Night song (Peter Bird)

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  • (Posted 2013-05-18)  CPDL #29168:        (Sibelius 5)
Editor: Peter Bird (submitted 2013-05-18).   Score information: Letter, 9 pages, 100 kB   Copyright: CC BY SA
Edition notes: Text, and some explanation of text, on last page of the PDF.

General Information

Title: Night song
Composer: Peter Bird

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SecularEvening Canticles

Language: English
Instruments: Accompanied by one drum

First published: 2013
Description: This style of this song is inspired by both Native American and African choral traditions. The Paiute place-names in the text fix it in the lonely lands north of the Grand Canyon: the High Plateaus around the Arizona-Utah border. (Paunsagunt, Kaibab, & Kaiparowits are the great plateaus which frame the country; Kanab & Nankoweap are two permanent creeks which supported small Indian villages.) This song expresses the joy of togetherness on a starry night with gentle breezes in the pines and perhaps a far-off sound of running water.
This is a shingled part-song consisting of repeated 4-bar phrases of 5/4. The diatonic pitches are easy to read, and the only challenge is to count correctly until this meter becomes natural. As each voice part has only 4 or 5 distinct phrases (totalling 16 or 20 distinct bars), it is not hard to memorize. It could serve well as a concert-closer (or encore number) in an evening concert. Length: 3:45

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Paunsagunt, Kaibab, and Kaiparowits
walk under the stars.

Pinyon, ponderosa, and bristlecone
whisper the wind.

Kanab and Nankoweap
flow on through the night.

Shinumo. Tokawana. Shinumo.