Song. "In this City" (3'45")

Fairly tonal, for Mezzo-soprano with a small ensemble.

 A poem by Adrienne Rich. I can’t call it a setting because I can't ‘add’ to the poet’s work. More a musical background, the words have nonetheless been put to the vocal line.

I was trying to capture the mood.

 Please give it a listen and if you’re of a mind, comment good or bad. Although it’s la-lah’d in this rendering I’m quite concerned about how I split up the syllables and whether the brief ‘musical interludes’ between phrases are too long  (BTW, I'm aware I spelled 'rooted' wrong in bar 121). Any comments about these would be most welcome.

Many thanks.

 In this city 170821 224.mp3.


Mezzo-soprano part only



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  • Clearly an accomplished and professional piece of music, though it's especially hard to evaluate in without a real vocal performance.  In more traditional songs you can sort of mentally "sing along" with a software generated wordless vocal, but it's harder to do with something like this.  I think given current musical interests that this piece would have a good chance of being performed.

    Some peripheral issues.  As someone whose poetry and music has routinely been plagerized on the internet (many people seem to subscribe to the "if it's on the net then I don't need to get permission to use it" philosophy) I was glad to see a permission notice.

    Did you make up "languido" and "jazzico"?  I don't think I've seen them before, and they aren't in my Essentional Dictionary of Music.

    I usually suppress empty staves after the first page (my musical notation software can do this automatically.)  I don't know if there is a generally accepted convention on this, but it means fewer pages, which may be convenient.

    In the lyrics, some of the hyphenations seemed unexpected:  my Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, one of the standard ones (at least in the U.S.), gives bud-ding, pas-sion, rout-ed, and dap-pled.  Elaine Gould in Behind Bars give some rules on this and other hyphenizations on pp 441ff.  Gould also recommends that in vocal music the text in addition to being in the score should be given as a block before the score, a practice I've been following.

    • Jon, many thanks for listening and your extensive and most helpful comments.

      Well, I certainly wouldn't want to offend Ms Rich's estate by not obtaining permission but should a performance be in the offing I'll need different paperwork. She was a popular intellect and political author / poet in her time and her "Love Poems" are more on the conventional side given that she was known for experiment.

      Languido, jazzistico are just Italian translations of languid and jazzy. The poem gave me the feeling of a warm early evening, a kind of luxurious tiredness 'as they walked'. 

      I can hide empty staves but I haven't discovered quite the secret of how to condense the score when just a few are empty. I will as you're the second member to suggest it. It depends on what percentage of the page is filled after the empties are removed. The worst is the empties are removed but the remaining staves occupy the same position as they would on a full page. I can condense them manually but I have to learn to do it properly.

      But thank you in particular for your comments on hyphenation and the lyrics. They'll prove most useful when I tart up the work. I admit outright I just used instinct based on the vowel being sung which probably didn't follow convention. I can see I have a bit of work to do. 

      Again, many thanks, Jon. 

  • Moody and noirish, very jazz influenced but your own sound is still very clear here Dane.  This is an excellent setting for the poem; Ms. Rich would have been very pleased with this I think. Certainly no problem with the musical interludes, they fit perfectly.  All in all a good direction for your music IMHO, I'm reminded of your Valse which should get an encore at some point! Thanks for sharing.

  • A work that deserves to be distributed widely. Nothing to comment.


    • Hi, Ali,

      Many thanks for listening and your encouragement. I always appreciate your comment and the absence of one sometimes says more than any comment could!


  •  You are so brave Dane, in an impressive way. It sounds like nothing else and it is beautiful. It is so exciting, I was focussed all the way, forgetting about time for a while. It feels like reaching a different world, just how music should affect the listener.

    It was a pleasure.


    • Hi, Kjell,

      Thank you for auditioning the piece and your kind comments. Gratefully received. I realised I couldn't add anything to, or enhance Ms Rich's work so the music was incidental but I wanted the voice to be part of the ensemble.

      Your comment is much appreciated.



  • A bit avant-guard for me but I think that you need to upload score for this melody anyway:

    The reason is that this web site is a data base not only for famous melodies and songs but for young and adult composers and it is a usefull tool for promotion for your music. 
    But thank you anyway Dane for this melody!  

    Log in to Musescore |
    • What ARE you on about? Why do you keep pushing people to put their scores on Musescore?

      Are you stealing them?


      Still, in case you are stealing people's work I won't post any more scores here. 

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