WARNING. Not all the material on this website is in the public domain.
It is illegal
to copy and distribute our copyright-protected material
For more information, contact us at the following address:
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) and Links
Question. What is this? Who owns this site? Who runs it?
Emily Ezust first opened the Archive on May 24, 1995 as a personal
project hosted in a student account at McGill University, and titled
it "The Lied and Song Text Page", which later expanded to "The Lied,
Art Song, and Choral Texts Archive". It was generously hosted by the
REC Music Foundation from 1996 until June, 2015, when it became "The
Please read the introduction for
more information, and take a small tour of special features.
This website is owned by the LiederNet Corporation, a private Ontario corporation
founded to preserve and protect the Archive.
Emily Ezust's LinkedIn page is
Besides adding new material almost every day, Emily
has written tens of thousands of lines of code to allow visitors to view and navigate the material
in interesting and useful ways. Many dedicated and generous volunteers
help out from around the world,
a growing number of whom are using a content-management system Emily developed and made available
(by request) in January, 2017.
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"?
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|
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
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
Answer. We'd be glad to include them!
Please send material to
(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)
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)
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?
[and other technical questions]
Answer. The website is written
in Perl 5 and uses
database. Emily Ezust has written over 26,000 lines of Perl code to
allow specialized viewing and editing, with administrative
features and a content-management system for guest editors.
More information can be found in A Small Tour of Special Features.
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?
Answer. Try IPASource (provides many IPA
versions of art song texts) or The Diction
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)
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 at lieder dot net)
Question. Can you write me an essay for school?
[usually asked in more roundabout ways]
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
the information here useful, please consider making a donation. Your gift is greatly appreciated.
- Emily Ezust