The LiederNet Archive
WARNING. Not all the material on this website is in the public domain.
It is illegal to copy and distribute our copyright-protected material without permission.
For more information, contact us at the following address:
licenses (AT) lieder (DOT) net

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) and Links

Q. What is this? Who owns this site? Who runs it?
A. Please read the introduction. Here is a small tour of special features. Emily Ezust owns and runs this website (here is my LinkedIn page). I'll be taking your questions.

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).
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 (often, but not always, a pre-existing or separately-published poem) for a classically-trained vocalist with some form of accompaniment (usually but not restricted to the piano). 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
Q. Where can I buy sheetmusic for ____?
A. Get it from Glendower Jones! Classical Vocal Reprints specializes in Art Song, Oratorio, Opera, Choral and Musical Theatre scores.
Classical Vocal Reprints
Classical Vocal Reprints

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. We'd be glad to include them! Please send material to   
emily (AT) lieder (DOT) net
(emily at lieder dot net)

Please send 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 information about a song cycle, please describe the individual movements. If you don't have the texts at hand, first lines are very useful to have.

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. 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
(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 and violist.
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? How many developers do you have? [and other technical questions]
A. We have one developer (me), but over 950 wonderful volunteers providing material.

The website runs on a Perl cartridge on Red Hat's OpenShift platform with a connection to a MySQL database. I've written thousands of lines of Perl code to allow specialized viewing of the research we've collected over twenty years. More information can be found in A Small Tour of Special Features.

I use Emacs to edit everything, Class::DBI to talk to the database, Mason to build pages, Git for version control, and Redmine for documentation and task management.

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. 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. This is on my To Do list.
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

Q. Is there a mailing list devoted to Lieder?
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 website began in 1995 as a personal project, and I have been working on it full-time without a salary since 2008. Our research has never had any government or institutional funding, so if you found the information here useful, please consider making a donation. Your gift is greatly appreciated.
     - Emily Ezust