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Solidarity Forever: An Arrangement for the Illawarra Union Singers

“Solidarity Forever”, written by Ralph Chaplin in 1915, is a popular union anthem. It is sung to the tune of “John Brown’s Body” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic“. Although it was written as a song for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), other union movements have adopted the song as their own.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solidarity_Forever

This arrangement, for a small mixed voice choir with guitar accompaniment, sounds like this. It is based on an SATB arrangement by C. Shaw and E. Blyth which is sung by the combined Sydney, Newcastle and Illawarra union choirs.
The key has been lowered from Bb to G.
The melody, identical to the combined choir version except for the lower key, is to be sung in unison by baritone and/or mezzo-soprano voices.

Sheet Music: (.pdf format)
Sheet Music: (.pdf format, cropped)
Lyrics: Word Document

If printing the cropped sheet music, look for a printer setting that says “fit”, or “fit to printer margins”. If that doesn’t work for you download the first, uncropped file.

Practice Tracks

If you aren’t sure how to download tracks from this site, click here.

Melody: Mezzo-Soprano
Melody: Baritone

Identical to the soprano line, except an octave lower.

Alto

The alto part is identical to the combined choir arrangement linked to above. The end of the first verse uses the same notes from verse 2 in that arrangement. The beginning of verse 2 uses the same notes as verses 3 & 4. The pitch is lower than the combined choir version.

Tenor

The tenor part contains a solo harmony line for most of the first verse, to complement the solo sung by a soprano or baritone. This could also be sung by a contralto or a soprano. The rest of the tenor line is the same as the combined choir arrangement, except for the last note of the chorus, and of the coda. The beginning of verse 2 uses the same notes as verses 3 & 4. The pitch is lower than the combined choir version.

All Parts Together

Good practice may be to practice your part with its individual track, and then sing this against the all parts track.

Notes on previous versions:

And finally here is the sheet music in jpg format:

And the lyrics as text:

Solidarity: IUS Version

When the union’s inspiration through the workers’ blood shall run,
There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun,
Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one,
But the Union makes us strong!

Chorus
Solidarity forever, solidarity forever,
Solidarity forever,
For the Union makes us strong!

Is there aught we hold in common with the greedy parasite,
Who would lash us into serfdom and would crush us with his might?
Is there anything left to us but to organize and fight?
For the union makes us strong!

They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn,
But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn,
We can break their haughty power gain our freedom when we learn,
That the Union makes us strong!

In our hands is placed a power greater than their hoarded gold,
Greater than the might of armies magnified a thousand fold,
We can bring to birth a new world from the ashes of the old,
For the Union makes us strong!

Coda After Final Chorus:

For the Union makes us strong!

Banks Are Made of Marble

This song was written in 1949 by Les Rice, a farmer from New York State, USA. It deals with the perverse injustice, exploitation and inequality Rice saw all around him. Pete Seeger wrote about Les Rice and this song: “Like most small farmers, he was getting intolerably squeezed by the big companies which sold him all his fertilizer, insecticide and equipment, and the big companies that dictated to him the prices he would get for his produce. Out of that squeeze came this song.”
https://mainlynorfolk.info/folk/songs/banksofmarble.html

It seems to me that the song has particular resonance and currency in Australia at the moment, following the largely ineffectual Royal Commission into Banking. This arrangement is based on an earlier Michael Roper arrangement.

Sheet Music: (pdf, tightly cropped)

To print the music above, look for a setting that says “Fit” or “Fit to Printer Margins”, for a nice big printout, or if that doesn’t work, print the music below.

Sheet Music: (pdf, margins)
Practice Tracks

Soprano/Melody: 2 Verses Plus Chorus

 

Soprano/Melody: Final Chorus

 

Soprano/Melody: Final Chorus; With Click Track

 

Alto: Chorus Only

 

Tenor: Chorus Only

 

Bass: Chorus Only

 

Bass: Chorus Only, With Click Track

 

Here is a recording of the Weavers singing the song, in Bb:

 

And the same Weavers’ recording, with a pitch shift to C:

This last recording with the pitch shift puts the recording into the same key as the arrangement presented here.

How to download practice tracks.

Finally here is the sheet music in .jpg format:

Notes on version changes.

Love and Justice: A Song

An adaptation of “Love and Justice”, a women’s anthem by independent musician and ARIA award winner Kavisha  Mazzella. The Illawarra Union Singers thank Kavisha for her permission to perform the song, adapting it for a small mixed voice choir.

Sheet Music

The Original Sheet Music

Lyrics

The files below are adapted from this original music. If using the lyric sheet above, the following arrangement skips the “ah” chorus, and abbreviates the fanfare.

