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Who is Silvia by William Shakespeare

Perhaps the most famous of Shakespeare's lyrics, set here for solo soprano with flute and piano accompaniment. 

The sound file was generated with software using synth choral ah voices as a demo, even though the vocal is supposed to be solo.

The lyrics are in the score, but for convenience I give them below.

Score and audio file at:

MuseScore: Who is Silvia by William Shakespeare


Youtube:  Who is Silvia by William Shakespeare

Version of 7 August 2019.

Please note that while this composition is based on a poem in the public domain, my musical setting of it is an original creative work under copyright. You may feel free to share or link to it by the usual means. For performance permission, please see my permissions page.

Image:  Who is Sylvia? What is She, That All the Swains Commend Her by Edwi...

The Lyrics:

Who is Silvia by William Shakespeare

Who is Silvia? What is she?
That all our swains commend her?  
Holy, fair, and wise is she;
The heaven such grace did lend her,  
That she might admirèd be.

Is she kind as she is fair?
For beauty lives with kindness:  
Love doth to her eyes repair,
To help him of his blindness;  
And, being help'd, inhabits there.

Then to Silvia let us sing,
That Silvia is excelling;  
She excels each mortal thing
Upon the dull earth dwelling:  
To her let us garlands bring.

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Nice writing as always! I only have a few suggestions:

1.- The trills on the flute would be better simply written like trill (tr~), any flautist would know how to perform it in this context

2.- The pp cresc to mp seems a bit much to me, it'll make the singer feel very alone. I would give them the same dynamics, they'll know not to cover the singer. When the flute takes the lead simply put "Solo".

3.- The parallel 5ths between bar 15 and 16 sound a bit harsh and stand out too much in the context of the piece

4.- the last two notes on bar 23 again sound out of place, they don't lead anywhere. Perhaps it's as simple as changing the last G on the piano left hand to an F# so that it resolves to the G on the next bar?

Thanks very much for the detailed advice.  I was wondering in particular how to handle the trills. I'll no doubt have another revision soon and I'll consider these suggestions.

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