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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.
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.
This song is based on a somewhat earlier song, “The Nonsense Song”, written at the height of Tony Abbott’s “leadership” of Australia. This current song only has 3 verses, dealing with the 3 most recent Prime Ministers.
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.
If you have a previous copy of the adapted sheet music or practice tracks this file documents, in part at least, changes made.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
This is an arrangement of a song by ‘Dogmatic Music’, From ‘Walk On’ Kit – Reconciliation Week, Sorry Day. The educational resource, to commemorate Sorry Day or Reconciliation Week, designed for schools can be purchased and downloaded here. You can hear their excellent rendition of the song here.
You can find out more about Dogmatic Music and band members Paul McGee, Neil McCann, John Littrich and Sarah McCann here.
You can find out about John Littrich’s amazing folk band, the Water Runners here.
Many thanks to John Littrich for allowing the Illawarra Union Singers to use this song.
This sheet music, arranged in 3 parts is adapted from the original Dogmatic sheet music. In a mixed voice choir, the main melody marked alto in the score could be sung by altos and/or baritone voices. The line marked S for soprano, could be sung by sopranos and/or tenor voices. The bass line should be sung by basses. Score, (All Parts)
Good practice is to sing the part you are learning on its own, and then test your learning by singing it against the “All Parts” track. These practice tracks contain a “click” track, to signal the tempo, and tempo changes in the coda.
From this I transcribed individual parts. Lyrics to be sung in unison, (or by male singers only), are in bold italics. Some numbered piano fingerings are included, along with guitar chords in the melody part. These are all .pdf files. Melody/Soprano Alto Baritone I’ve also created a lead sheet, with just the melody line, transposed to Am. To get to Cm, use a capo on the 3rd fret.. Melody/Soprano Am