Adapted Sheet Music 1.9 

If you have a previous copy of the adapted sheet music or practice tracks this file documents, in part at least, changes made.

Practice Tracks

These practice tracks work closely with the adapted sheet music. The exact phrasing of the words in verses 2 and 3 may not be identical to what needs to be sung. They are all about 20% slower than the performance tempo. Good preparation might include practising your own part, and then, when confident, practice with the “All Parts” track. Click here for instructions on how to download these practice tracks.

Soprano With Click Track

 

Soprano Without Click Track

 

Alto With Click Track

 

Tenor With Click Track

 

Tenor Without Click Track

 

Bass With Click Track

 

Bass Without Click Track

 

All Parts

 

And as a reference point:

The Original Recording

And, (inspiring, but somewhat daunting), from YouTube,
The Original Amazing Performance

 

Lament for Manus Island:
A Choral Arrangement

Lament for Manus Island In Parts

I was asked for an arrangement of this song for a mixed voice ensemble, so here it is. The score is written with melody, (plus a descant in the chorus), to be sung by sopranos and/or tenors, an alto line and a bass line, with guitar chords indicated.

For the solo version,  click here!

Sheet Music

Lament for Manus Island 4.7 Bm

Lament for Manus Island 4.7 Am
Guitarists may prefer this; capo on 2nd fret for Bm.

The next files are identical to the ones above, except they don’t contain the descant notes in the melody.
Lament for Manus Island 4.7: Bm

Lament for Manus Island 4.7: Am

If you have a previous version of this music the next document lists the main changes which have been made: “Lament for Manus Island” versions.

Practice Tracks

In the all parts track, the melody is the flute sound, the alto the oboe sound, and the bass, a baritone sax.

Soprano/Melody

 

Melody/Descant

 

Alto

 

Bass

 

All Parts Together

 

Here is the original, solo, version of the song. I recorded this in my kitchen.

Here is the sheet music in .jpg format.

A Minor

B Minor

 

And finally, a YouTube video I created to go with the song:

Mnogaja Ljete

I’m unsure of the provenance of this song or the score presented here. The song is apparently a congratulatory song, and can be translated as “Many Summers”, or  “Many Years”.

“Original” Score: (.pdf)
My Transcription of the Score (.pdf)
My Transcription with Piano Reduction & Chords (.pdf)
Practice Tracks

The target voice instruments in each track for SATB are, respectively,  flute, oboe, clarinet and baritone saxophone. The verse is repeated 4 times in each track.

Soprano

 

Alto

 

Tenor

 

Bass

 

All Parts

 

A Roughly Hewn Illawarra Union Singers Rehearsal

And finally, a YouTube performance that pretty much  approximates this score:

Which Side Are You On?

Arrangement 1

Arrangement 2

Arrangement 3
(Altos, See 3.2)

This seminal song was written by Florence Reece in 1931, in Harlan County, Kentucky.  These 2 arrangements for  a mixed voice choir, the Illawarra Union Singers, by Doug McPherson.

“In 1931, the miners and the mine owners of that region were locked in a bitter and violent struggle (called the Harlan County War). In an attempt to intimidate the Reece family, Sheriff J. H. Blair and his men (hired by the mining company) illegally entered their family home in search of Sam Reece. Sam had been warned in advance and escaped, but Florence and their children were terrorized in his place. That night, after the men had gone, Florence wrote the lyrics to “Which Side Are You On?” on a calendar that hung in the kitchen of her home.”
Wikipedia

Many  different performances of this song can be found.  These arrangements are based on a recording made by Florence Reece later in life, recorded live in a broadcast studio, and later released on the album, “Coal Mining Women”.  The 2 arrangements presented here use Florence’s words and mostly her melody line, but open with the chorus, and repeat the chorus throughout.  Neither the sheet music nor the practice tracks reflect the rhythm changes needed for the words in different verses, particularly in verses 5 and 6.  The arrangements are further informed by the Almanac Singers rendition of the song in 1941. Neither the sheet music nor the practice tracks reflect the rhythm changes needed for the words in different verses, particularly in verses 5 and 6.

Scroll Down, or Click Here for Arrangement 2, Melody, Alto, Tenor and Bass


Arrangement 1

Melody, Tenor and Bass: Altos could sing the bass part, an octave up in the verse.

Sheet Music: .pdf Format
Practice Tracks:

In each of these tracks the targeted voice uses a piano sound.

