Fauré – Nell

Song Information

Title: Nell

Music: Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)

Text: Leconte de Lisle (1818-1894)

Sheet Music

Free at Art Song Central (PDF files):

Elsewhere on the Internet:

  • Transcribed at the Werner Icking Music Archive
    • Key: PDF available in G♭ Major
    • Range: F4 – A5
    • Finale 2005 source file also available to edit or transpose.

Audio Files



Song Text


Ta rose de pourpre à ton clair soleil,
Ô Juin, étincelle enivrée,
Penche aussi vers moi ta coupe dorée:
Mon coeur à ta rose est pareil.

Sous le mol abri de la feuille ombreuse
Monte un soupir de volupté:
Plus d’un ramier chante au bois écarté.
Ô mon coeur, sa plainte amoureuse.

Que ta perle est douce au ciel enflammé.
Étoile de la nuit pensive!
Mais combien plus douce est la clarté vive
Qui rayonne en mon coeur, en mon coeur charmé!

La chantante mer. Le long du rivage,
Taira son murmure éternel,
Avant qu’en mon coeur, chère amour.
Ô Nell, ne fleurisse plus ton image!

IPA Transcription:

IPA for Nell, courtesy of IPANow! transcription software.


Fauré – Lydia

Song Information

Title: Lydia

Music: Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)

Text: Leconte de Lisle (1818-1894)

Sheet Music

Free at Art Song Central:

Elsewhere on the Internet:

Audio Files



Song Text

Lydia sur tes roses joues
Et sur ton col frais et si blanc,
Roule étincelant
L’or fluide que tu dénoues;

Le jour qui luit est le meilleur,
Oublions l’éternelle tombe.
Laisse tes baisers de colombe
Chanter sur ta lèvre en fleur.

Un lys caché répand sans cesse
Une odeur divine en ton sein;
Les délices comme un essaim
Sortent de toi, jeune déesse.

Je t’aime et meurs, ô mes amours.
Mon âme en baisers m’est ravie!
O Lydia, rends-moi la vie,
Que je puisse mourir, mourir toujours!


Books on Music and Singing in Project Gutenberg

On the off chance that you haven’t already discovered it, Project Gutenberg is the premiere site on the Internet for downloadable public domain texts. It has been in existence since the mid 70’s, but had only amassed a few dozen texts by the mid 80’s. At that point, volunteer efforts began to pick up steam, and really started to thrive with the advent of Distributed Proofreaders, an organization dedicated solely to processing texts for inclusion in the PG archive. There are now nearly 22,000 texts in the archive, all completely free.

I’ve been involved with PG for over a decade, and made it a goal of mine to expand its selection of music related offerings. Here are a few books in the collection which might be valuable to the teacher or singer:

The Head Voice and Other Problems by D. A. Clippinger

  • Very useful book which significantly addresses one of the principal problems that continues to plague singers; comfortably accessing and integrating the “head” voice. However, this book is of more use to the teacher than the student of singing, as the teacher has a reference base from which to absorb good ideas from the book and discard those which may be less helpful.

Caruso and Tetrazzini on the Art of Singing by Caruso and Tetrazzini
The Brain and the Voice in Speech and Song by F. W. Mott
Voice Production in Singing and Speaking by Wesley Mills
Resonance in Singing and Speaking by Thomas Fillebrown

  • More books on vocal anatomy and technique.

Vocal Mastery by Harriette Brower
Great Singers, First Series by George T. Ferris
Great Singers, Second Series by George T. Ferris
The Great German Composers by George T. Ferris
Great Italian and French Composers by George T. Ferris
The World’s Great Men of Music by Harriette Brower

  • Biographies and talks with famous singers and composers, with a smattering of technique.

Style in Singing by W. E. Haslam

  • Book on stylistic singing and interpretation.

