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Songs and Singing 

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Featured song

Moss. A song for the Boundary Brook Nature Reserve project and for anyone else who loves moss. It's all about the greenness and leaving it be. Four parts, with an extra line to sing when you're out there with real moss. 

 

Welcome

Hello! I’m Liz Hodgson and however you found me, you’re very welcome. This website contains my original harmony songs to listen to for free. You can also buy 'Learning Kits' for each song. Enjoy! Details of workshops and teaching are below here and also on the Teaching page (keep scrolling!)

You may know me from workshops and singing groups, inspired by the ‘Natural Voice’ way of singing.

 

NEXT EVENTS!

Singing in Nature has kept going since April 2022, monthly in local nature reserves, finding a home at Boundary Brook Reserve in East Oxford.  Looking forward to singing with you there on Thursday July 22nd at 2.30pm and August 31st too.

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Video

This song, Light, Dark, Shadow,  was created for the Pop-Up Arts Collective exhibition in 2020. Video thanks to Clare Davis and Jules Francis-Sinclair. For more about the art, visit https://www.popupartscollective.co.uk/

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About

About me:

In 2019, someone asked me if I’d been singing all my life and I realised the answer was basically ‘yes’. Lost my way in the 1970s, then discovered voice workshops, Frankie Armstrong and the beginnings of what is now the Natural Voice Network. Since then, I've run and performed in many kinds of groups. Suffice to say that the transformative act of singing is our birthright and it's been a joy and privilege to be part of the Network and give voice in company. 

About the songs:

I love sharing songs. Somehow songwriting crept up on me, and with much support and encouragement here we are! The songs are informed by the decades I've spent encouraging people to sing, my need for conviviality and to savour the natural world. Some have been sung at Joined-up Singing, Towersey Village Voices, with Frabjous Day and/or John Radcliffe Hospital staff, at parties, in the woods...

 

You'll find most of them on the Songs page - keep scrolling down. Each song has a track to listen to and a 'Learning Kit' with everything you need to learn and teach them (a full recording, the parts sung separately, a score and a lyric sheet). I've also written a set of six seasonal songs which you will find on the Seasonal Cycle page.

Do please let me know where they get to - I get a real kick out of knowing a song's been sung in Bristol or Sheffield or wherever! If you want to change or arrange them, please contact me first.

Questions? Send me a message via the Contact page

Credits and thanks to many people! Photos are mostly by Jonathan Leach and me, plus Emily Marshall, Joan Hodgson, Inez Kretzschmar, Robin Stocks and the internet.

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The Songs

The Songs

These songs are all by me, with some lyrics from other sources. Sometimes they started while I was cycling back from a group, sometimes on waking, or walking. 

A donation will enable you to download a "Learning Kit", which includes everything you need to learn and teach the songs: a full recording, the parts sung separately, a score and a lyric sheet.

All the Way

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A layered short song which you can lengthen as on the recording, slipping parts in and out at will. To do with going home, together. 

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Beach

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Celebrating Winchelsea Beach, East Sussex, UK. A place of stones, shells, sand and strange wind-sculpted wooden remains. 

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Bells of Rye

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Lyrics from the ancient bells in Rye Parish Church, Sussex (see picture). They all have rhymes engraved on them! 

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Bindweed

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Celebrating a 'weed'? Bindweed is unloved and even loathed by gardeners, but when you see it somewhere else where it's not ruining your crops or your flowers, it's a bit different. A Boundary Brook Nature Reserve moment. Three verses, two parts.

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Birdlife

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Another song born at Barracks Lane Nature Reserve, an urban oasis in East Oxford. Birds seem to feel safe there, so the birdsong is gorgeous and sightings can be remarkable! Three parts, can be sung together or in any combination. Quiet in the wood, now! 

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The Delightful Song

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Inspired by comments on the joys of singing from William Byrd, William James and Ella Fitzgerald! Different eras, same idea. Photo shows Ella having a blast with Frank Sinatra.

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Dusk

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A short song from the garden, with 3 parts and 3 verses. Describes that moment when the daylight shifts.

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Each Note

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A 4-part, 2-verse song about chords and listening. And obviously, birds as well!

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Fix and Mend

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A 2-part, 3-verse song about repairing our stuff, ourselves and maybe more. Try different arrangements - this is the one I liked.

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Fox

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A little warm-up song to take you through all the consonants, focus on precision and timing, throw in a harmony if you like and land together at the end! And think of the joy of seeing a fox. 