Melody

 

Tenor

 

Bass

 

Harmonically, this arrangement is notated in Dm, but the melody is essentially pentatonic, and could also be considered to be in the (modern) Dorian mode of the C scale; the 6th note and 3rd notes are omitted in the melody.


Arrangement 2

This arrangement is for Melody, (Soprano and/or Tenor), Alto, Tenor and Bass. The chorus is in unison, except for a tenor harmony. In the verses, the Melody and Tenor lines are in unison, with a harmony part written for Alto voice, and a Bass line.

Sheet Music: .pdf Format
Practice Tracks

The melody and bass tracks are the same as in arrangement 1. The alto track is new, and the tenor track dispenses with harmony in the verse and reverts to the melody.  The target voice uses a piano in each track, except the Alto which uses an oboe sound.  The All Parts track is an experiment, and uses the sounds of a wind quartet: flute, oboe, clarinet and basoon.

Melody

Alto

Tenor

Bass

All Parts


Arrangement 3

The only difference between versions 2.1 and 3, are the tenor line in the chorus and chords in the chorus, bars 3 and 7.  The practice tracks use the piano in the target voice. The all parts track uses a wind quartet.

Sheet Music .pdf Format
Practice Tracks

Practice your own part, and then try singing this with the “All Parts” track.

Melody

Alto

Tenor

Bass

All Parts


Arrangement 3.2

The only difference here is a simplified Alto line in the verse, mirroring the melody except for the first and last bar.

Sheet Music .pdf Format

Alto Practice Track


Notes on Recent Versions of This Arrangement

Source Recordings

Florence Reece

Here is a recording of Florence Reece, with the pitch altered to Dm, the same key as the arrangement above.

The Almanac Singers

Lament for Manus Island

Image Source: https://thenewdaily.com.au

Click here, for the arrangement in parts:

This is a song I felt compelled to write in October 2017, aghast at Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers. The second verse of our national anthem has the lines,
“For those who’ve come across the seas,
We’ve boundless plains to share;”.

We should be more compassionate.

Here is a recording of the song. It’s far from a professional recording, but just something I put together in my kitchen.

Sheet Music

Lament for Manus Island 2ii

And finally, here is the song with a slideshow, uploaded to Youtube.

It’s Getting Really Hard to Sing Advance Australia Fair -Simpler Version

An older more complex arrangement of this can be found by clicking here.

The version below, 1.3, has the alto voices doubling the bass part, except for the ends of lines 4 and 5.  There is no tenor line, but there are descant notes in the melody line for the cadences, again at the ends of lines 4 and 5. These could be sung by a tenor and/or a soprano.

This   song is Keith Binns’ 2014 rewrite of the lyrics to Advance Australia Fair; a commentary on the xenophobia inherent in our current policy on asylum seekers arriving by boat.

Sheet Music

Key of Bb

SATB (Scanned “Original” Music)

Score

Melody

Key of G: For Guitarist. Capo 3rd Fret for Bb

Score

Melody

Practice Tracks

All Parts

 

Melody, (With Descant Cadences)

 

Join Your Union: Simplified

Simplified Arrangement

Click here for a more complex arrangement.

The resources below are for an arrangement of John Warner’s song, with the Alto line the same as the Bass, except for the end of each phrase. The basses of course sing an octave lower. The tenor line is identical to the melody, except for a phrase at the end of the 1st line, and a phrase in the chorus.

Practice Tracks

Melody: Sung

Tenor: Sung

Alto: Sung

Bass: Sung

Alto: Instrumental

Bass Instrumental

Sheet Music

Score

Melody Sheet Music
Portrait (pdf)
Landscape (pdf)

Simplified Tenor Sheet Music
Portrait (pdf)
Landscape, Larger, Easier to Read (pdf)

Simplified Alto and Bass Sheet Music
Portrait (pdf)
Landscape: Larger, Easier to Read (pdf)

Singing Exercise: Octave Glissandi For Altos

This is an exercise in seamlessly changing registers, moving from one part of the voice to another. The aim should be a smooth sound sliding from one note to another, and back again. The exercise is probably easier to sing than to read about, so feel free to jump in, play the sound file and sing along. DON’T FORGET THE IMPORTANCE OF BREATH SUPPORT!

The first exercise is written for  altos. This exercise starts with a slide from the F below middle C, to the F above middle C. It then moves up chromatically, by semitone, finishing with a slide from middle C to C above middle C.  This range starts at the bottom of the alto range, as defined by the New Harvard Dictionary of Music, and finishes a tone below the top of the Alto Range

Octave Slurs for Altos 1

Octave Slurs for Altos 1 Sheet Music: .pdf