Songs and Singing 

Welcome

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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 and teaching. 

 

NEXT EVENT!

Thursday 20th October at 2pm we're back in Boundary Brook Nature Reserve, Boundary Brook Road by Larkrise School in East Oxford for more Singing in Nature. The last time was so very wet, let's see if we can have a drier session! To book a place please email info@ouwg.org.uk. We ask for a donation of £5 for the Reserve, unless you're already a member. Looking forward to singing with you!

Featured song

A three-part song inspired by the birds at Boundary Brook Nature Reserve in E. Oxford. 

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 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:

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. 

 

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

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.

Beach

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

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

Click to download:

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:

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.

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

Click to download:

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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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.

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Click to download:

Each Note

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

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

Click to download:

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. 

Download the Learning Kit - this one's free!

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.

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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. 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!

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. 

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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:

New Song

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

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

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:

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.

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

Click to download:

Song for Comfort

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

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

Click to download:

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? 

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

Click to download:

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! 

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

Click to download:

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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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:

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.

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

Click to download:

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.

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:

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. 

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

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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Workshops and One-to-One Teaching 

Singing in Nature

Thursday 20th October Brook Nature Reserve by Larkrise School, East Oxford. OX4 4AN. Get in touch for practicalities. Please do book a place by emailing info@ouwg.org.uk, so that we have room for you! If you're  not a member of the Reserve, then we ask for a £5 donation. Thanks. The last time was so very wet, let's see if we can have a drier session! 

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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