This page lists some MIDI files that I've been transcribing from stuff in my
Big Box 'O' Music, and things that I've run across in choir. Click on the song
title to hear the piece after a short loading time. (If you get an error
message, you may need to download a MIDI plug-in; there is one for Netscape
here, at LiveUpdate/Crescendo.
Current versions of IE and Netscape have integrated media players that handle
I have long been a fan of MIDI files, and my favorite website is still the
Silvis Woodshed, a
fabulous treasure trove of MIDI files of choral music. The idea is that
they are electronic tones, like the synthesizer you played around with in
high school, and so reproduce the rhythm and pitches of a piece of music
in a much more precise manner than a recording. (MIDI files also take up
less Internet bandwidth than .wav or other audio files.)
Yes, you lose the dynamic range and the 'heart and soul' of a real musical
performance, but when a person needs to learn notes, or get the 'gist' of
a piece, a MIDI file can act as a quick working sketch of the piece. This
is why they do not replace a recording, in my opinion, and why I feel
justified in posting MIDI files of copyrighted scores on the Internet.
(Please do not blast me with angry e-mails about why all MIDIs of published music
are evil and the Library of Congress is going
to slam me in jail. I am a librarian and have studied copyright law. It is my
belief that MIDIs do not constitute an infringement of copyright law. They
even help create a market for published scores/recordings, since conductors
need a place where they can first hear a piece in order to become interested
in performing it/hearing a recording, and singers cannot learn a performable
piece without a printed score in front of them. Note that I do not include
words with my sequences. Good luck singing these songs without them. ;) )
Of course, my beliefs on this issue won't prevent my being sued by publishers
if they feel litigious one sunny Tuesday, so if you are a publisher or other
interested party and feel you have a legitimate reason why I should remove
a file from my site, please e-mail me
and let me know. I would simply ask that you first consider the facts about
choral music: that MIDIs, scores, and recordings play three very different
roles in the teaching and performance of these pieces.
You are welcome to link to this page from yours. Copyright note: The
transcriptions listed below, NOT the pieces or arrangements themselves, are
©Jennifer Friedman, and may not be recopied or republished in print or
on the Internet, nor copied to any other computer except as necessary for
- Adoramus Te, attributed to W.A. Mozart, edited
by Carl Deis
- Central Chamber Chorale, Spring 1999 season.
- Adoramus Te, Christe, attributed to Giovanni
Pierluigi da Palestrina, edited by Peter J. Wilhousky
- Part of the Northshield Choir's impressive W & W performance set from this summer.
I keep confusing it with the Mozart version above, so I included them both.
- Celebrons Sans Cesse, a 4-part canon by
Thomas Ravenscroft (from his collection entitled Pammelia, 1609)
- I found this in an online version of Pammelia (available
it seemed to call out to me. Strangely, I was at a music shop the next day looking
for sheet music for Lassus' "Musica, Dei Donum Optimi", and found another song
by that name--with the tune of this canon. VERY strange coincidence. I prefer
the French text, which you can find on the website.
- Chi La Gagliarda, Donna, Vo Imparare, by J. D. G. da Nola
- The Northshield Choir will be singing this little Italian mascherata, or
"masked song", in fall 1999. If you're learning this piece, see also midis for the
soprano line, alto line, and
- Construe My Meaning, Giles Farnaby, 1598
- I have loved this rather intimate, weirdly chromatic madrigal since
I first heard it. The text is something unintelligible about someone hoping G-d
knows that they deserve to go to heaven (I think). Somehow the music improves on
the text tenfold, making it into the plea of a misunderstood person for justice
- Deba Contre Mes Debateurs, one of several four-voice
settings of this snippet from Psalm 35 by Claude Goudimel (c. 1505-1572)
- Somewhere I have a recording of this; I also had a photocopy from some Renaissance
Music Theory book that turned up in my Box 'O' Music. Listen closely to the soprano--it's just
a simple folk tune.
- Down From Above, by Thomas Bateson (1604)
- Curiosity is all that motivated my sequencing this interesting
through-composed madrigal. The text is a borderline naughty story about Jove
falling into the maiden Danae's lap disguised as a shower of golden rain. The
music is nice--but this is one of those times when you are better off not having
- Follow Me, Sweet Love, by the madrigalist Michael East (written 1606)
- Senior year in high school Concert Choir. Mr. Harr was on a madrigal kick. I've never
heard a recording of this and it's obvious why (hey, they can't all be "Now Is the Month of Maying",
right?), but I think the midi makes it sound kind of cute.
- For All The Saints, Ralph Vaughan Williams, arr. Robert Shaw
- A true classic known to many thousands of beginner choral singers!
We pounded away at this through half of freshman year Mixed Chorus
in high school. Luckily, the more you pound this song, the better it sounds.
- Green Grow'th The Holly, Henry VIII
- At Boar's Head 1999 in Caer Anterth Mawr (Milwaukee), I was fortunate to
meet up with a group of talented singers from Tree-Girt-Sea (Chicago) called the
Pippins, who were kind enough to let me sing with them. They let me keep copies
of the music we sang, and this was one of them. Not really a Christmas song,
more like a winter song, about King Henry's evergreen love for his lady. For
learners: listen to the soprano, alto,
or baritone parts (only one male part in this one).
