Songs and Singing 

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Featured song

A song about swifts, who visit the UK for such a short time. Coming next - a beach song.

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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! When the virus situation permits, there will be details of workshops and teaching as well.

You may know me from workshops and singing groups, inspired by the ‘Natural Voice’ way of singing and teaching. Since 2018 I’ve been ‘semi-retired and available for projects’. Still true.

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/

 

About me:

In 2019, someone asked me if I’d been singing all my life and I realised the answer was basically ‘yes’. From singing along to Children’s Favourites, choosing the lower part in school because the tune was boring, singing and playing guitar in a group visiting care homes and a borstal at 17, to joining a choir in France.Lost my way then discovered voice workshops, in the 1980s, 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:

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, as well as by the ideas, sights and sounds that inspire me. Some have been sung at Joined-up Singing, Towersey Village Voices, with Frabjous Day and/or John Radcliffe Hospital staff. Others waited – till now! Yet others are new.

 

You'll find most of them on the Songs page. 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 arrnge 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

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 on a walk. Harmonies often arrive in the bathroom. Then I sit down in the loft room and deliberately make them, letting them develop and change, scuppering daft ideas and persevering till words and notes fall into place.

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.

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! 

Download the Learning Kit (for a suggested donation of £5)

Click to download:

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.

Download the Learning Kit (for a suggested donation of £5)

Click to download:

Dusk

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

Download the Learning Kit (for a suggested donation of £5)

Click to download:

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.

Download the Learning Kit (for a suggested donation of £5)

Click to download:

In Honour of Small Things

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To celebrate a goldcrest appearing in the garden and field maple seeds germinating.

Download the Learning Kit (for a suggested donation of £5)

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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. 

Download the Learning Kit (for a suggested donation of £7)

Click to download:

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. 

Download the Learning Kit (for a suggested donation of £7)

Click to download:

Large!

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

Download the Learning Kit (for a suggested donation of £7)

Click to download:

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. 

Download the Learning Kit (for a suggested donation of £7)

Click to download:

Opening Up

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

Download the Learning Kit (for a suggested donation of £5)

Click to download:

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!

Download the Learning Kit (for a suggested donation of £5)

Click to download:

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!

Download the Learning Kit (for a suggested donation of £5)

Click to download:

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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COVID-19

Workshops and One-to-One Teaching
 

I have no plans to run online workshops or teach via a screen, but am very much looking forward to singing together freely in person again when the time is right...so 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. 

 

Meanwhile, check out Emily’s Choirs for Emily Marshall’s online singing opportunities 

and the Natural Voice Network for others worldwide.