Piano and Song by Friedrich Wieck

  • Book on teaching music from the father and teacher of celebrated pianist Clara Schumann. (The expanded title reads: “How to Teach, How to Learn, and How to Form a Judgment of Musical Performances”)

Sixty Years of California Song by Margaret Blake Alverson

  • Though Ms. Alverson’s memoir tends to delve more often than not into shallowly concealed egotism, it has much to offer as an insight into the musical and vocal world of the 19th century. I particularly find interesting the references to “hit” songs that are now completely forgotten, such as Harrison Millard’s “Vive L’America.”

Musicians of To-Day by Romain Rolland

  • Contemporary accounts of the lives and music of Berlioz, Wagner, Saint-Saëns, D’Indy, Strauss, Wolf and Debussy from a celebrated author and opinionated critic.

A Book of Operas by Henry Edward Krehbiel
A Second Book of Operas by Henry Edward Krehbiel
The Opera by R. A. Streatfeild
Stories of the Wagner Opera by H. A. Guerber
Parsifal by H. R. Haweis
The Standard Operas by George P. Upton

  • Though dated, these give cast lists and detailed plot summaries of dozens of operas. I love the passage in one entry of the latter that mentions that Verdi “is rumored to be working on a libretto by Shakespeare.”

Also note Chapters of Opera by Henry Edward Krehbiel, which gives an historical narrative of Opera in New York City.

Some of PG’s collection has been catalogued by category, as well. Do browse their sections of:
Music Literature
Musical Instruction and Study

Indispensable Books for your Bookshelf

Yes, one of the goals of this site is to collect all the free resources you need to understand and sing the songs we host. However, there are several resources that still have no equal online. (And, perhaps some that never will.) I thought I’d list a few of them here.

First of all, if you are singing a French art song, it would be very wise to first consult The Interpretation of French Song by Pierre Bernac. No voice teacher should be without it in their bookshelf, and it should be one of the first purchases a singing student makes. This book provides full song texts in French, with line by line translations in English and notes on liaison. The most valuable aspect of the book, however, is Bernac’s suggestions for approaching each song. Consider it an inexpensive coaching by a master of the art.

Also worth its weight in gold for the student and teacher is the two volume set “Word-By-Word Translations of Songs and Arias.” Part I covers German and French works from the standard repertoire. Part II covers Italian. These volumes are somewhat expensive, but they are worth having on hand!

I have quite a few other books to which I regularly refer, but I truly regard these I just listed as indispensable!

Fauré – Après un Rêve

Song Information

Title: Après un Rêve (from Trois mélodies, Op 7)

Music: Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)

Text: Romain Bussine (1830-1899)

Sheet Music

Free at Art Song Central (PDF files):

Elsewhere on the Internet:

  • Transcribed at the Werner Icking Music Archive
    • Key: PDF available in C minor (original) and D minor (high)
    • Range: C4 – F5 (original), D4 – G5 (high)
    • Finale 2005 source file also available to edit or transpose.
  • Transcribed at the Mutopia Project
    • Key: C minor (original)
    • Range: C4 – F5
    • Lilypond source file also available to edit or transpose.

Audio Files



Song Text

Dans un sommeil que charmait ton image
Je rêvais le bonheur, ardent mirage,
Tes yeux étaient plus doux, ta voix pure et sonore,
Tu rayonnais comme un ciel éclairé par l’aurore;
Tu m’appelais et je quittais la terre
Pour m’enfuir avec toi vers la lumière,
Les cieux pour nous entr’ouvraient leurs nues,
Splendeurs inconnues, lueurs divines entrevues,
Hélas! Hélas! triste réveil des songes
Je t’appelle, ô nuit, rends moi tes mensonges,
Reviens, reviens radieuse,
Reviens ô nuit mystérieuse!


Schubert – An Sylvia

Song Information

Title: An Sylvia (D. 891)

English Title: Who is Sylvia?

Composer: Franz Schubert (1797-1828)

Author (German Text): Eduard von Bauernfeld (1802-1890)

Author (Original English Text): William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Sheet Music

Free at Art Song Central (PDF files):

Elsewhere on the Internet:

  • Transcribed in English and German versions at Mutopia
    • Key: A Major
    • Range: E4 – F♯5
    • Lilypond source code available to edit or transpose.