- Hadlakat Neirot (Candlelighting Prayer), from
the Jewish Sabbath service, A.W. Binder version
- This is the tune the cantor sings at Beth El in Madison. I sequenced it in a hurry
for a friend who needed to know the tune quickly. For all my haste it came out pretty well.
- Hodie Christus Natus Est by Jan Peterszoon Sweelinck, 1621
- For the Northshield Choir's learning pleasure: a real holiday gem by a master
of polyphony. For those learning the piece, also try listening to the first soprano,
second soprano, alto,
tenor, and bass parts.
PLEASE NOTE: I did not do the sequencing of this, but I did change the voice instruments
and separate the lines out for learning.
- If Ye Love Me by the English Renaissance composer Thomas
- One of the finest of the well-known and well-loved Renaissance motets. Sweet and
simple. I'm sure this has been sequenced elsewhere but I had to do a version of my own. This one
is part of the Fall 1999 Central Chamber Chorale program.
- If You Trust Before You Try, from The Catch Club, Or, Merry Companions, 1762
- One of the shorter and least bawdy of the catches, or rounds, in The Catch Club,
this is just a cute l'il thing.
- In the Quest for Understanding, tune: Thaxted,
adapted by Gustav Holst for The Planets and later harmonized in his Hymns
for Church and School; used as the Lawrence University Sesquicentennial Hymn in 1997
- Great tune. Majestic and complex. Imagine it sung by a choir and accompanied
by a Brombaugh tracker organ in a large college chapel. That's the way I first sang it at my
college reunion, June 1999.
- Kyrie from Missa Tournai, anon. French (early 14th c.)
- One day in high school I decided I wanted to hear more of that
old madrigal-type stuff we were singing in choir. So I located a couple of recordings of
old stuff in the school library, sat like an idiot with those huge plastic headphones on at the
library's listening station (which conveniently faced a large window that people
coming off of three hallways and a staircase could see into), took a liking to a few of the
pieces, checked out the records, and made my first Renaissance mix tape. This piece was on it.
For me, this song represents the quintessential medieval sound.
- Mille Regretz ca. 1520, by the flemish Renaissance composer Josquin des Pres
- A sweet, sad French choral piece in the voice of a lover who
regrets leaving his loved one and causing her pain. This was one of the
hot tunes of its time and was often used as the basis for other works,
such as a mass by the Spanish composer Cristobal Morales and an arrangement
for vihuela (a type of early guitar) by Luis de Narvaez (also Spanish) in 1538.
Also said to be the favorite song of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.
- Nunc Dimittis by Thomas J. Porter, written for the Bismarck-Mandan
Civic Chorus in 1996
- I don't have many happy memories from my year in North Dakota, but this gem is one
- O Rosa Bella by John Dunstable, ca. 1420
- Another song included on my first "Renaissance Mix" tape. This melismatic
piece (it can take up to 5 measures to sing one syllable!) was included in Jehan de
Montchenu's beautiful heart-shaped chansonnier or songbook. I have loved it for years
and just recently discovered, on finding a score for it, that the second verse has the singer
dying of love for a Jewess ("O dio d'amore, que pena e quest'amare!/Vede que yo moro per questa
judea.") This I like. ;)
- Quant je voi yver, anon. medieval, arr. J. Friedman
- This gentle-sounding little medieval French song fooled me into thinking it
was a love song, when I first heard a recording of it. When I found it in a book recently,
I was amazed to see it's anything but! It's actually the lament of a wandering minstrel
who has certain requirements when selecting a host for the winter: someone who doesn't keep
track of the tab, but does serve excellent food. He then gives his winter eating wish list
("Porc et buef et mouton/Maslarz, faisanz, et venoison/Grasses gelines et chapons/Et bons
fromages en glaon").
- Salmo 150 by Ernani Aguiar, 1993
- Who is this Ernani Aguiar guy? I don't know, but if he had any idea how beloved this
rousing shout of a Psalm 150 is by American choirs, he'd sleep well at night. I have two or
three recordings of this, and have sung it in the Madison Chamber Choir and the Bismarck-Mandan Civic Chorus.
- Stella Splendens
- Another fall 1999 Northshield Choir piece, this is a very singable anthem in Latin
and English. And for students of the piece, here are the soprano,
alto, tenor, and bass lines
(the soprano and tenor have the same notes, as do the altos and basses, but I have sequenced them
as four parts with the men's voices an octave lower for convenience and to get an idea of the
sound of the piece).
- Weep, O Mine Eyes by John Bennett, 1599
- It JUST makes into into SCA period by a year, and those of us who love it are glad,
because this is undoubtedly the saddest, the sweetest, and the most addictive of the many
famous English madrigals. (I had the text of this one next to my senior photo in my college yearbook.)
This was also in the summer 1999 Northshield Choir repertoire. For learners, here are the
soprano, alto, tenor,
and bass lines separated out for practicing.
Back to Jennifer's Page
Last modified: 11/4/07