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.
- MIDI of the vocal line, for remixers.
- MP3 of the MIDI, using a piano sound to get a reasonably uncrappy tone. This is for humans who want to listen.
- PDF of the lead sheet, for players who want to perform the song.
- Sibelius source file, for people who want to modify the sheet music.
- WAV of the vocal line, for remixers who just want to sample. This uses a reasonably ok piano patch.
- PDF of the guitar picking patterns, for people who want to do something close to the original. I don’t think this is accurate. These patterns are subtle and I had a hard time grabbing them.
Here’s what the sheet music looks like: