A Guide to Singing If Music Be the Food of Love by David Dickau: Tips and Tricks for Choral Singers
If Music Be the Food of Love: A Choral Masterpiece by David Dickau
If you are a fan of choral music, you may have heard of a song called If Music Be the Food of Love by David Dickau. This song is based on a poem by Henry Heveningham, which was inspired by a famous line from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. It is a beautiful and expressive piece that showcases the power and beauty of the human voice. In this article, we will explore what makes this song a choral masterpiece, from its lyrics and music to its performance and challenges.
if music be the food of love david dickau pdf free
What is the song about?
The song is about the relationship between music and love, and how they both nourish the soul. The speaker expresses his or her deep love for someone, and asks for more music to feed this love. The speaker also praises the beauty and harmony of music, and compares it to the beauty and harmony of his or her beloved.
Who is David Dickau?
David Dickau is an American composer, conductor, and educator. He was born in 1953 in Minnesota, and studied music at St. Olaf College, the University of Southern California, and the University of Illinois. He has composed over 100 choral works, many of which have been performed and recorded by renowned choirs around the world. He is also a professor of music at Minnesota State University, Mankato, where he directs the choral program. He is widely respected as a leader and innovator in the field of choral music.
Why is this song a masterpiece?
This song is a masterpiece because it combines lyrical poetry with musical artistry. It captures the essence and emotion of the words with its melody, harmony, texture, and form. It also challenges and delights both singers and listeners with its vocal technique, musical interpretation, and ensemble coordination. It is a song that speaks to the heart and soul of anyone who loves music and love.
The Lyrics and Their Meaning
The first stanza: a passionate declaration of love
The first stanza of the song is as follows:
If music be the food of love,
Sing on till I am fill'd with joy;
For then my list'ning soul you move
To pleasures that can never cloy.
Your eyes, your mien, your tongue declare
That you are music ev'rywhere.
This stanza is a passionate declaration of love from the speaker to his or her beloved. The speaker compares music to food, and says that he or she wants more music to fill his or her joy. The speaker also says that listening to music moves his or her soul to pleasures that can never get enough of. The speaker then compliments his or her beloved's eyes, manner, and speech, and says that he or she is music everywhere.
The second stanza: a plea for more music
The second stanza of the song is as follows:
Pleasures invade both eye and ear,
So fierce the transports are, they wound,
And all my senses feasted are,
Tho' yet the treat is only sound,
Sure I must perish by your charms,
Unless you save me in your arms.
This stanza is a plea for more music from the speaker to his or her beloved. The speaker says that pleasures invade both his or her eye and ear, and that the transports are so fierce that they wound. The speaker also says that all his or her senses are feasted, even though the treat is only sound. The speaker then says that he or she must perish by his or her beloved's charms, unless he or she saves him or her in his or her arms.
The third stanza: a celebration of beauty and harmony
The third stanza of the song is as follows:
The voice you hear it is my heart,
That feels the passion you inspire,
Return the love you do impart,
And let our souls in bliss conspire.
As through your eyes I pierce your mind,
And see there what I hope to find.
This stanza is a celebration of beauty and harmony from the speaker to his or her beloved. The speaker says that the voice he or she hears is his or her heart, that feels the passion that his or her beloved inspires. The speaker also asks his or her beloved to return the love that he or she gives, and to let their souls conspire in bliss. The speaker then says that he or she pierces his or her beloved's mind through his or her eyes, and sees there what he or she hopes to find.
The Music and Its Features
The melody: a smooth and expressive line
The melody of the song is a smooth and expressive line that follows the natural rhythm and inflection of the words. It has a range of about an octave and a half, and it uses both stepwise and leapwise motion. It also has some chromatic notes that add color and tension to the harmony. The melody is mostly sung by the soprano and tenor voices, while the alto and bass voices provide support and contrast.
The harmony: a rich and colorful blend
The harmony of the song is a rich and colorful blend of chords that create a variety of moods and effects. It uses both diatonic and non-diatonic chords, such as major, minor, diminished, augmented, seventh, ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth chords. It also uses some modal scales, such as Dorian, Lydian, and Mixolydian, to create different flavors and atmospheres. The harmony is mostly homophonic, meaning that the voices move together in chords, but it also has some polyphonic moments, meaning that the voices move independently in counterpoint.
The texture: a varied and dynamic contrast
The texture of the song is a varied and dynamic contrast of different combinations and layers of voices. It ranges from unison to four-part harmony, from solo to tutti, from soft to loud, from slow to fast, from simple to complex. It also uses some special effects, such as glissando, crescendo, decrescendo, ritardando, accelerando, fermata, rubato, and caesura. The texture creates interest and variety for both singers and listeners.
The form: a simple and elegant structure
The form of the song is a simple and elegant structure that organizes the music into sections. It follows an ABA' pattern, meaning that it has three sections: A (the first stanza), B (the second stanza), and A' (the third stanza). The A section is repeated with some variations at the end as A'. The A section has a substructure of ABAB', meaning that it has two phrases (A and B) that are repeated with some variations (A' and B'). The B section has a substructure of CDCD', meaning that it has two phrases (C and D) that are repeated with some variations (C' and D'). The form creates coherence and balance for both singers and listeners.
The Performance and Its Challenges
The vocal technique: a balance of power and finesse
The musical interpretation: a mix of emotion and precision
The musical interpretation required for this song is a mix of emotion and precision. The singers need to convey the meaning and emotion of the words with their expression, phrasing, articulation, and dynamics. They also need to follow the musical markings and directions of the composer and conductor with their accuracy, intonation, rhythm, and tempo. They need to balance the expression and precision to create a convincing and compelling performance.
The ensemble coordination: a sense of unity and flexibility
The ensemble coordination required for this song is a sense of unity and flexibility. The singers need to listen to each other and blend their voices in harmony, balance, and tone. They also need to adjust to each other and follow the conductor in timing, tempo, and style. They need to be both unified and flexible to create a smooth and seamless performance.
Summary of the main points
In conclusion, If Music Be the Food of Love by David Dickau is a choral masterpiece that explores the relationship between music and love. It is based on a poem by Henry Heveningham, which was inspired by a line from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. It has beautiful and expressive lyrics that convey the speaker's passion, plea, and celebration of love. It also has musical features that match and enhance the words, such as melody, harmony, texture, and form. It challenges and delights both singers and listeners with its vocal technique, musical interpretation, and ensemble coordination.
Call to action for the readers
If you are interested in listening to or singing this song, you can find the sheet music and recordings online. You can also check out other choral works by David Dickau, who is one of the most prominent composers of our time. You will surely enjoy his music as much as we do. And remember, if music be the food of love, sing on!
Here are some frequently asked questions about this song:
Q: When was this song composed?
A: This song was composed in 1991 by David Dickau.
Q: What is the original source of the poem?
A: The poem was written by Henry Heveningham in 1699, and it was based on a line from William Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night, which was written in 1601.
Q: What is the difficulty level of this song?
A: This song is considered to be moderately difficult for choirs. It requires good vocal skills, musical skills, and ensemble skills.
Q: What are some other songs that are similar to this one?
A: Some other songs that are similar to this one are Sing Me to Heaven by Daniel Gawthrop, Sure on This Shining Night by Morten Lauridsen, The Road Home by Stephen Paulus, and O Love by Elaine Hagenberg.
Q: How can I learn more about choral music?
A: You can learn more about choral music by joining a choir, taking a class, reading a book, watching a video, or visiting a website. Some examples are Chorus America, American Choral Directors Association, Choral Music Experience, Choirs Are Awesome, and Classic FM.