Where the bee sucks from The Tempest

 

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Another of the compositions of songs from Shakespeare's plays for use in performances, which I'm creating in hopes there will be a demand for them, since Shakespeare remains popular. If anyone reading this knows of any theatrical company, at any level from school drama classes to professional companies or anything in between, who may be interested in such songs, please let me know.

The score posted here is a software generated demo and a cappella, with choral ahs for the vocal, even though it is supposed to be a single voice.  The melody is deliberately simple; a simple accompaniment should be easy to improvise, or I could compose one if anyone ever wants to perform it.

I'm also attaching an mp3 audio file to this posting, which, in combination with the lyrics below, I hope will enable people to get an idea of how it would sound.

The lyrics are also displayed with audio file at Musescore Where the bee sucks.

 Where the bee sucks.mp3

The lyrics:

Where the bee sucks, there lurk I;
in a cowslip's bell I lie;
there I couch when owls do cry.
On the bat's back I do fly
after summer merrily.
Merrily, merrily shall I live now
under the blossom that hangs on the bough

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Replies

  • Setting the songs is Shakespeare plays is a fine idea. The  only piece of mine that ever really sold (meaning I sold more than two copies) was a setting of Take, O take those lips away from Measure for Measure. The only think I would point out is that the people performing the song in the play might not really be great singers, so I would watch the ranges and complexity. The thing that stuck out for me in the Where the bee sucks from are the high Fs, which occur several times. Maybe others can let me know if they think this is a high note for amateurs or if it is just fine. I know my own prejudice is likely coloring my point view on this; as a true bass I would have to take this down a full 5th in order to sing it. I wonder if the song might work better if you hit the high F only once at the high point of the song, but that is just though. After several listens the piece works much better than I initially though. One last thing, I would suggest adding at the very least some chord changes, even if it is just a single chord for the entire piece.

     

     

    EWS

    • Thanks for the detailed analysis.  These types of comments are valuable, especially from performers. 

      Since I'm not a singer and don't have one to work with regularly, I rely on charts in orchestration books to determine vocal (and instrumental) ranges.   I realize of course that atual voices may differ, and even the orchestration books often differ from each other on what ranges are.  I say on my Shakespeare Songs Website that I'd be willing to work with performers to revise any songs to better suit them, and if I ever get that chance, I'll keep the above suggestions in mind.

       

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      The compositions by Jon Corelis listed on this web site are intended in particular to be used in the performance of Shakespeare plays. Most of them a…
      • That last paragraph above "The compositions by Jon Corelis " is a quote from my web site, I don't know why it's there, but please just ignore it (apparently I can't edit my reply.)

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