Audio Files



Song Text

In German:

Was ist Silvia, saget an,
Daß sie die weite Flur preist?
Schön und zart seh ich sie nahn,
Auf Himmelsgunst und Spur weist,
Daß ihr alles untertan.

Ist sie schön und gut dazu?
Reiz labt wie milde Kindheit;
Ihrem Aug’ eilt Amor zu,
Dort heilt er seine Blindheit
Und verweilt in süßer Ruh.

Darum Silvia, tön, o Sang,
Der holden Silvia Ehren;
Jeden Reiz besiegt sie lang,
Den Erde kann gewähren:
Kränze ihr und Saitenklang!

In English: (The original language of the text, which also works with Schubert’s setting.)

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 helped, 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.


Jacobs-Bond – Half Minute Songs

Song Information

Title: Half Minute Songs (I suppose it’s technically a song cycle.)

Composer: Carrie Jacobs-Bond (1862-1946)

Author: Carrie Jacobs-Bond (1862-1946)

Sheet Music

Free at Art Song Central (PDF files):

  • Half Minute Songs
    • Range: C4 – F5
    • For some reason, the order of songs in my (original) copy differs from others I’ve seen referenced. I suggest singing them in whatever order suits you.

Elsewhere on the Internet:

  • Scorch version at Parlorsongs.com (not printable)
    • Good option to hear the songs…

Audio Files



Song Text

1. Making the Best of It.
What you can’t help,
What you can’t help,
What you can’t help,

2. First Ask Yourself.
Before you have said it about them,
Ask yourself if you’d like them to know you said it.

3. To Understand.
To understand a sorrow,
You must have one all your own.

4. How to Find Success.
The man who finds success looks sometimes when he’s tired,
When he’s tired, when he’s tired,
Looks sometimes when he’s tired.

5. The Pleasure of Giving
I’d rather say “You’re welcome” once, than “Thank you” a thousand times.

6. Answer the First Rap.
Opportunity may knock often, but it’s better to answer the first rap!

7. A Good Exercise.
With evil things you’ll always find
It’s best to be deaf, dumb and blind.

8. A Present from Yourself.
A friend is a present you give yourself.

9. Now and Then.
The “lucky” fellow gets up at five (A.M.),
And gen’rally works till ten (P.M.);
But the other fellow not quite so “lucky,”
Works hard–just now and then!

10. When They Say the Unkind Things.
Ain’t it gay that what “they say”
Can’t hurt you unless it’s true?

11. Keep Awake.
Success never comes to the sleeping.

12. Doan’ Yo’ Lis’n.
No mattah w’at dey said,
Keep a-walkin’ straight ahaid,
W’y dey’ll praise yo’ when yo’ daid,
But doan’ yo’ lis’n.


Refining the mission

Before I start putting up lots of songs, I want to make sure I have the format set for song posts. I’m still making some refinements to the first one before I continue.

I’m also refining the mission somewhat. For the moment, I will give more attention to putting up song pages for things that have already been posted by respected archives on the Internet. I will still post my own scans, but I want singers and voice teachers to have one centralized location where they can find a good selection of songs and quick links to supplemental information. I can build this more quickly and completely by starting with things that already exist online, but may be hard to find.

In the same spirit, I will eventually set up song pages for works that are not yet in the public domain, with links to where one can buy them. However, this is not yet a priority.

Art songs on Mutopia

As with the previous post about songs in the Werner Icking Music Archive, here’s a list of (mostly) standard singer’s repertoire that’s currently available on Mutopia. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list.

This time, the links are from each title to its song information page.














Moore (arr.)





Holst (arr.)

Art songs on WIMA

Also before posting about individual songs, and uploading my own material, I wanted to make some lists of what’s already out there, making it a little easier to find. Here’s a list of (mostly) standard singer’s repertoire that’s currently available on the Werner Icking Music Archive. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list.

I’ve merely linked each composer’s name to the composer page at WIMA, rather than to each song.

