The LiederNet Archive
This website stores both public-domain AND copyright-protected material.
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**** YES, THAT INCLUDES CONCERT PROGRAMS. ****


FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) and Links

Q. What's a Lied?
A. The word Lied is German for song (pronounced /leet/). The plural is Lieder (pronounced /leeder/). Kunstlied is the proper term for "art song" in German, but music-lovers speaking English or French commonly refer to German art songs as just plain Lieder. Note that this site includes art songs in many languages (e.g., in French, the terms chanson and mélodie are used as well as lieder). There are also many madrigals, partsongs and choral works.


Q. OK, then what's an "art song"?
A. Like most categorizations in classical music (even the term "classical music" is problematic), this is a very difficult definition to make due not only to the blurring of lines that many contemporary compositions create, but also due to the overlap of popular music, pop classics, broadway musicals, and folk music. This definition is intended only as a rough guide to the genre.

An art song is a relatively short piece of music written by a person commonly referred to as a "composer" and set to a poetic text for a classically-trained vocalist with some form of accompaniment (usually but not restricted to the pianoforte). During a performance, which is usually in a recital hall these days, even if the piece was originally intended for the salon, the audience sits quietly without smoking, eating or drinking (unless very stealthily). The singer is rarely also the composer of the song. The lighting rarely changes during a performance, and no special set, scenery, or costume (besides typical recitalwear) is required.


Q. But I'm looking for folk songs, or children's songs, or Christmas songs, etc.
A. Try http://ingeb.org/index.html


Q. Where can I buy sheetmusic for ____?
A. I recommend these vendors for sheetmusic:
Classical Vocal Repertoire
Sheet Music Plus Homepage

To locate public-domain sheet-music online, a few good starting points are the IMSLP / Petrucci Music Library (the free public domain sheet music library), Art Song Central and, for choral works, the Choral Public Domain Library.

If you are looking for something out-of-print or otherwise quite rare, your local university music library might have what you need. You might also be able to do an interlibrary loan through a public library.


Q. Where can I hear the songs online?
A. Here are a few URLs to get you started:


Q. I'm a composer/publisher/performer and I've written/published/performed some wonderful new art songs that you really ought to have in your database. What should I do to get them included?
A. I'd be glad to include them! Please send me by e-mail as much information as you can stand to send. Include (if possible) dates of composition and publication, instrumentation details, the full name of the author of the text, notes on textual variation(s) if they exist, and the copyright status for the text. If you send me information about a song cycle, please tell me about the individual movements. If you don't have the texts at hand, first lines are very useful to have. My e-mail address is:


(emily at lieder dot net)


Q. What is the purpose of the blue and grey rectangles beside titles and first lines in the composer and poet index files, such as ITA, ENG, FRE, and SPA?
A. A blue or grey rectangle is used indicate the existence of translation in a given language. The list of the three-letter codes is here. A blue rectangle is used when you can view the translation, and a grey rectangle is used when a translation is missing (but these are only used when it is a particular unique translation that is missing, for example, one that has been set to music.)


Q. I could have sworn ____ composed a song named ____, but it isn't in your index. Am I wrong?
A. Not necessarily. My lists are not comprehensive... yet!


Q. What are all the red, green, and white dots?
A. They indicate how the text has been verified against original source material.


Q. I noticed a lot of wrong words in a text. What's going on?
A. Composers often change the words to fit their music. If you need a text as a stand-alone poem, please do not rely on the version in these pages unless there is a green dot next to the poet or author's name. When possible, I do note textual differences as footnotes. See also the previous question.


Q. Did you know that you have lots of typos in ____?
A. Oops! Please let me know about them - I would love to fix them. My e-mail address is


(emily at lieder dot net)
(although keep in mind that sometimes they are not typos but rather older spellings. If a text seems to have a lot of typos, this is usually the case).


Q. Do you have a translation of ____?
A. If you don't see it on the site, I probably don't have it, but sometimes I can find a volunteer to make a new one, so feel free to ask.


Q. I sent you a translation/text to post two months ago and it hasn't been posted! What's going on?
A. Sometimes it takes me a while to process, verify and integrate all the material I receive, but I am always grateful for new material, and I will (someday!) get to your submission(s)! Thank you for your patience.

