Music for Words, Perhaps

Ten Songs for Voice and Piano
by Denman Maroney
Set to Poems by W.B. Yeats

The words are set to music by permission of A.P. Watt Ltd.
on behalf of Michael B. Yeats and Anne Yeats.

ęCopyright 1999 by Denman Maroney

Notes on the Notation

1. The Song of the Happy Shepherd
2. The Second Coming
3. The Crazed Moon
4. The Song of Wandering Aengus
5. A Drinking Song
6. A Drunken Man's Praise of Sobriety
7. The Cap and Bells
8. Three Songs to the One Burden
9. The Two Trees
10. The Lamentation of the Old Pensioner

Appendix: Extended Piano Performance Techniques
Notes on the Notation

Six of the ten songs in this cycle — The Second Coming, The Song of Wandering Aengus, A Drunken Man's Praise of Sobriety, The Cap and Bells, [One of] Three Songs to the One Burden and The Two Trees — involve the use of extended piano performance techniques. Generally these techniques involve exciting certain strings directly with a variety of tools with one hand while simultaneously playing the keys associated with those strings with the other hand.

The tools used include an aluminum mixing bowl, a marimba mallet, an audio cassette box, two copper bars, a plastic bottle and a cowbell. Generally how these tools are used is described in the appendix.

In the song scores the use of the tools is indicated by text and special noteheads on extra staves. In such cases the keys played are notated on a lower staff, and the sounds to be made by applying a certain tool in a certain way to the strings associated with those keys are notated on an adjacent higher staff.

With one exception the special noteheads used are semicircles for the mixing bowl, diamonds for the marimba mallet, parallelograms for the cassette box, squares for the copper bars, and triangles for the plastic bottle and cowbell. The one exception is that bowing (moving a tool across the strings) is indicated by parallelograms no matter what the tool.

Hollow circles above the special noteheads indicate the use of higher harmonics, which are produced by applying a tool to the zone of the strings behind the dampers. The absence of such circles indicates that the tool is to be applied to the zone of the strings in front of the dampers.

When sliding a tool (moving it along the strings) is indicated, the pitches specified by special noteheads are approximate, because sliding produces pitches outside the dodecaphonic scale. When pressing or resting a tool is indicated, the pitches specified are more precise.

Sliding is indicated both by text and by arrows showing the direction of pitch movement. The directions of pitch and tool movement are not always the same. In conjunction with keyboard action, moving pitch upward is done by sliding a tool towards the hammers, thereby decreasing the length of string the hammer strikes. This means sliding away from the keyboard from in front of the dampers and towards it from behind them. (See appendix for details.)

When a special notehead on a higher staff is not accompanied by a regular notehead on a lower staff, the sound is to be made by applying a tool to the strings without playing their associated keys.

The insides of different piano makes and models are different. As a result some songs may have to be transposed or played on different strings.