Schubert, Franz

  • An die Musik
  • Erlkönig
  • Ständchen (Leise flehen, meine Lieder)

Fauré, Gabriel

  • Dans les ruines d’une abbaye
  • Lydia
  • Après un Rêve
  • Nell
  • Les Berceaux
  • Fleur Jetée
  • Clair de Lune
  • (Several other good ones, too)


  • Wiegenlied
  • Feldeinsamkeit


  • Ave Maria


  • Les Papillons
  • Le Colibri
  • (Several other good ones, too)

Cornelius, Peter

  • Die Könige
  • Christkind

Duparc, Henri

  • Lamento

Franck, César

  • Panis Angelicus

Gluck, Christoph Willibald

  • Che farò senza Euridice?
  • Oh, del mio dolce ardor

Gounod, Charles

  • Noël
  • Ave Maria (Based on Bach’s Prelude #1)

Händel, Georg Friedrich

  • Lascia ch’io pianga
  • Ombra mai fu

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus

  • Das Veilchen
  • Der Zauberer
  • Oiseaux, si tous les ans
  • Dans un bois solitaire

Purcell, Henry

  • Next winter comes slowly
  • Dido’s Lament (with string parts)

Strozzi, Barbara

  • Lagrime mie, a che vi trattenete
  • (Not really standard rep, but a wonderful piece.)

Wolf, Hugo

  • Fussreise
  • Verborgenheit
  • Anakreons Grab
  • Denk es, o Seele
  • Gesang Weylas
  • Der Freund
  • Der Musikant
  • Die ihr schwebet
  • Herr,was trägt der Boden hier
  • Verschwiegene Liebe

Some good sources for PD vocal music

Before I start posting material, let me introduce some of my favorite similar sites:

The Werner Icking Music Archive is one of the best and most substantial. It is one of the closest in spirit to a Project Gutenberg for music. (Project Gutenberg is also beginning to have some music, though it is not yet very substantial.)

A similar, well stocked archive, but mostly aimed at choral singers, is the Choral Public Domain Library. It has over 8500 scores in the collection as I write. However, only a few of them are for solo voice.

More similar to what I’m trying to acheive with this site is Parlorsongs.com, which has a great collection of parlor songs transcribed into Sibelius Scorch files, along with well researched commentary on each one. Many songs in their collection are freely printable, though their files aren’t intended to be downloaded or shared. Very well done site.

The Mutopia Project also has some good material, but is somewhat limited in scope by requiring all content to be encoded in Lilypond.

The Library of Congress hosts several collections of scanned sheet music. However, while the collections are substantial, the content is mostly ephemeral and is geared toward the historian, not the singer.

Finally, the Variations Prototype at Indiana University has a great collection of standard singer’s repertoire, but the resolution is too low to be printed. (Most scores are legible when viewed on the computer, but some are even too lo-res for that.) The same project also has a nice collection of opera scores.

Do keep in mind that Project Gutenberg does have a decent number of books on music and singing which remain relevant today, and the collection continues to grow. Anyone wishing to help further the cause is encouraged to join Distributed Proofreaders, which is now Project Gutenberg’s main source of books.

In the interest of providing a unified location to find resources in the above archives, I will endeavor to post listings of the most useful materials from each.

Here we go!

Not much to report yet. Found an appropriate look for the site, and will be preparing content this summer. Starting with baby steps, as I have several more pressing projects on my plate.

Ultimately, this site will contain individual pdf files for each of about 2000 songs for which I’ve collected public domain sheet music, and more as I find and scan them. Unlike PD sheet music collections currently available, this will include many pieces from the “standard repertoire” for singers taking formal classical lessons. It is my hope that this will give students access to a wider range of pre-1923 vocal music, and free them to spend more of their sheet music budgets on 20th and 21st century works.

(I should remember to include a list of some of my favorite 20th century art song composers for this purpose! Some, like Ives, Bernstein and Copland, are well known. Others, like Bacon, Hundley, Musto, Hoiby, and Heggie, seem to only be well known within certain circles.)

I’ll probably be granting access to my students as I go, and make it more public as it starts to be large enough to be worthwhile. I was also going to tie it in with IPASource.com, but they recently decided to charge for access. Perhaps I’ll just have to create similar material myself.