding dominant is in its 3rd inversion. There's also no 3rd in the last chord of bar 25.... but you get away with it!

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