Please note: I have had mysterious problems with my e-mail in the past. Some e-mail does not seem to reach me, so please re-send any e-mails to which I haven't replied.


Q. Are you a singer or a pianist?
A. Neither - I'm an amateur violinist.


Q. How do you pronounce your last name (Ezust)?
A. /EE zust/ with the 'ee' as in "meet" and the 'u' as in "put".

It's a Hungarian word that really ought to be pronounced /E zusht/ with the 'e' as in 'met' and 'u' as in "put", but it has been Americanized.


Q. What kind of computer system do you use? Which HTML editor do you use? What kind of technology does your site use? [and other technical questions]
A. I write my web pages in Emacs running under Linux. The website is driven by Mason, mysql and Perl with Class::DBI.


Q. Why don't you post scores as well as texts?
A. There is already a fantastic online resources for scores - the Petrucci Music Library.


Q. How and when did you begin this project? Can you tell us something about its history?
A. I began the website on May 24, 1995, when I was a graduate student in computer science at McGill University. Here's the original usenet post with the announcement. Intending only to present the texts to some of my favorite Lieder, I posted about thirty Lieder by Schubert and Brahms. Soon the requests for texts set by other composers began to pour in. Since I lived two blocks away from the music library and I was enjoying my new hobby as a pleasant break from school-work, I started working on the standard art song repertoire. After I finished my degree, I moved to Ottawa (ON), where it was a little more difficult to find new material, but my new job sent me traveling frequently, so I was able to visit quite a few university music libraries around North America and obtain material not available to me in Ottawa. About the time that I stopped traveling so much, generous and copious volunteer contributions of material began to make more more and more busy. In the summer of 2003, I began transforming my site from a collection of HTML pages to a database-driven site. At that point, my site contained 13,255 individual song text files so it was a big task - and the larger the site got, the more urgent. I finished and made public the overhaul in March 2004.

At the end of December 2008, there were 60,000 settings indexed on the website; by December 2009: 72,000; by December 2010: 88,888; by September 2011: 100,000; by mid-April 2013, 118,000; and by October 2014, 132,000.


Q. Do you plan to add biographical information on composers or poets, and perhaps other information that could go into program notes?
A. No, because there are so many resources on-line already.


Q. Can you add an search by theme or subject? For example, if I searched for "nightingale" I'd like to find any song not just with more than a passing reference to a "nightingale" but also to a rossignol, Nachtigall, соловей, Philomel, or so forth.
A. As of February 2014, I am actively working on this.


Q. Where can I find information on how to pronounce words in different languages?
A. Try IPASource (provides many IPA versions of art song texts) or The Diction Domain


Q. Where can I find the libretto to X?
A. Try Opera Glass. If you're looking for an aria in particular, there are several in my database, but only incidentally. A better place to look is The Aria Database.


Q. Where can I find texts (or even translations) to Bach cantatas?
A. There's a wealth of information on the web. I recommend these sites: Emmanuel Music's website, The Bach Cantata Page, and http://www.bach-cantatas.com/.


Q. Is there a mailing list devoted to Lieder?
A. Yes: LIEDER-L.


Q. What are your long-term plans for this site?
A. I plan to continue adding texts and translations until I run out of things to do (ha). If that happens, maybe I'll try to learn some new languages so I can do more translations.


Q. What can I do to help?
A. Any of these: write translations, obtain texts, take note of typos or incorrect dates, report textual variants, or even just send lists of works. You can also send me material by post if you don't have time to type things in. And get your friends to help too if you can!


Q. Can you write me an essay for school? [usually asked in more roundabout ways]
A. Nope.


An unsorted list of projects and websites that may interest visitors to this site:

Gentle Reminder
This is a personal project that I began in 1995. I receive no salary for my full-time work on it, and aside from ad revenue and copyright fees, the Archive was supported financially last year by fewer than 0.02% of our visitors. So if you found the information here useful, please consider making a donation. Your gift is greatly appreciated.
     - Emily Ezust, Founder
I also have a wishlist at Amazon.ca.