The Price of The Coal: Climate Change

Here is an adaptation of a song written by Wendy Richardson. The original song focuses on the price of the coal in the context of the lives of the miners. This version of the song, with verses written by members of the Illawarra Union Singers, focuses on the price of the coal in terms of environmental costs.

The arrangement is in 2 parts, for higher and lower voices.

Sheet Music

Practice Tracks

Practice your own part, and then practice singing that part with the both parts track. Click here for instructions on how to save practice tracks from this site.

Upper Voice


Lower Voice


Both Parts


A Sung Demo Track With Both Parts: Male Voices

Here is the sheet music, in .jpg format:

Notes on versions:

The Appin Tragedy

The night of Tuesday, July 24, 1979, shook not only the small mining community of Appin but the entire Illawarra, with the region’s families dependent on their men going underground day after day (Cox 2009).  This song uses words from a poem by Sid Wright, and music written and arranged by Sarah De Jong. This arrangement, for the Illawarra Union Singers, has been transcribed with a couple of tweaks to the bass line, and guitar chords added, by Doug McPherson.

Sheet Music Gm: Score

This is the original key. To save room the unison parts are only written on the soprano/alto stave.

Soprano Part

Soprano & Drum Parts

Soprano & Alto Parts

Tenor Part

Bass Part

Sheet Music Em: Score

This should only be used by a guitarist, with a capo on the 3rd fret.

Sarah De Jong’s Original Sheet Music

Practice Tracks

In most instances, the practice tracks include an introduction, not written into the sheet music.



Melody, Sung with Drum Beat
-Sung by a tenor; not a soprano


Alto, Sung:

The sung parts are only where the alto differs from the soprano line.


Tenor, Sung


Bass, Sung


All parts: These tracks below use combinations of instruments representing the four vocal parts. It may be useful to learn your part and then sing it with the accompaniment of these instrumental parts, to test how well you have learnt the part. Of these two tracks, the string arrangement may be more in keeping with the spirit of the song.

All Parts: Woodwinds

All Parts: Strings

Lyrics: Syllables separated by hyphens

Here is the music in jpg format:

Notes on changes from previous versions of the song.

Cox, B, 2009 ‘Appin mine blast: a day that shook our world’, Illawarra Mercury, 23 July, viewed July 2 2019, <>

Which Side Are You On?

Arrangement 1

Arrangement 2

Arrangement 3

Arrangement 4

This seminal song was written by Florence Reece in 1931, in Harlan County, Kentucky.  These  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.”

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  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.







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.





All Parts

Arrangement 3.2

The differences between versions 2.1 and 3, are the tenor line in the chorus and chords in the chorus, bars 3 and 7.  The alto track is simplified, mirroring the melody except for the first and last bar. 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.





All Parts

Arrangement 4

This arrangement contains a more fully developed alto line, and one note altered in the bass line, 2nd quaver in bar 13 changed from A to F. For melody and tenor practice tracks, see arrangement 3, above.

Sheet Music .pdf
Sheet Music .pdf Cropped
If printing the cropped music, look for a setting that says “Fit”, or “Fit to printer margins.”





All Parts

Here is version 4 in .jpg format:

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 arrangements above.

The Almanac Singers

Windy Gully

-A song by Wendy Richardson, remembering the Mount Kembla Mining disaster of July 1902.  Arranged by Doug McPherson, from a previous arrangement by Florence Rankin.

“She’s gone up!!” The shout could be heard across the mountain as the peaceful hamlets of Mt. Kembla were shattered by a loud explosion.!the-disaster/p99e1

Mount_Kembla_from_Mount_Nebo“Mount Kembla from Mount Nebo” by Grogan deYobbo 

Sheet Music: .pdf

Score: SATB






Practice Tracks

Melody: Sung
Sung by a tenor; ideally a mezzo-soprano, or even an alto would sing this.

Alto: Sung


Tenor: Sung


Bass: Sung


Soprano & Chords Piano; Alto, Tenor and Bass: Sung


Alto, Tenor & Bass: Sung


All Parts: Sung
Again, the melody part should really be sung by a female voice, an octave higher than in this recording.


The next lot of practice tracks are instrumental. Aside from the all parts track, the target voice in each practice track is played on a piano.

All Parts (Strings)















A suggested practice strategy is to practice your part on its own, and then against an “all parts” track. Right click on the titles to download the tracks.

Blackleg Miner: Arranged In Two Parts

Scroll down or click here for the latest version, version 3.1, for the Coal Song Collective.

Blackleg Miner is a 19th-century English folk song, originally from Northumberland (as can be deduced from the dialect in the song and the references in it to the villages of Seghill and Seaton Delaval).

Louis Killen writes, “At the height of the miners’ union struggles of the 1880’s and ’90’s, labourers were brought in from other areas to act as strikebreakers. Ballads of the time describe how the colliers hunted the strikebreakers “like hares upon the moor O.””

The provenance of the arrangement I have tweaked and present here is unclear.  Version 3, (scroll down), is based in part on a practice track sung by Zlatko Basic.

Performance Notes:
The first two verses could be sung slowly, 3, 4 and 5 more quickly, and the last verse slowly again, with a sense of menace!
Download the sheet music in .pdf format here.

Practice Tracks

A suggested practice strategy is to practice your part on it’s own, and then against an “all parts” track. Right click on the titles to download the tracks.

Upper Voice: (Soprano, Tenor)

 Lower Voice (Alto, Bass)

 Both Parts


Version 3: For The Coal Song Collective

Again, this is arranged in 2 parts, the melody to be sung by altos and basses, and the upper harmony to be sung by sopranos and tenors.  The arrangement is written out in full, verse by verse. The last note of the upper harmony, and its underlying chord, differ from version 2.

Sheet Music (.pdf)

Both Parts


Upper Harmony

Practice Tracks

Both Parts: Flute Harmony, Piano Melody


Melody: Piano


Harmony: Flute

Finally, here are some performances to listen to:

Steeleye Span with a rendition that contains the essence of some of the harmonies in this arrangement.

Same band, very different arrangement:

Richard Thompson

And the earliest recording of the song I have found, Louis Killen…