transcription of “Elizabeth June” by Kristen Hersh

This is my transcription of Kristen Hersh’s song Elizabeth June. This is a lead sheet with the chords, melody, and lyrics together. I don’t have a good transcription of the guitar picking patterns.

I got to know this song well by transcribing it, which is a great thing about transcription. The engine of the song is the way that she handles variation. The left and right picking patterns are closely related but clearly distinct; for example they have contrary motion within a narrow range of pitches to produce enough complexity to keep the song from sounding like a Joan Baez accompaniment. The melody is about balance between repetition and invention. Economy is a big issue. The thinking in this piece me of Morton Feldman’s piece “For Bunita Marcos.” If you listen to the MP3 of the MIDI of the vocal line by itself, as if there wasn’t supposed to be anything else, it sounds a *lot* like that.

At first my least favorite line in the lyrics was “your new moguls: trees”, which struck me as trying too hard. Now it’s my favorite line because it’s funny.

Here’s what the sheet music looks like:

Elizabeth June sheet music, page 2
Elizabeth June sheet music, page 3

6 thoughts on “transcription of “Elizabeth June” by Kristen Hersh

  1. Pingback: Soup Greens » Elizabeth June updates

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  3. kalavinka

    Just came across your post at work. Will give these a listen later at home. Thank you for the efforts. I find that there’s little feedback these days online for those that put such time/effort. Please don’t consider it a failed project, especially given all that you learned in the transcribing process. Those of us with bum ears are indebited to those like you.


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