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

Question. What is this? Who owns this site? Who runs it?

Answer. Please read the introduction and take a small tour of special features.

This website is owned by the LiederNet Corporation, a small private Ontario corporation founded by Emily Ezust to preserve and protect the Archive. Emily's LinkedIn page is here. Besides adding new material almost every day, Emily has written tens of thousands of lines of code to allow you to view and navigate the material in interesting ways. Many dedicated volunteers help out from around the world.

Emily will be taking your questions.


Question. What's a Lied?

Answer. 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).


Question. OK, then what's an "art song"?

Answer. 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.


Question. Where can I buy sheetmusic for ____?

Answer. 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.


Question. Where can I hear the songs online?

Answer. Here are a few URLs to get you started:


Question. 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?

Answer. We'd be glad to include them! Please send material to   
content (AT) lieder (DOT) net
(content 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.


Question. Why do the first lines of texts sometimes appear at the top of texts instead of titles?

Answer. When the author of a text chooses one title and a composer who sets the text to music chooses another title, the headline shown at the top becomes the italicized first line. The various titles can then be seen below the text, next to the author and the composer name(s).

When possible, we show translated titles in the footnote area of a given translation, for example in this translation to German of a poem by John Keats.


Question. What is the purpose of the blue and grey rectangles below the texts and beside titles and first lines in the composer and poet index files, such as ITA, ENG, FRE, and SPA?

Answer. 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.)


Question. I could have sworn ____ composed a song named ____, but it isn't in your index. Am I wrong?

Answer. Not necessarily. Our lists are not always comprehensive. Let us know and we'll investigate.


Question. I noticed a lot of wrong words in a text. What's going on?

Answer. Composers often change the words to fit their music. If you need a text as a stand-alone poem, please make sure you check whether the author's text has been verified. This will be indicated in green beside the author's name.

When possible, we note textual differences as footnotes.


Question. Did you know that you have lots of typos in ____?

Answer. Oops! Please let us know about them - we would love to fix them. Send a detailed message to
content (AT) lieder (DOT) net
(content at lieder dot net)

Please keep in mind that if a text seems to have many typos, it may be using an older spelling style.


Question. Do you have a translation of ____?

Answer. If you don't see it on the website, we probably don't have it, but sometimes we can find someone to write one. Send a message to
licenses (AT) lieder (DOT) net
(licenses at lieder dot net)


Question. I sent you a translation/text to post two months ago and it hasn't been posted! What's going on?

Answer. Sometimes it takes us a while to process, verify and integrate all the material we receive, but we are always grateful for new material. Thank you for your patience.


Question. What kind of technology does your site use? How many developers do you have? [and other technical questions]

Answer. We have always had one developer (Emily). The website runs on a Perl cartridge on Red Hat's OpenShift platform with a connection to a MySQL database. Emily has written over 26,000 lines of Perl code to allow specialized viewing and editing. More information can be found in A Small Tour of Special Features.

We currently use Class::DBI to talk to the database, Mason to build pages, Git for version control, and Redmine for documentation and task management.


Question. Why don't you post scores as well as texts?

Answer. There is already a fantastic online resources for scores - the Petrucci Music Library. They are one of our super donors.


Question. Do you plan to add biographical information on composers or poets, and perhaps other information that could go into program notes?

Answer. No, because there are so many resources on-line already.


Question. 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.

Answer. This is on my To Do list.


Question. Where can I find information on how to pronounce words in different languages?
style="color:blue">Answer. Try IPASource (provides many IPA versions of art song texts) or The Diction Domain


Question. What can I do to help?

Answer. 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! Please e-mail   
content (AT) lieder (DOT) net
(content at lieder dot net)

As of January 2017, we have a guest editor system that will let you add material directly to the website. If you're interested, please send an e-mail to Emily directly.
emily (AT) lieder (DOT) net
(emily at lieder dot net)


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

Answer. Nope.


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