Scandinavian Song

A Guide to Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish Repertoire and Diction

By (author) Anna Hersey

Hardback - £58.00

Publication date:

11 August 2016

Length of book:

402 pages


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9780810884533

Scandinavian art songs are a unique expression of the cultures of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Although these three countries are distinct from one another, their languages and cultures share many similarities. Common themes found in art and literature include a love of nature, especially of the sea, feelings of longing and melancholy, the contrast between light and dark, the extremes of the northern climate, and lively folk traditions. These shared sensibilities are reflected and expressed in a tangible way through music.

Scandinavian art song has faced several challenges over the years in North America (even in the American Midwest, where descendants of Scandinavian immigrants are concentrated). But matters have changed recently with the recent expansion of diction curricula to cover languages other than English, French, German, and Italian. The primary obstacle remains practical resources for the study of art songs and lyric diction of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. This guide remedies this problem.

Scandinavian Song is a practical guide to the art songs of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Unlike other sources that give at best a cursory overview of lyric diction in the Scandinavian languages, this guide provides practical information, enabling teachers and students to render transcriptions of Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish texts into the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)—an absolute necessity for any study of repertoire. An extensive survey of available music, sample IPA transcriptions and translations, as well as a website link with native speakers reciting selected song texts, make this book an invaluable resource for students and professors in North American college, university, and conservatory voice programs.
Anna Hersey's Scandinavian Song is a welcome addition to studies on Scandinavian music, as well as Scandinavian literature. It should be added to the collection of every music library whose patrons include vocalists. Although not specifically a musicological text, it also contains enough historical and analytical information to serve as a starting point for further research into the field of Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish art song. Most importantly, it helps to shed much-needed light on the vast hoard of Scandinavian art songs, hopefully leading to more frequent performances of romanser and romancer in North American voice recitals.