Audio tracks for three of the songs. Special thanks to Olivia Maldonado, the session vocalist, who really brings the songs to life! This selection was adapted to her style and abilities, and should not be taken as representative of the entire collection (which pretty much runs the gamut of musical genres). If you have a ‘natural voice’ and are interested in recording any of these, please do get in touch; the songs were really conceived with much less vibrato in mind.
Please excuse the guitar, I don't play well and had to record them in many short takes, also resulting in zero dynamics. And the recording/mastering is awful. I suppose I meant to remix a better guitar part, but it's been a year now (feels like forever). Please try to imagine what the compositions might sound like at their best. :)
Also, “No coward soul” does need to be (or at least start) nearer the indicated 80 bpm; we slowed it to ensure the text came through clearly. And its guitar needs to be a bit more active (easy to remedy); and the voice melody ... I failed to notate some intended syncopations. This anthem in particular deserves another round. My concept is that one day Emily was challenged by her sister Anne to write an up-beat, Christian poem for a change. (The poem was written during a period of depression—almost nothing else was written during these years, and indeed it's one of the last things she wrote. Perhaps they exchanged poems; I haven't investigated...). The song begins like a parish marching band is leading a strophic battle hymn—and then Emily is supposed to get bored of that old hat (or perhaps she's mocking it), and by the middle of page 2 it's already through-composed and on a wing. This poem was a tough scan, and you are invited to try scanning it to common measure without referring to the song... It's exciting to find the scansion of a centuries-old poem playing out as musical determinant—exactly what this project was supposed to be about!
Spelling and punctuation are authorial (from Brontë's holographs).
Here are collected my songs setting Emily Brontë's poems to music, approximately 120 poems and 500 pages of musical scores. Visit the offerings page to purchase the songbooks, individual songs, or custom compilations. You can also browse the scores to extents determined by your past purchases and donations.
The songs are written for guitar and voice, and are generally scored in both tablature and staff notation. Lower voices will tend to harmonise more subtly with the guitar, whereas mezzo and soprano will sing an octave higher and the melodies will be very defined. (The songs were written by a bari/tenor with a rather weak and untrained voice.)
There are a few free songs, which can also be taken as representative samples of the notesetting and associated material for the rest of the music.
Although partitioned into volumes, you can also purchase individual songs, or compile your own collections. Print and electronic PDF formats are available. Actually print songbooks are not yet available; I'm looking for a good print-on-demand option...
The print songbooks are in the usual music book format, with a glossy thick card stock cover (featuring Emily's self-portrait), twin-saddle (stapled) binding, and up to 50 pages content, printed on high quality off-white paper. Book page count varies slightly volume to volume, and of course single song and custom songbooks could be thinner. The longest single song at the present time—Light up thy halls!—occupies 28 pages (plus a page of Commentary). That doesn't necessarily mean it has the longest duration however.All the songs are available in two layouts:
If you opt for individual songs or customised volumes in print format, they will take a bit longer to arrive due to the use of a print-on-demand service. (In PDF format they are available immediately.) Information about the statuses of the remaining volumes is [no longer] updated regularly. The project is complete except for a few key poems which I've saved to write while travelling this spring. (I'll offer these other songs as a separate opus some day.) Specifically, 111 out of 126 songs have been scored [as of Jan. 9, 2018], although a few (read: “all”) of the scores are still in draft condition. Recopying is very time-consuming, so you may like to work from the draft until such time as the fair copy is finished. Also, some of the songs will be refined as I begin to rehearse them steadily. The songbooks which are offered as complete have songs in a stable state, notated in a fair hand. As for the rest of the songs, new versions of scores will be freely available (as PDFs) to customers who have purchased older versions (whether PDF or print).