by William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616)
Translation © by Ferdinando Albeggiani

Music to hear, why hear'st thou music...
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FIN ITA
Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy.
Why lovest thou that which thou receivest not gladly,
Or else receivest with pleasure thine annoy?
If the true concord of well-tunèd sounds,
By unions married, do offend thine ear,
They do but sweetly chide thee, who confounds
In singleness the parts that thou shouldst bear.
Mark how one string, sweet husband to another,
Strikes each in each by mutual ordering,
Resembling sire and child and happy mother,
Who, all in one, one pleasing note do sing.
  Whose speechless song, being many, seeming one,
  Sings this to thee: "Thou single wilt prove none."

About the headline (FAQ)


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive):

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

  • Also set in Dutch (Nederlands), a translation by Albert Verwey (1865 - 1937) ; composed by Johannes Röntgen.
  • Also set in French (Français), a translation by Claude Duboscq (1897 - 1938) ; composed by Claude Duboscq.
  • Also set in Hungarian (Magyar), a translation by Lőrinc Szabó (1900 - 1957) , "Shakespeare szonettjeiből VIII", first published 1921? ; composed by Viktor Vaszy.
  • Also set in Japanese (日本語), a translation by Tsubouchi Shōyō (1859 - 1935) ; composed by Elliot Weisgarber.
  • Also set in Romanian (Română), a translation by Ion Frunzetti ; composed by Nicolae Coman.
  • Also set in Russian (Русский), a translation by Samuil Yakovlevich Marschak (1887 - 1964) , "Сонет VIII" ; composed by Dmitry Borisovich Kabalevsky.

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

Researcher for this text: Jeroen Scholten

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 14
Word count: 110

Tu, musica all'orecchio, perché  triste la musica ascolti?
Language: Italian (Italiano)  after the English 
Tu, musica all'orecchio, perché  triste la musica ascolti?
Dolcezza con dolcezza non lotta, e gioia della gioia ha piacere.
Perché mostri di amare ciò che non lietamente accogli
o  forse lietamente accogli ciò che ti fa annoiare?
Se la pura armonia di ben accordati suoni,
tutti insieme congiunti, offende il tuo udito,
è solo un dolce rimprovero a te, che confondi
in un a solo ciò che dovresti tenere separato.
Considera come ogni corda, all'altra dolce sposa,
vibra con le altre in un mutuo concento,
simili a un padre, a un figlio e a una madre gioiosa,
che tutti uniti cantano lo stesso piacevole canto.
Il cui suono molteplice, che pure sembra uno,
senza parole ti dice: "Solo non sei nessuno"


  • Translation from English to Italian (Italiano) copyright © 2008 by Ferdinando Albeggiani, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

Based on:


This text was added to the website: 2009-01-01
Line count: 14
Word count: 121