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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
Q. OK, then what's an "art song"?
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||
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
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
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.
My e-mail address is
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
(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 my
Hungarian-speaking grandfather decided Americans would prefer
an "easy" pronunciation when he changed his name from Silverstein to
Ezust in the 1930s.
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
Q. Why don't you post scores as well as texts?
A. There are already many fantastic resources for scores,
such as the Petrucci Music Library,
formerly known as the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP).
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
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, I
found great consolation in the generous and
copious volunteer contributions of material
I was receiving. 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; and by mid-April 2013, 118,000.
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 index of songs by theme?
A. At some point I may add a feature that will let visitors
assign themes to songs, and automate it, but for now, the search engine is the only possibility.
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
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
An unsorted list of projects and websites that may interest visitors to this site:
This is a personal project that I began in 1995. I receive no salary for my full-time work on it
and, despite my best efforts, this project has never received public funding. It is
supported financially by roughly 0.013% of our visitors.
So if you found
the information here useful, please consider making a donation. Your gift is greatly appreciated.
- Emily Ezust
I also have a wishlist at Amazon.ca.