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A Fruit Tree Song

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Adapt this song to whatever fruit trees you're celebrating, planting, mulching, harvesting - add harmonies or not as the situation requires. 

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Get on with it!

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Another song about fixing. Loved clothes last! There are 5 parts but don't sing them all at once - though you could - as it's too much. Do play around, introduce other garments, have fun with it. 

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Hope

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''Hope is the Thing with Feathers' - a poem by Emily Dickinson, renowned 19th Century American poet - made into a round.

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Ivy All Over

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Lyrics from Robert Macfarlane's poem in The Lost Words.  An amazing book, with illustrations by Jackie Morris, drawing attention to the loss of plant and creature names in the Oxford Children's Dictionary. 

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Lark

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Lyrics from The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane & Jackie Morris. I went with the thought of seeking the lark to lift the spirits. The track here demonstrates the different parts coming in and out so you get a sense of how to play with it - and what's going on!

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Large!

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Lyrics mostly from Walt Whitman's poem 'Song of Myself'. A good explanation to have when we contradict ourselves. 

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Maysong 2020

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From the first pandemic lockdown, recorded with open windows and a blackbird singing. I had just discovered the word for the smell after rain on warm ground. 

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Moss

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A very green song, 4 parts - a 3-part backing/chant and a melody, with an extra line for singing when you're out there with real moss. Picture from Bagley Wood. 

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New Song

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Not really about cake, but the delightful process of singing a new song together.  

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Opening Up

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A good warm-up song. Originally written for the Pop-Up Arts Collective Exhibition 'Beyond'.

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See the Flowers

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Flowers for morning and evening, 3 parts, plenty of scope for a bit of jazzy rhythm and variation.

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Song for Comfort

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For those less than perfect moments. Three parts, four verses, short but heartfelt. 

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Spring Chickens

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A 3-part song with 2 sections - repeat as desired. The recording gives one arrangement. Possibly more relevant for slightly older singers? 

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A Sunflower Round

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A round taken from A Sunflower Song. You'll hear one version and the score in the Learning Kit gives you another. Fun to play with! 

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A Sunflower Song

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A song in 4 parts with words by William Blake and me. Constantly amazed by these flowers every year.

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Swifts

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Inspired by swifts, informed by the Oxford Natural History Museum and illustrated by the nearby Swift Tower. Love these birds!

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The Tiniest Bird

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A Goldcrest appeared in the hedge! And Field Maple seeds sprouted. Tiny things bringing joy. 

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Today is Unbelievable

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A 3-part short song for when you can't quite believe how things are. Written as the sun came up, but good for any time of day.

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Walking Chant

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This song is for Singing Walks! And for any time you need a steady pace and lots of repeating parts to play with.

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Waltzing for Health

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A waltz to celebrate the words on the sculpture in the local Health Centre - see pic. Do play around with the arrangement!

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We are Nature

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Three layers that can be swapped around, all about being part of nature and not separate from it. 

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Winter Magic

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A short 4-part song that can be lengthened with repeats all you want! A sense of optimism for winter. 

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Singing guidelines

Be playful! Some of these songs are easier than others, so have a listen to see what you think. One way of enjoying the more complex ones is to sing one or a few parts at a time, rather than having every part going at once, e.g. Lark. Any song can be sung higher or lower than here. I suggest you align your version with the lyrics and the spirit of the song and risk stretching your singing range(s) higher or lower as appropriate. Go on! The recordings were placed to fit my range, that's all. Don’t assume that men have to sing the lower parts.
 

 

Licence for use

Making a donation gives you the rights to sing, teach and perform these songs. If you’re thinking of recording or filming, (exciting!) I’d love to know! If you start to copy the scores or lyrics multiple times or distribute the recordings – e.g. for choir participants – then a larger donation would be welcome, or you can refer people here. If you want to arrange or change the songs, please contact me first. Thanks!

 

Questions? Contact me here if any of this isn’t working for you.


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Teaching
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Teaching

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Workshops and One-to-One Teaching 

Singing in Nature

At Boundary  Brook Nature Reserve by Larkrise School, East Oxford, OX4 4AN. Next one Thursday  July 27th at 2.30pm. Check with me about directions. (Parking is currently tricky).

A Harmony Songs Workshop!

Sunday April 16th went well! No more workshops planned for now, but watch this space! 

Also very happy to be hired to run one-off sessions or to share facilitation duties with others. Get in touch about that and one-to-one coaching. 

 

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